Your profile picture is a key element of your Social Media presence. Research shows that just having a picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others. A profile picture adds credibility to your profile. We strongly recommend that you get a professional portrait done although if you’re unable to, a newer model smart phone with proper lighting can be an interim substitute.
1. Pick a photo that looks like you
It might sound obvious, but your photo should give a clear idea of what you’d look like if someone met you tomorrow. That means not a photo that was taken 10 years ago, or before you started wearing glasses, or before you dyed their hair. It can be startling for someone who only has that picture to go by, and it might even make them question your credibility.
Make sure your profile picture is up to date (within the past few months) and reflects how you look on a daily basis — your hair, glasses, makeup, and so on. If you do change your appearance drastically, consider taking a fresh pic to keep everyone in the loop.
2. Use a high-resolution image
The ideal size for your profile picture is 400 x 400 pixels. Larger file sizes are also fine (although 8MB is the max), but try to avoid small, low-resolution images.
If the picture looks a bit blurry when you upload it, you may want to opt for a different one. This may also happen if you try to take a picture of a picture so it’s best to take a fresh one instead.
If someones takes a photo of you, have them email it to you instead of sharing via WhatsApp as WhatsApp tends to compress images and reduce the quality when sharing.
3. Make sure your face takes up at least 60% of the frame
Try to have your face filling about 60% of the space. Crop the picture from the top of your shoulders to just above your head so that your face fills the frame.
4. Be the only person in the picture
There are avenues other than your profile pic to showcase your family, teammates or Max your puppy. Maybe try that for the banner or header image.
To leave folks with no doubt about what you look like, choose a solo photo for your profile pic. Cropping a group photo isn’t the best solution, since you might see a random hand or shoulder popping into the frame.
5. Get someone else to take the picture for you
While it’s fine to use a photo taken with a cellphone, it’s probably best to steer clear of a selfie style photo. Ask a friend or coworker to take it for you — it only takes a minute and it can make a big difference.
The front camera on most phones, which is used for selfies, produces a lower-quality image than the rear camera. Depending on your phone settings, it may also produce a mirror image, which can cause any words or logos to appear backwards.
Getting someone else to take the picture for you will free you up to find a pose which is more natural and comfortable. That person can also be your personal photographer and assist by telling you to tilt your head slightly or tuck your hair behind your ears.
6. Choose the right expression
Your profile picture is an opportunity to convey your personal brand. So if you consider your brand a little more serious, it’s okay to look serious in your picture. But generally speaking, smiling can help put candidates at ease and make you look more approachable.
One study of 800 profile pictures found that people view you as more likable, competent, and influential if you smile in your pic. And smiles that show teeth were rated twice as likable as closed-mouth smiles.
Consider practicing in front of a mirror first to see which expression you like best. You don’t want to look uncomfortable, so do what feels natural to you.
7. Avoid distracting backgrounds
Where you take your picture matters. You don’t want anything to distract from your face, so a simple background can help ensure that you’re the focal point.
That’s not to say you have to be standing in a white, empty space. Taking the picture outside in nature or against a painted wall can keep things simple without being boring. If you want to showcase cool details of where you work, though, that might be better for your banner image.
8. Wear what you’d wear to work
You don’t want to be over or underdressed. However, even if you work from home, try wearing clothes that match the dressiness of a business meeting.
Solid colors tend to do best on camera. Color blocking your outfit using bold tones can help make your pic really pop.
9. Take the photo in soft, natural light
Lighting can completely change the look and feel of your photo. Standing beneath harsh fluorescent lighting can change the tint of your pictures and create shadows on your face, while using a camera flash may make your skin look shiny. Natural light usually produces the best effect, but direct sunlight can make pictures look blown out.
Try taking your picture outside on an overcast day, in a slightly shady area (anywhere that’s out of direct sunlight), or when the sun is setting to help to soften the light. You can also stand inside using the light from a nearby window to illuminate your face and give your skin a natural-looking glow. Avoid standing with your back to the window, as this will make it harder to see your face.
10. Use filters wisely
Many social media platforms offers filters that you can apply to your profile picture, each of which will give your photo a slightly different look and feel. Think carefully about what kind of mood you want to convey, and don’t be afraid to play around to see which filter looks best.
If you don’t want to apply a filter, you can still adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, and vignette of the photo directly from your smartphone.
Invest in your profile picture. It’s your first chance to communicate that you are friendly, likable, and trustworthy — attributes that are crucial to getting you noticed.
Think of it as your first step to building your personal brand on Social Media and making yourself stand out from others.
CyberSafeTT has worked with KYN Photography for many of our clients. Feel free to look them up on FaceBook and review their work.4