Does the idea of creating an Epic Profile Picture seem out of the question?  It might be easier than you think.  Read on to learn how and share your results back with us.

A Picture says a Thousand Words

You  must choose carefully when it comes to selecting the perfect profile photo for your social networks.

Something in certain profile pictures grabs you.  The subjects seem larger than life.  It’s true, that incredibly successful people have the larger than life swagger going for them seemingly all the time, yet, they don’t just post any ol’ random photo online. Nor do publications, websites, blogs and social networks make a habit of using badly shot selfies or cropped photos of famous people when referencing them in articles or presenting them as keynote speakers.

Capturing the Money Shot

When it comes to the money shot for your social media, some people take their profile pictures to the next level, going way beyond the tacky fish lips selfie in the car with the seat belt still on. How do they do it?
  1. They plan their headshots. Epic profile photos are never cropped headshots from another photo, not even a really great photo of you in a group at a wedding.  
  2. They change their headshots regularly. Nothing is more numbing or uninspiring than something you’ve seen over and over again. A never changing profile photo is like walking in to your grandma’s house or the land that time forgot.  If you want to stand out online, you need to start with your profile photo.  
  3. They use a professional.  We agree that your phone takes some pretty amazing photos, but nothing compares to a professional portrait sitting, with proper lighting, lens and a well thought out background.

The Science behind your best Profile Picture

While most people put little thought into the profile picture they post on their social network or private business collaboration site, there’s been a tremendous amount of research about the elements of profile pictures that have the biggest impact on your audience. We rarely walk into a business meeting without heavy consideration of how we appear, yet our profile picture is working 24×7 to introduce you to the world.  Our best hope is our profile picture will influence our audience positively and gain us followers or clients.

In 40 millisecionds, we draw conclusions about people based on a photo.

Here’s an overview, based on findings from Psychological Science, of the best practices for your profile picture:

  1. Smile with teeth
  2. Dark-colored suits, light colored button downs
  3. Jawline with a shadow
  4. Head-and-shoulders, or head-to-waist photo
  5. Squinch
  6. Asymmetrical composition
  7. Unobstructed eyes

The goal is to create a picture that makes you look Approchable, Helpful and Attractive.

  1. Approachability – “Does this person want to help or harm me?”
  2. Helpful vs. Dominant – “Can this person help or harm me?”
  3. Attractiveness – “Might this person be a friend or a rival?”

Key elements to avoid, that studies say creates negative impressions in your viewers:

  1. Don’t block your eyes. Blocked eyes drop your competence and influence scores.
  2. Don’t attempt to be alluring.  Conservative images win almost 100% of the time.
  3. Don’t omit your profile picture in favor of a strong bio. Study shows text is less than 10% of what people think of you.

Guy Kawasaki’s 4 keys to profile pictures

Canva’s Guy Kawasaki, an evangelist for tech and social media, has found four factors to be key for a profile picture.
  1. Faces only.  No family, friends, dogs, logos, etc…
  2. Asymmetrical.  Use the Rule of Thirds to create your profile picture.
  3. Face the light.  The source of light should come in front of you.
  4. At least 600 pixels wide. There are varying shapes and sizes of profile pictures on social media. A 600-pixel image will look great no matter where it’s viewed.

For more on this topic, read the full Huffington Post article.

We started SocialPhoto with the goal to make professional headshot photography available to everyone that wants one at a fraction of the cost of traditional photographers and from the convenience of a mobile, on-demand photo studio.  Contact us today for your new, pro profile picture!

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