Kultivate Contributor Myra Wildmist is back with more ways to enhance your SL Profile Photo:

Time to get fancy.

Last time, in the article, Taking your profile picture, I focused on the technical aspects of taking a profile photo – changing your image size, changing your lens settings, etc. In this article, I’ll focus on more stylistic issues, things you can do to take better portraits.

A creative disclaimer: Art is a creative process. There are no hard and fast rules, and great art often breaks accepted rules.The following “rules” are meant to help you take better portraits. If you follow them, you’ll probably end up with a good or even great profile photo. But feel free to break them.

1. Use a medium telephoto lens

Use a medium telephoto lens for profile photos, in the range between 70 to 135mm.

A medium telephoto lens focuses and zooms in on your face while provided a nice, soft,  bokeh (The out of focus area you get with depth of field.).

You change your lens specs in Firestorm’s Phototools (Alt+P). See this article for more information: SL Photography: Simulating popular lenses in Phototools.

2. Focus on your eyes

People are drawn to your eyes. No offense to your nose and cheeks and chin, but your eyes are your most pleasing feature. They’re beautiful. They should be the focal point of most profile photos.

The focal point of your photo is very important when using depth of field. The more you move away from the focal point, the more bokeh you get. Smaller f-numbers give more bokeh.

To set your focal point on your eyes, use Alt+LMB (left mouse button) and click on your eyes. The camera will shift the focal point of your photo to your eyes.

3. Zoom in

You, your face, is the subject of a profile photo, not the landscape or all the other stuff surrounding your face, so get in close. It’s your profile photo. People want to see you.

Use your mouse wheel or the plus and minus keys on your camera controls to move in close on your face.

Zoomed out
Zoomed in. Looking nice.


4. Use your bokeh

Your background should not draw the viewers attention away from your face.

Adjust your bokeh to give your background a soft, out-of-focus effect. This literally puts the focus on your face, while making the surrounding background pleasing, but not distracting.

Use your f-number (Under the DoF/Light tab in Phototools), to control the amount of bokeh. Lower numbers give you more bokeh.

5. Get some light on your face

Get some shadow and light on your face. A little shadow brings out the dimension of your face, giving it more depth and making it more interesting.

The easiest way to do this is by adjusting a sim’s Windlight. Under the WL tab in Phototools, just move the slider with the sun and moon and stars. Sometimes you have to use Edit Sky Preset to move the sun position. Don’t be afraid. You can edit the sun azimuth angle, here, too – Est. Ang.

Adding some light brings out your face


6. Do something interesting

Change the angle, hold something (An ermine, maybe.), use a fun pose, make a face, whatever. Do something interesting, something to give your portrait photo a little zing.




5 thoughts on “SL Photography: 6 ways to take a great profile photo

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