A Profile Picture is Worth a Million Words

profile picture

The image that you choose as your profile picture can speak volumes.

Most people realize that their profile image matters. But they may not realize the profound impact that this one photo can really make.

The way that you present yourself in the photo attached to your profile has an astounding influence on others’ perceptions of you.

In fact, when comparing the effects of a profile pic to the effects of a profile bio, OK Cupid found that the text determines less than 10% of your impression on others. The picture makes up for 90% or more of what others think about you.

Does your profile picture show off the person that you want the world to see? Find out if your picture is saying all of the right things, or sending a message that’s all wrong.

Read on to learn how to choose a great image for your profile!

What Does Your Profile Photo Say About You?

Actual Photo Analysis Results:

Age: 42
Ethnic: Black/ African descent
Attraction: 9.96 out of 10
Emotion: Happy
Results: Great Dating Photo


Your Profile Picture: the First Impression You Make

The image of you depicted on your profile is often the first impression that you’ll make to others you meet.

From our dating lives to our career moves, many of our introductions are now being made online versus face to face.

Researchers say that more than 90% of recruiters are now checking out your profile, and using what they see to form their first impression of you.

Psychologists Todorov Alexander and Janine Willis from Princeton University conducted a study on how long it takes to form a first impression based on facial images. They found that in no more than a tenth of a second, we’re able to surmise our perception of someone when seeing them for the first time.

You’ll never get another chance to make a first impression. And, the first impression tends to stick.

Even if you could change a negative first impression that’s been made based on a photo of you, the chance of you getting the opportunity is highly unlikely.

If someone doesn’t like what they see, it’s doubtful that they will pursue further contact, be it a date, or an interview, or another type of relationship. There’s no telling how many friendships, romantic interests, or work relationships have been nixed due to an unflattering profile picture.

How We’re Ranked

Now that we’ve established that your profile picture influences what others think about you, you might be wondering what factors into others’ impressions. What exactly is it that attracts others to you, or makes them want to “swipe left”?

Couldn’t we just examine what we, ourselves, find attractive when we scroll through the endless Insta-images, facebook feeds, career-based profiles, the varied internet matchmaking sites, or any of the other social media platforms?


But, probably not.

There are several factors that others use to gauge your appearance. The reason they are difficult to pinpoint (especially through a method of self-examination) is that many of these are mostly a matter of the subconscious.

Unfair, perhaps. But, nevertheless, these subconsciously observed traits are the ones that others use to form an opinion of you. And, it’s highly likely that these traits have been the motivation behind getting a job, or a friend request, at the very least.

The Features That Matter

Researchers from the University of York studied 1,000 images of faces in order to determine which features might help make a good impression. They identified 65 features which potentially affect one’s impression when associated with the image of a person’s face.

For each of these features (such as nose curve and cheekbone position), they measured its effect on approachability, dominance, and youthfulness.

High levels of approachability were mostly attributed to an open smile. Youthfulness and attractiveness, which seemed to go hand in hand, were mostly determined by large, magnetic eyes. The variety of features associated with dominance were typically those viewed as masculine traits.

All of us can put on a great, big smile. But, the chances of us altering our features to appear more masculine or changing the shape or appearance of our eyes is unlikely.

Putting Your Best Face Forward

The good news is that there are some tips and tricks that will help you take your best shot in front of the camera.


  • Smile with your teeth
  • Don’t obstruct your eyes (take your glasses off for the shot!)
  • Aim for approachable
  • Face the light
  • Leave out the friends, family, kids, and pets (your profile should feature a picture of YOU)
  • Wear versatile or professional clothing (no swimsuit or shirtless shots, no pics in Christmas PJs or beauty pageant wear)


  • Look down or use a side-profile shot
  • Use a blurry, obviously amateur, or silly pic
  • Use a photo that’s older than a year or two
  • Use the family photo, wedding photo, or any photo that obviously celebrates an occasion
  • Try to look or dress sexy or cutesy (it lowers your credibility and isn’t as appealing overall)

It may be best to set aside a time for a “photo-shoot” rather than pilfer through piles of polaroid pics in search of “the one”.

Try not to be nervous when taking photos, as that can leak through to your audience.

Most of all, smile and be yourself. After all, you want them to see who you really are and the best way to show them is by being you.

Go Pro

One of the most common questions people wonder is whether or not they should have professional shots taken to use on their profile.

In a nutshell, you usually can’t go wrong when you go with a pro who knows what they’re doing.

Let’s face it, your friends, family, and co-workers probably don’t have any professional experience as a photographer. While they may be able to capture the rare great “nailed-it” pic, you’re more likely to exhaust yourself after taking what seems like hundreds of pictures and not having any that you deem usable.

Instead, make it easy on yourself and hire a pro right from the start. That way, you have a set time to shoot images, and they know exactly what it takes to capture your best shot. It saves you time, frustration, and there are several reasonably priced options to fit your budget.

If you want a great profile picture, book your appointment with a professionally trained photographer now!

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