Let’s start off with a hard fact: Looks count
….I don’t mean good looks I mean the right look.
In this Social Media era where we market ourselves to the world our profile picture can play an important role in our branding & online identity. We want our peers, acquaintances & future employers to view us in a positive way.
And whether it’s right or wrong, first impressions do count. According to LinkedIn your profile is 7 times more likely to be viewed if a profile photo is included.
When first creating your profile it’s easy to dump your CV & snippets from recent job applications into it however so many of us panic when we see the dreaded step:
“Add a photograph to your profile”. This is were it can go wrong…we either rush it and add any old photo or we leave it. Neither is good
Perhaps some of these thoughts came to mind when you had to add your profile photo
- “I’ll check my phone to see if I have any decent shots of me (preferably by myself).
- “I’ll use the photo of me on a night out with my friends recently – I do look quite nice (albeit there’s a drink in my hand!)”
- “Oh, there’s a nice photo of me with my dog – let’s put that one up”
- “Ah, I can’t find one….I’ll quickly take a selfie”
- “Ah, sure I’ll leave it for the moment”
- “I’ll put the company logo on…that’s good advertising
We are tempted to do one of the above because the odds of us already having a great photo that shows off our personality and appeals to our audience are very slim.
So unless you happen to be that very fortunate person you will need to put some thought in to your profile photo as this is a large part of your ‘online identity & branding’.
What should you look for when thinking about your profile picture?
1) You want a photograph that gives your audience the right impression of you – are you creative / serious / professional
2) You want a photograph that shows off your personality – perhaps you’re friendly / energetic
3) You want a photograph that reflects the environment / atmosphere you are in – it doesn’t have to be a white background)
4) You want it to be a flattering photograph – relaxed yet confident (so keep an eye out on your posture)
5) You want to make sure it’s not distracting – make sure it’s sharp (not pixelated), exposed correctly (not too dark / bright) & not too busy a background otherwise all the other tips won’t matter
For some more ideas on your profile shot take a look at the Professional Portraits online gallery
I spent a day at Willis Insurance Brokers in Belfast photographing the senior staff. Check their blog out
If you find it difficult to take a natural photo of yourself then I would recommend a ‘professional portrait session’. They are available for individuals, groups, or whole organisations and can take place in the office environment, outside the office environment, or in the studio.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.