The first thing we see when we get a new Twitter follower notification, Facebook friend request or invitation to connect on LinkedIn is a profile photo. Here are some helpful tips you need to know to take your best profile picture.
Why your profile picture is so important
On Twitter, we often make a split-second decision about whether we follow someone simply based on his or her profile picture.
A great Facebook profile photo can show your high school boyfriend just what a great catch he let slip through his fingers.
And the right LinkedIn profile picture can make colleagues and potential employers stop to read your profile.
So how can you make the most of that tiny bit of social media photo real estate?
How to capture a perfect, memorable picture
Fill the frame. By zooming in, you’ll ensure that you don’t look like a pin dot in those tiny profile pictures. Let your face take center stage. Blogger Jenny Feldon’s profile picture is a great example.
Keep it simple. With such a small square of available space, don’t make people squint to see what’s going on in your photo. Keep the background clean and free of distractions. Though we all have dishes on the counter and toys on the floor, no one else really needs to see those. Food blogger and photographer Alison Bickel’s profile picture is a perfect example of a photo with a nice, clean background.
Read more about how to look good in photographs >>
Don’t skimp on photo quality. Blurry, dark, or low-resolution images don’t make for good profile pictures.
Take your photo on a day when you’re feeling well-rested. Your eyes will be brighter and you’ll have more color in your complexion.
Use the timer on your camera to avoid capturing your outstretched arm obviously holding the camera.
Use indirect light and try to avoid using your flash — harsh light is not your friend. Wine writer and blogger Rachel Voorhees’ picture is an excellent example of great lighting.
Take the photo so the camera is just slightly above you and your face is slightly turned. SheKnows writer and blogger, Christina Holt’s profile picture shows exactly how this is done.
Try using Photoshop or an app for adjusting your photos a bit. With a few quick tweaks, you can dramatically improve your photos.
Check out our guide to photoshopping pictures >>
The most important thing to remember is to try to relax and have fun. The great thing about using a digital camera or your phone to take your photos is that you can always delete the pictures you don’t like.
So snap away. In that batch of 100 photos, you’re bound to find a bunch that you like.
Watch: How to look thinner in photographs
Contrary to popular belief, pictures do lie. So make sure they’re saying you’re skinnier than you really are!