Learn Center: Olympus Visionary Maki Kawakita: Tips for putting your best face forward on social networking sites

As a world-renowned commercial, fashion and celebrity photographer, Olympus Visionary Maki Kawakita knows how to put her high-profile clients in the best light possible. And, as a model for her self-portrait Makirama series, Maki knows how to work it on the other side of the camera, too.

With the social media world continuing to explode and expand, it's now important to look your best online. We've enlisted Maki to provide some tips on looking better in your social media profile picture—whether you’re shooting with an FE, Stylus, PEN or DSLR.

1. Your social media profile picture should represent who you are now.

Social media is all about the "now" factor. And your profile picture is your social media first impression. Maki says, "Ensure you are wearing your favorite clothes, make up and accessories. If your tastes or interests change tomorrow, you can always change your picture!" Take the picture yourself, setting up the camera eight to 10 feet away and using the camera's self-timer function. Or, enlist a friend to get behind the lens.

Profile Picture
In Camera Filter

2. Think about using a new in-camera art or magic filter.

Your social media profile photo is an opportunity to express yourself and let your creativity shine. Many of Olympus' cameras now come with in-camera art or magic filters that let you illuminate your mood and personality with a variety of special effects: Grainy Black-and-White Film, Pop Art, Soft Focus, Diorama, Gentle Sepia, Fisheye, Drawing Mode and more. Maki says, "If your camera doesn't have an art filter, consider shooting yourself at an artistic angle, switch your camera to black and white mode or frame just a portion of your body." Shoot from down low to make yourself appear tall and elongated. Shoot just your eyes to present a bold, adventurous window to your social media soul.

3. Give your photo a wax job.

When you sell a car, you buff it with wax to ensure it's looking its best and sparkles in the sun. The same rules apply to your profile photo. Maki says, "If you want to look soft, light your picture with warm light. This will even out skin tone and cut down on shine." To further enhance this effect, Olympus' newer point-and-shoots offer a "Beauty Mode" function that automatically smoothes complexions, removes blemishes and cuts down on wrinkles. But if soft isn't for you, Maki recommends playing with lighting to reflect your nature and mood. "If you want to look strong and energetic, use harder lighting like sunlight around noon or one light source to create a shadow."

Wax Job
Makeup

4. Make-up is not only for the ladies.

Maki tells, "Men and women should consider face powder shortly before taking their picture to eliminate any glossy spots." If you have set up lights to take your picture, this powder will even your skin tone under these lights. And speaking of lights, glance at a nearby lamp or light source right before you take your photo. When pupils focus on something bright, they shrink, reducing the potential for red-eye. Now, you'll have clear skin—and eyes—for your photo.

5. Determine what is important to you and then let the world know.

What makes you feel whole? Maki says, "Do you love your dog? Include him in your picture. How about your Great Aunt Martha's ruby red slippers? Wear them in your picture. Do you love living in your city? Take a picture in your favorite local coffee shop." Enriching your picture with life props that mean something to you will tell social media users more about yourself and complete your image.

Let the World Know

6. Find your color.

Maki explains, "White has a natural defusing effect. Similarly, red will warm your skin tone, blue with cool it down and yellow will give you a rich, golden effect." Whether it's the clothing you're donning, the make-up you're wearing or the photo's background, color often sets the mood of your photo. And don’t forget to play around the White Balance (WB) on your camera. Doing so will affect the general warmth or coolness of your picture.

Find Your Color
White Teeth

7. White teeth equal a better smile.

Try using whitening strips on your teeth a couple days or weeks before shooting your picture. Maki says, "The last thing you want to be remembered for is your darkened or yellow teeth." Show them those pearly whites!

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