Kultivate Contributor Myra Wildmist is back with another photography tip. This time she demonstrates how to take your profile picture in Second Life:

Today, we’re finally going to take a profile picture. Yay! I’ll walk through this step by step, hopefully making it easy to understand. If you have any questions or need help, feel free to contact me in world – I want everyone to take the best profile pics your system will allow.

1. Set your image size to 1024 x 1024.

The aspect ratio for a profile pic should be 1:1, that is the height should be the same as the width. For our purposes, we’ll set our image size to 1024 x 1024 pixels. 1024×1024 is fine, since Second Life (SL) can’t import an image that’s higher than that.

Ctrl+Shift+S (Avatar – Snapshot from the FS menu).
This brings up the Snapshot window. You should see several options for saving your photo – Save to Disk, Save to Inventory, etc. Select Save to Disk.

You could use Save to Profile or even Save to Inventory, but both have disadvantages. Save to Profile isn’t always reliable – sometimes snapshots don’t make it to your profile feed. Save to Inventory costs lindens each time you use it, so if you make a mistake or just decide you want to shoot a bunch of photos, you’ve spent money unnecessarily.

Saving to disk is reliable and you can take as many photos as you please and it doesn’t cost you a single linden.

The Snapshot Window in Firestorm

Note: If you don’t see these option, you’re probably already using one of these snapshot save options. Click the Selection button at the bottom right to take you back to the save options.

Now, you should be on the Save to Disk options.

Select Custom from the dropdown box.

Set the width and height to 1024.
Your snapshot window should look mostly like the image, below, except without me as the model. : )

Save to Disk Options set to 1024 x 1024

2. Focus on your face

You want to focus your camera on your face. After all, we’re taking a profile photo. Use a pose and turn off your AO, if necessary.

Alt+Left Mouse Button and click on your face
Hold down the alt key and click on your face, preferably somewhere in the middle – your nose or your cheek.

Note: Always set your focus point when taking a photo. Don’t rely on SL to know where you want to focus.

3. Change your lens

A medium telephoto lens, between 70 and 135mm, is a great lens for portraiture. For the purposes of this tutorial we’ll use the 85mm, specifically the settings of the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm.

Bring up Phototools – Alt+P

Select the DoF/Light tab

Change your lens settings to the 85mm specs
– Check Enable Depth of Field (DoF)
– Set View angle to .497
– Set FOV to 28.5

Your DoF settings should look like this


When you change the View angle the camera will jump in closer. If you put your focus point on your face, it will zoom in on your face.

Note: Don’t forget to change these settings back after you take your photo. The D button next to each setting will change every setting back to its default.

4. Adjust the framing with the camera controls

Use your camera controls (Ctrl+Shift+C) to adjust the framing of the photo to your liking. Pan (The arrows on the camera controls.) and zoom (The mouse scroll wheel or plus and minus signs on the camera controls.) as needed.

5. Save your profile photo

Select Save under the Save to Disk options, once you’re satisfied with your framing.

In the image below, I turned to face the camera. I also adjusted my Windlight to move the sun to noon. You can do this from the WL tab.I did ise the Autocontrast filter to enhance the image, and I put my image a little off center, because that makes if look more interesting.

Aside from that, there’s nothing fancy. Just a very basic profile photo. Next time, we’ll get fancy.

A basic, but nice, profile photo



2 thoughts on “SL Photography: Taking your profile picture

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