There's really nothing better than posting a photo on facebook that makes you look really good. So why do so many people post terrible, odd, or misleading profile pictures? Here's my list for how to improve the impression you make on social media.
1. Is the subject clear? A group photo is not a profile pic, especially a large, homogenous group. Post those photos as much as you want, but they shouldn't be the one picture that identifies you to friends and followers...because at this one basic task, they fail.
2. Is the subject the person who owns the profile? Celebrity doppelgängers, Cats, babies (even if their yours, but especially if they're not.) Stop. Please. This goes double for ultrasound photos and small business logos. There are other places for these images.
3. Does the photo look natural? A little skin smoothing, color correction or sharpening can look good. Heck I'll even go for a tasteful vintage filter or cross-process. But if your skin is smoothed so much it looks fake...it looks fake, and that Andy-Warhol-esque thing that everyone posts right after they get their new mac. Yeah no. For many of us, social media profiles are our entire interaction with many members of our social circle. That photo of your bicycle, a close up of your eye, or extreme editing makes you look shifty.
4. Is the photo framed where you can clearly see your face? While a full-length photo is not as bad as some other options, often, profile photos are used in miniature versions for comments and such. it's much better to crop your profile photo to your head and shoulders only. If you use a photo with your face either too small in the frame or obscured, you're robbing all of your comments and posts of a certain amount of your personality.
5. This is especially important for small business owners and personality based business. If you only use facebook personally, then we're just talking about what your friends will think about you--and who knows, everyone's group is different, I'm just speaking in generalities. If you have a small business, or you do creative work, especially one-on-one with clients, you really want to consider how approachable and real you look. This goes double for your FB business page, and Linkedin.
6. Consider having a professional photo taken. It's not about a staged shot in front of a a flat backdrop wearing a suit and tie. In fact, that kind of shot can make you look plastic and false. The new paradigm in professional photography is natural photos that make the subject look great without seeming overly edited or posed. A great professional photographer has extensive knowledge of lighting, focal length, and color correction, and can find the most flattering angles. They should also be able draw out an expression that isn't stiff or self conscious and conveys exactly what you want to put out there.
Headshot Portrait sessions especially for social media are available from Libby Neder Photography starting at $200 and including fully edited (but not too much) digital images files. Please Contact Libby for more information.