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You need to follow these good profile picture ideas. Why? Social media profile pictures had come a long way since the early days of MySpace when they were (designated as ‘selfies’) taken in the bathroom mirror. Photographs posted online now have the power to influence image, marketing, and branding like never before.
Also, meticulously constructed Instagram photos and tag-lines have created online celebrities with mega followers, which can jump-start careers- where favorite Instagram users are paid to promote products.
Never thought of yourself as a brand and use your profile photos only for fun? Consider that it is not uncommon for employers (current and prospective), colleges, and future dates (should you be one of the many currently looking for love) to look up people by name and form conclusions about what they see and find.
Here’s the deal:
Like it or not, profile photos are a digital first impression, and the power of visual stimuli is why dating sites like Tinder have emerged. In short, your profile pics matter more than you realize.
While the idea of selfies and profile photos seem to have been in our collective unconscious for years, the term ‘selfie’ wasn’t the Oxford word of the year until 2013.
While urban legends tell us that a drunk Australian first invented the word after a wild night out and used it in an Internet forum in 2002, the term had been floating around before that. When Sony released a front-facing camera in 2003, selfies began to change from those early (increasingly considered ‘tacky’) bathroom photos to ones where users looked directly into the camera.
Just like peanut butter and jelly, selfies had always had a symbiotic relationship with social media, as they were the natural union when users needed a quick photo for their profile photos.
Read on to get tips for a good profile picture:
It is not just about you, whether your goal is professional or personal, don’t forget that a quickly snapped photograph shows more than who you are. It also shows off the background surroundings of your image. Photos go viral online all the time, when posters naively forget to realize what shows in the background might be embarrassing or revealing.
On a trip? Look out for a building or tree directly behind your head. Wearing a fancy black suit or dress? Make sure it does not blend into the background. Inside a home? Look for a mess or random gadgets behind you. Photo bomber? Consider a retake or cropping them out.
To Crop- Or Not
Which leads us to another common mistake- alignment and cropping. Do not automatically trust the site’s cropping feature. Although this might be helpful on sites such as Instagram, on others (such as Facebook) the smaller cropped image- once clicked on- can sometimes show the full original picture and the people or things you thought you cropped away forever!
Also, for a professional appearance to your profile photo (even if it is you riding a bull at a country western bar, or about to skydive), choosing a picture that is centered, without needing to be cropped, usually showcases the person best.
Schedule a Photo Shoot
Though it might be worthwhile to book a photoshoot with a photographer, should you have a high demand or professional job, the cost can run high, and this limits your ability to use other photos and connect with your audience in a more personal way. Sometimes people who opt for professional photographers make another mistake of keeping the same image up for months and years until it becomes outdated.
Though professional photographs have their place, what draws in viewership is a feeling of intimacy- that people are peaking behind the scenes, when they scroll through someone’s social media account. A photographer can, no doubt, create well-constructed photographs, but this can feel too formal for everyday use. To keep your profile pages fresh, it is a good idea to have some variety.
Take a selection of photographs with a friend
It can be fun, give you a second set of eyes, and create a middle ground between overly professional photos and bathroom selfies. Instagram users who reach some level of acclaim tend to do this well. Their pictures appear carefully constructed but still personal.
Friends Do Not Let Friends Filter Themselves Away
Filters are high- you can be tired, have a terrible breakout, or just need a little luminous glow which filters can provide. However, filters are not the same as professional editing, and their one take fix can also work against your image. A ‘good’ profile pic shows who you are. Overly filtered photographs, which make people look like pop art or have too much of a plastic filter glow, seem vain and tasteless.
What is okay: To alter the image with filters provided to you with your phone and Social Media uploads.
What is not okay: To use the same filter every time.
For example, are you always tempted to appear in black and white or sepia? Let your real physical beauty shine through. If you feel the itch to use a filter every time, maybe instead focus on hair styling, outfit choice, lighting, makeup, and posing.
Quality of Upload
You do not have to be a tech wizard to learn that some photos upload better than others, based on their size and lighting. If you have a photograph which uploads as pixilated, even if it is one you loved on your phone or computer, do not upload it until you have it in a more usable format to go with the site you are presenting it on. A profile pic that isn’t a high-quality upload will be clicked away from or thought of as unprofessional.
Background: Part II
Background is not only about what you do not want to show. What do you want people to see? If your photographs are always in the office or at home, make more of an effort to choose where and when you take photos. Notice the world around you. Look for beautiful backdrops, new places, elegant architecture. Your profile pic presents you with the world. Never lose sight of the parts of the world you are choosing to show back!
Don’t Do It Alone
There are times (career photos, for instance, or those used on LinkedIn) when you want to show your profile pic as yourself, one and only. However, on other social sites, it can be nice to include loved ones in your photos- pets, significant others, kids.
The trick that will keep your profile fresh is similar to the one used with filtered images- diversify! Don’t only use photos with your dog, husband/ wife, boyfriend/ girlfriend, or child. Create a broader presentation of your world where your cast of characters is part of it!
You do not have to become photo obsessed to have your best profile pictures. Look at taking pictures or photos with a friend as something to incorporate into your week or month. So put these good profile picture ideas to use today!
Which of the tips from today’s post are you going to use?
Leave a comment below right now and let me know.