Social media has become a major part of our culture these days. We use it for professional networking, finding dates, keeping in touch with friends, and more!
This trend has gotten so big that most people have social media accounts. Studies show that there were 196 million social media users in 2016 and projections expect that number to be over 216 million by the year 2021!
More than that, most people have many social media accounts. A Facebook account for personal use, LinkedIn for professional networking, Instagram for art and pictures, a Tinder account to find potential dates, and the list goes on!
When you have so many social media accounts, you may notice that you have a profile picture for each one.
Should you make an effort to keep your picture the same across all social media platforms? Should you customize your pictures for the platform you are on? How do you choose a good profile picture anyway?
The answer is, it depends on what you are using your social media accounts for, professional or personal networking.
To learn more about choosing social media pictures and how to present yourself in the best possible way on your social media accounts, read on!
Personal Use Accounts
Most people use social media for personal networking. The people who would be viewing pictures and posts would be friends, family, and acquaintances.
If this is you, then there is no need to post the same pictures for every profile you have.
In fact, you may want to vary your profile pictures so they match the vibe of the platform you are on.
Your selfie in the little black dress from the club last weekend would make a great profile picture for a dating site, but not so appropriate for your grandma to see on Facebook.
Business Use Accounts
There are many ways to use social media for business. If you own a business you want to promote, are starting a modeling career, or trying to promote your music, you fall into the business account category.
For these accounts, you want to focus on branding you and/or your business.
Keeping a profile picture the same across all platforms will ensure you are easy to find and recognize.
You don’t want someone skipping your profile in a search list because they were expecting to see your logo and you had a picture of your dog on your profile.
How to Choose Good Social Media Pictures
If you want to have the best social media pictures, you should look into hiring a professional profile picture photographer.
A professional will know how to pose you and use lighting to make your profile picture look the best it could be!
The most important aspect of your profile photo is to make sure it is a lifestyle photo. The last thing you want is for your photo to look like its from your high school yearbook or for your drivers license. Hence you never want the photographer to use a backdrop or a cheesy background image. While outdoor, on location shoots are the most popular right now, sometimes the weather or the lighting just wont work and you’ll want to shoot in a studio. There are plenty of ways to get a great lifestyle session in the studio. Shooting around and near a window or if the studio has some interesting architectural areas like a stone or brick wall is a possibility. using various seats or stools in a open space is also very popular. All of these options will end up looking very natural and not scream “I got a pro photo shoot”. they will make you look your best in a casual atmosphere where you can shine.
A good photographer will also be able to offer “retouching services” which will help eliminate some of the harsh affects of studio lights or direct sun with out making you look fake or unrealistic. There is nothing wrong with minimizing the effects of the camera and lighting as long as in the end you look like “you”. Having a professional retouch your photos is much safer than attempting it yourself with programs like Photoshop and making yourself look like an alien.
One important tip, never take a selfie and post it to your online profiles!
Taking your own picture can pose its own set of difficulties and all it really says is that you don’t care enough to take it seriously or you don’t have any friends that will help you out. Both of these are red flags.
So if you can’t afford a professional photo shoot or can’t find a photographer near you then just ask a friend and follow these simple steps to get some decent profile photos!
We’ve compiled a short list to help you get started:
- Choose a camera with high resolution (usually a regular camera instead of a smartphone).
- Know the angles of your faces and where your best side is.
- Have your friend shoot a bit higher than eye level.
- Look at the camera don’t look in a different direction. Engaging with the viewer by looking at the camera instills a sense of trust in you through your profile photos.
- Lighting! If you are outside, don’t face directly towards the sun because it will make you squint, the the sun is behind you then you will be back lit and nobody will see your face. Face in such a way that the sun is at an angle and hitting your best side of your face. Side lightning is the most effective. (The hour at sunrise and again at sunset are the “golden hours”). If you are inside, look for warmer lights or shoot near a window with light streaming in.
- Check your hair and makeup (you never know, your red lipstick could smudge up to your nose or you could have a huge cowlick).
- Try lots of poses. Get some close-up headshots and some full body. Even seated shots can be good if you are trying to get a whole outfit in the shot.
- Take tons of pictures! If you take 100 shots, there is more likely to be a few that are usable than if you only take 5.
- Know your audience. If you are taking a picture for your Tinder profile, you can afford to look more sexy than a profile picture for LinkedIn.
If you have to use your cell phone for profile pictures, check your phones features. Some cell phones have a feature which allows you to speak a keyword and the phone will snap a picture, instead of having to press the shutter button. Using this feature will help you focus on your smile and not your shutter button.
Profile + Picture = Popular!
Now that you know how to take a great social media picture and whether you want to keep your branding the same across all your social media platforms, how about the rest of your profile?
Social media pictures are not the only thing on your profile! There are sections for personal descriptions, comments, other pictures etc.
Great news! There’s help for that too!
We have excellent services to help get your profiles on point. Whether you need help with your personal or professional social media profile, check out our online profile services today!