9 Best Tips for a professional Profile Photo

Do you have a really good profile photo?

Is your profile photo pulling your audience in or pushing them away?

In this article, you’ll discover actionable tips on how you can easily take a profile photo that will make you stand out.

Almost every social network has a place where you can upload a photo or avatar to represent your profile. This is because each of us is unique and it’s helpful for all of us to be able to quickly identify who it is that we’re socializing with.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re creating your profile photo or an avatar for your business:


1. Face First

Since the purpose of a profile pic is to quickly identify who you are and show your audience that you’re friendly, approachable, and trustworthy or some other intended characteristic it makes sense that your profile pic should be of your unique and beautiful face. And because most profile pics are shown at small sizes, it’s best to avoid using group photos or trying to squeeze in your favorite pet unless it’s key to your brand.



2. Soft Lighting

Lighting is everything when it comes to taking great photos. To make sure your profile photo is clear and pleasing, find soft lighting to prevent harsh shadows and face towards the light source to prevent your picture from being very dark.




3. Taking a Photo Indoors

If you’re taking pictures in a studio, you probably have access to light boxes and other professional equipment to control the scene. If you’re taking pictures indoors and don’t have access to professional lighting, try to use natural light that is filtering through your windows.




 4. Taking a Photo Outdoors

If you want an outdoor profile photo, the early morning and evening light tends to be the best because the sun isn’t directly overhead which can cast gnarly shadows on your face. If you must shoot outside during the middle of the day, find an open shady area to help filter the light. Under large trees or on a shady side of a building can be ideal.




5. Look at the Background

Before you take any photos, think about the background. Most profile photos are pretty tiny so any small details or objects may look like specks and may be distracting.

Solid and simple pattern backgrounds like walls or fabric are the easiest to work with. And make sure you’re 10-15 feet away from anything in the background if possible to prevent it from becoming a distraction.




6. Make it Asymmetrical

Although we humans love symmetry and we tend to find faces that are symmetrical more attractive than faces that are not, we’re not trying to win any beauty contests with our profile photos. What we’re trying to do is catch our audiences’ attention and asymmetrical photos are often more visually interesting to look at than symmetrical images.

To make your photos asymmetrical, try taking your photos slightly off to one side or the other. Or if you already have straight on photos, you can crop it to create an asymmetrical arrangement.




7. Color & Contrast

To help draw more attention to your profile photo you may want to consider adding a pop of color to your photo to help it stand out from similar photos.




8. Bigger is Better

Although most profile photos are shown at small sizes, most of them also allow your audience to click on the picture for a larger view. So make sure you’re uploading a larger and higher-quality image. I save all of my profile pics at 1080 x 1080 pixels.





9. Consistency is Key

It’s important to use the same or very similar profile photo on all of your social profiles to make it easy for your fans to identify you.




Your turn.

Having an eye-catching profile photo is an often overlooked part of optimizing your social profile.

But creating a great looking and effective profile photo doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Carve out 30-60 minutes, grab a friend and a camera, and get creative.

I want to see your profile photos! Leave a comment below with a link to your profile.

Thanks so much for reading.

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  • Nice article, @benrequena:disqus … Love the graphics! And humbled to see my mug up there. Thanks for including me.

    • Yeah man! Your profile photo with that corner color overlay is a great example of adding color to stand apart.

      • Laura Hall Briedis

        I know, it’s clever!

  • Julie Anglesey

    A great article and I love the infographic. Looks like I need to update my profile photos…

    • Thanks @julie_anglesey:disqus! I wanna see your updated pic when you do it!

  • Pingback: 8 tips for eye-catching profile photo | IgHive()

  • Laura Hall Briedis

    Great post and fantastic infographic! @lbriedis

  • What a fantastic blog post along with the all the fan graphics you’ve created!
    loved visiting your blog!

    • Thanks Anna! Appreciate the kinds words and you checking out muh posts. 😉

      • I m like a kid in a candy store browsing all the eye-catching content 😉