You know what they say: “new year, new you.” As we embrace the ‘out with the old and in with the new’ mentality that January 1st brings, the primary place we often look to updating is our social media profiles. One of the most important elements of your profile is your photo, of course, as it should represent exactly who you are in a single image.
Here’s the tricky part though: different social media channels and apps need to showcase different aspects of your personality, so a one-photo-fits-all approach just isn’t an option. From Facebook, to dating apps, to LinkedIn (and everywhere in-between), it can be hard to get your profile picture ‘just right’. Thankfully, we’re going to explore the wide world of profile pics, along with how you can achieve perfection on every platform!
Tips For Taking Your Best Profile Photo
As you can imagine, there are some important do’s and don’ts when it comes to capturing the perfect profile photo. We’ve included these below:
- Make sure the photo will be suitable for the platform you’re using it on. While social sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram may suit a more casual or fun image (where your pets are more than welcome to photobomb), business-related sites such as LinkedIn will call for a portrait that makes you look professional – including business attire, an uncomplicated background, and an approachable smile.
- Use a photo that focuses on you, not your background (no matter how scenic it might be). While it’s perfectly acceptable to use a photo from your travels as a profile picture on social sites, just ensure you crop it enough so you’re easily recognisable.
- Select a recent image as your profile photo. After all, the aim of this picture is to showcase your current self – not a 10-year-old version of you!
- Capture your profile photo initially in color, rather than black and white. Even if you’re certain you want the image to appear in black and white, you can easily make a colored photo black and white in the editing process.
- Simply crop people out of a group photo (like your friends or family) so that it only features you. Trust us, there’s sure to still be someone else’s arm or hand visible in the image, and it’s just not a good look.
- Take a selfie. Have a friend with an eye for photography capture some great portrait shots of you, or at least set up the self-timer so you can take them yourself without the selfie aesthetic.
- Select a poorly-lit or blurry photo. If you’re capturing a new portrait specifically for your profile picture, make sure your setting contains plenty of natural light.
- Zoom in too much when capturing the image. Allow plenty of room to surround yourself so you can then crop photos appropriately for the specific platform you’re uploading it to.
- Include hats, sunglasses, pets, or beverages in a photograph that will be used on a business-related platform such as LinkedIn (no matter how great that mojito looks).
LinkedIn And Professional Sites
When it comes to your profile photo for LinkedIn and other professional sites, these are perhaps the most important to get right. This is because potential employers will be viewing it, and according to research, it only takes one-tenth of a second for them to draw conclusions about you based on this picture. Ouch!
A whopping 80 to 90% of that first impression is based on just two qualities: trustworthiness and competence. Thankfully, there are some simple tricks you can embrace to make sure your profile photo is a hit, rather than a miss.
The first thing is to ensure your smile shows off your pearly whites, as this is seen as a ‘genuine’ smile, making you appear twice more likeable than those who have a closed-lip smile in their portrait. Smile too wide, however, and you may appear as though you’re less competent or reliable for the job (and perhaps, just a little bit kooky).
Additionally, you’ll want to include what’s known as ‘the squinch’ in your portrait, and this simply refers to a slight squint or narrowed stare. This increases factors such as your competence, likeability, and influence and is based around the fact that wide open eyes usually signify fear, whereas slightly squinted eyes depict comfort and confidence.
Other impression-boosting factors include wearing formal attire, making eye contact with the camera, and sticking with a bust (head and shoulders) or torso (head to waist) shot.
Social Media Sites
Social media profile photos are a bit more fun, as they give you the opportunity to showcase your awesome personality! As you know, there are plenty of social media sites to take into consideration, with each of these having different profile image size and format requirements.
It’s important to be aware of the specific sizes and aspect ratios that each platform requires for its profile photo, as you want your image to appear crisp and clear, rather than blurry or awkwardly stretched. We’ve provided a handy cheat sheet below:
Finding it hard to remember all of those figures? Don’t fret! Thankfully, BeFunky’s Crop Tool comes with preset aspect ratios to get your profile photo crop job just right. You can select popular aspect ratios such as 1x1 (square) and adjust the pixel size accordingly - perfect for all of the platforms listed above.
When it comes to your profile pic on dating platforms and apps, you’ll certainly want to put your best foot forward. After all, these platforms come with a whole new set of rules, perhaps including ones you weren’t even aware of!
You see, a 2017 study by dating app Hinge found that men who smile without showing their teeth in their dating app profile photo were 43% more likely to receive a like, while those who faced front-on to the camera boosted their potential like-factor by a massive 102%. Yikes!
Women, on the other hand, were said to receive way more likes if their dating app profile pic featured them wearing their hair up (a 27% boost) and smiling showing teeth (a 76% increase). The same study also showed that women who looked away from the camera in their portrait were 74% more likely to receive a like. Strange, huh?
Both men and women also saw an increase in engagement if their photo showcased them standing alone. Another intriguing finding from the study was the fact that black and white photos were most desirable, giving their subject a 102% greater chance of engagement.
When it came to the biggest dating app photo turn-offs, however, the results perhaps weren’t so surprising. Photos with a Snapchat filter, bathroom mirror selfies, and beach photos all dramatically decreased their subject’s chance of a ‘like’ – as much as 90%.
Armed with all of the insightful research above, you now know exactly what type of portrait to capture. Get ready to rock your dating app profile pic!
Using Touch Up Tools For Portrait Photography
Now that you know what types of photographs to capture for each profile, it’s time to master the subtle art of touching them up in the photo editing process! After all, everyone wants to look their best, and thanks to the Touch Up tools in BeFunky’s Photo Editor, now you can. There is a huge library of Touch Up tools to choose from, but here are three that are sure to enhance your portrait photo without going overboard:
Let’s be honest: unless you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on professional teeth whitening, your pearly whites may appear, well, not so pearly white in photos. This is where the Teeth Whiten tool comes in handy, as you can lighten and brighten your smile within just seconds.
You can access it in the Touch Up tab (the eyeball icon in the left menu), in the Mouth section. You then simply adjust the brush size and hardness before applying the tool to the areas you want to whiten.
Making your eyes appear less tired and more alluring can be as simple as applying the Eye Brighten tool. It adds that much-needed touch of sparkle to your pupils, whilst making the whites of your eyes brighter. They say our eyes are the windows to our soul, so allow your awesome personality to shine through by making yours as engaging as possible.
You’ll find the Eye Brighten tool in the Touch Up tools tab, underneath the Eyes category.
Perfect Skin Tool
We all have bad skin days, but that doesn’t mean they have to ruin an otherwise perfect portrait. Zap away and smooth out imperfections such as pimples, scars, or wrinkles using the Perfect Skin Tool, also located in the Touch Up tab (it’s the large blue button at the top). It’ll quickly analyze your photo and sense the true color of your skin to ensure the applicator only smoothes the blemishes and imperfections while keeping enhancements realistic. To apply the Perfect Skin Tool, you use your mouse to paint the effect over any exposed skin in your portrait. Too easy!
The key to touching-up your portraits is for the enhancements to be subtle enough that they appear natural, rather than over the top. Refrain yourself from going overboard with these Touch Up tools, as profile photos that look heavily-edited (and therefore, fake) are never a good look.
Are you ready to showcase your best profile photos yet? Thanks to the handy info above, and BeFunky’s ultra-useful Photo Editor, creating your perfect profile pic has never been easier!