With the advent of social media sites such as Facebook & Twitter, every participant has faced the dilemma of what to do with the profile picture of yourself that is requested from each site (as well as dating sites like eharmony.com). Folks have been very creative with that little square that idenifies you ; everything from high school pictures to shots of your pet or favorite Kardashian sister have been used. But ideally, it should be occupied by a sharp & appealing photo of yourself. And we at Camera Wholesalers are eager to help you look your best. So, here's some tips for taking a great social media self portrait... First off, any point & shoot camera will do, as well as any current camera phone that can email the photo (some new phones have direct connection to send pics to Facebook and Twitter). For a better quality shot, you can use your DSLR (we'll cover that later). With the use of a point & shoot or phone, you'll need to develop the fine art of the extended arm shot, which can be mastered with some practice with one caveat: You want to make sure that the arm is NOT in the picture! That said, you may want to set your point & shoot to the "portrait" mode if it has it, adjust the zoom more to the telephoto end of your zoom range for a head & shoulder shot (not too tight, though. I'll tell you why later), then fire away! Here's some other tips that apply no matter what device you use: 1. Good Light/Simple Background - You may think that that great shot you took during happy hour could work, but most likely it's so grainy and washed out that you look like a member of Team Edward or Jacob! You may want to take your photo outside in open shade, without harsh shadows or objects that can obstruct the lighting. Once you find the sweet spot, you want to also see what's behind you. You don't want the background to be so busy as to distract from your face. Also watch out for trees or poles that can appear to magically grow from your head. A simple plain or patterned wall would be nice , or a little bokeh (or blurring of the background) can be done if you're using a DSLR or point & shoot with aperture priority by dialing the aperture number as low as it can go. If the lighting's good, flash should not be necessary, but take a shot or two using fill flash to see which one comes out better. 2. Steady your camera! Use a tripod if you're flying solo and take advantage of the self timer in your camera. Set it to the ten second delay mode so you have enough time to get back to the sweet spot. Then you'll want to... 3. Strike a pose! Like Madonna sings, there's nothing to it! This is NOT a passport photo, so take a breath and pose in a relaxed angle. You may want to tilt your body away from the camera about 45 degrees, then turn to face the camera for a slimming affect. Try as well to take different poses with your hands and arms if you're taking a half -body shot. And don't forget to smile! 4. Once your happy with your portrait, you may need to crop it. Both Facebook & Twitter currently uses a square aspect ratio,which means either you or they will crop the image to fit inside a square. This is why we recommend having some space around the image when you take it, so that you won’t be cutting your head off when it’s time to crop. You'l also find that a photo that looks great on your wall page will crop on your thumbnail shot that appears everytime you post, so adjust accordingly. From there, the sky's the limit! You can change the image to black and white or any other manner by using sites like Picnik, Picasa or your own computer's software. Or you can use it as is so everyone can recognize you. We hope these tips will help you take a great self portrait!