Professional Photo Tips

easy to follow step by step guides


It's a good idea to include a photo of yourself to personalise your website. Here we hope to show you how best to achieve this. All you need is a digital camera, and a little time and patience!


So you've decided that you could do with a picture of yourself on your website. We would tend to agree, as we've had feedback that some clients find it very reassuring to see a photograph of their prospective therapist. However, it is important that you use a good quality photo that conveys a professional but approachable image, and we aim to show you how to get one in this EZ Guide. We'll also point out some of the main pitfalls of personal photos, and how to steer around them, so that you can arrive at an image of yourself that inspires confidence in your clients, rather than scaring them away!

Movie Stars not Required

The first thing to say is there's no need to worry about looking like a film star to make a good impression - your clients are real people who are looking to real people for help or services. What you need is an honest impression of yourself (smartened up if necessary!), well taken, and at the right size on the web page. A good question to ask yourself when considering if a picture is up to scratch is "would I book an appointment with this person?". Your friends might help you to answer that one, and if it's "no way!" - think again. 

In our first example, our subject is fairly evenly lit, due to standing out of direct sunlight. He looks reasonably friendly and approachable, and the background is not too distracting. Also note that it's not necessary to look straight at the camera for a good shot.

There's a "rule of thirds" in photography - that means for portraits it's a good idea to compose your shot with the eyes about one third of the way from the top, to give a pleasing overall effect. Don't worry if you haven't got it dead right when you take the picture - just make sure you take the picture a bit bigger than you need. If the proportions are roughly as per the "rule of thirds", you can just upload the image to your image library, choosing an appropriate size. (The default 200 pixels wide is a good size to try) If the proportions need adjustment, either take the photo again, or you can use picResize to trim and resize your existing photo to get the proportions right. The first picture has been trimmed down to follow this "thirds" rule.

Pitfalls to Watch Out For

And just so you know what NOT to do, here's an example that doesn't work so well. See how many mistakes you can spot!

  • The shot is out of focus
  • The camera is at an odd angle
  • The background is distracting
  • Our subject looks a little scruffy and rather disinterested. By looking off screen, it makes you wonder what he's really looking at
  • And how about a smile?

Take Care with Backgrounds

The above picture is a good example of a background that distracts and makes the picture untidy. Its worth taking the time to set up the scene for your photo, rather than trying to use a photo taken with friends, or even at a party!

Lens Effects

Here are some more pitfalls to be wary of. In these shots, the subject on the left is much too close to the camera, and we get the "big nose" effect. The solution to this problem is to stand a bit further away, and zoom in a bit - this gives a truer picture in the correct proportions, as in the photo on the right.


Watch out for Flash

Notice that both of the pictures above were taken with flash - certainly not a good idea where the subject wears glasses, due to the reflections, and often the flash casts a shadow on whatever is behind, which looks odd. And of course, he could do with a shave, and maybe a smile, so the impression isn't very friendly!

Working with Natural Light

Try to make sure your face is lit quite evenly. Bright sunlight can be very unforgiving, as these two pictures show.


Both pictures suffer from casts or shadows creating a distracting effect across the face.

Over-bright background. On the left, the background is a cloudy sky, which means that the face is too dark. This situation often fools the camera, so make sure you've not got the sky or anything brighter than the face as your background.

Don't be afraid to take lots of photos - digital means that you can pick the best without worrying about the cost. A good idea might be to have a friend just snap away while you're chatting away in a group. That way you can be less self-conscious about having your picture taken, and you're more likely to find one where you're relaxed and smiling. Just make sure your friend zooms in on you, so that you're not looking too small in the photo.


If you don't feel comfortable with a close-up, consider trying a photo sitting in a chair, taken further away. This could be taken in your treatment room, for example. As your face will be smaller, relative to the image size, it might be a good idea to make the photo larger on your page. Here it is 250 pixels wide, whereas the rest on this page are 200 pixels wide, which is the standard size when you load an image into your website image library. (Resizing to 250 pixels wide was done using picResize.)

Matching Colours

The picture above does have a distinctively coloured background and in a case like this, you might want to consider how they will match the colour scheme of your website. There is a link to the Colour Scheme Editor EZ Guide further up the page, to show you how to change your website colours. Alternatively, if you are already happy with your website colour scheme, do bear those colours in mind when choosing your photo's background, and what you're wearing in the photo.

Finally, if you're really struggling to get a good picture, it might be best to stick with an image from nature until you do have a reasonable photo of yourself. See our Finding Images to Enhance Your Site EZ Guide to give you some ideas for sourcing images.

And don't forget, you could always ask a local photographer what their prices would be for a small portrait - it could be a worthwhile investment of a few pounds, if it succeeds in drawing people into your website.