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How to Take and Edit Profile Pictures for Social Networks

Social networks are one of the best platforms to promote yourself, so if you upload a good picture over there it will bring good impression on you. Here we described how to make your social media profile picture more professional. Hopefully, it will be helpful.

By Jogesh DebnathPublished 2 years ago 8 min read

Do you want to make a good impression on social media?

If the answer is yes — or of course yes! — it's worth taking extra care when taking your profile picture and editing it before publishing.

After all, she is the main image that appears next to her name. And it is no exaggeration to say that this photograph shows who you are to the whole world.

You can see: that it only takes a few moments for you to form an opinion about someone from this type of portrait.

A study by the American University of Princeton points out that the human brain classifies people in a fraction of a second, even if it is through a small image seen on a cell phone screen.

This influences your decision to connect or not to that person and the way you interact with them... which also happens when your image is viewed by other people.

But don't worry, because now you'll find perfect tips to make your profile picture have the desired impact on social media.

So get ready for the clicks!

How to Make Social Media Photos More Professional?

The choices you make for an ID image say a lot about you. This can be very private, but there are details that add value to any profile photo on social networks.

Keep these tips in mind before triggering the camera:

01. Stay in focus

People want to know who you are. So, your face should be highlighted.

If you want to relate your image to a profession or demonstrate your passion for a certain topic, tell the story behind your profile picture in another way.

An artist, for example, can pose on a colored background instead of exchanging the image of her face for a painting — even if it is beautiful, it is preferable to keep the personal touch and post the photo of the work as a cover image or shared content.

02. Enhance the quality

Each social network adopts specific sizes for displaying profile pictures. Therefore, it is essential to use a high resolution image. So there is no loss of sharpness or quality when it is resized after you upload.

This also makes it easier to make basic adjustments to your photo, such as a crop to make your face well centered. This edit helps to better fit the circle format, which is trending on social media — only Tumblr still offers the option to display your square photo.

And it's good to remember that your photo will still appear in its original format when someone clicks to see it in detail.

03. Keep it classy

The boundaries between what is personal and professional are very close on social media. That's because anyone can access images that you post at different times and contexts.

However, by selecting a profile picture you make a kind of statement. Different types will see this image of people and it is as if you say, "Hello, this represents me". So, look for a balance between authenticity and appropriateness.

04. Define your objective

If the idea is to do personal marketing, consider using the same photo on all social networks and make your image more memorable. However, nothing prevents you from using a photo for your Facebook profile and choosing another one for your LinkedIn account — a strategy that can be interesting if you are looking for a job.

Your decision should also take into account the peculiarities of each network. Thus, the example below could be used as a photo for a makeup artist's Instagram profile and leverage a lot of work contacts, even if the image doesn't have the typical professional style.

05. Evaluate the space

As you have just seen, each platform has a visual language and is intended for a type of audience. It's critical to recognize this when fitting your profile picture into the world of social media — and harmonizing your image with the style of content you post. Or, define a single image by thinking about the adequacy of the main characteristics of the social network:

  • Facebook: the most social of networks, where interactions happen mainly between friends and family. Even if you want to promote your work or business, keep a more relaxed style. Since your photo appears next to the cover image, try to make a good match.
  • Instagram: this platform is used to promote work, present unusual details of everyday life, or show the way you see the world. Either way, remember that your profile picture should identify you in a universe where images play a leading role.
  • Twitter: the network is usually defined as a microblog, as the main focus is the publication of short texts. Even so, a profile picture always appears next to the posts and the cover image.
  • LinkedIn: a platform dedicated to the exchange of information about work, with a strong presence of corporate profiles. Think about how you would like to present yourself in this environment when producing your profile picture.
  • For Pinterest or Tumblr, which are image-sharing networks, it's worth using the same style as your Instagram photo.
  • On a YouTube channel, people who click on your profile will see your photo associated with a cover image. Take the time to plan the best combination of these elements.
  • The WhatsApp profile picture (which is also considered a social network) will only be seen by those who have direct contact with you — however, remember that you may have to share this contact with co-workers or customers.

The Biggest Questions About a Photo to Put on the Profile

Lighting, costumes, ambiance, expression... each detail counts as a photograph's information. So, use these tips when creating an ID image:

Right choices for your portrait?

To smile or not to smile?

Positivity is one of the key components of a successful profile picture. So a beautiful smile looks good even on a more formal platform like LinkedIn.

The important thing is to convey sincerity, so you don't have to force a laugh or exaggerate your expression to the point of looking like you're making a face.

If you don't feel comfortable laughing at the camera, try thinking of something pleasant and “smiling with your eyes”.

Selfie or photo produced?

One thing does not exclude the other. Whether you take a selfie or ask someone to click on you, the ideal is to produce a result that has good quality and attention to detail.

  • If you choose the do-it-yourself mode, place the camera or phone on a tripod or stand. This prevents your photo from being shaky or at an angle that distorts your features.
  • Choose what you are going to wear, paying special attention to the collar and cuffs of the garment (if you want to show your hands). Notice how the color of the pieces contrasts with or complements your skin tone. When in doubt, use the shade that best highlights your beauty and/or is less flashy. Thus, his expression remains the main focus of the image.
  • If you intend to use more intense makeup or leave a stubble, evaluate to what extent this is interesting (or not). As in the case of your wardrobe, it is worth betting on the more neutral option — unless you have a profile connected to fashion, make-up, or other sectors where a dose of daring goes well.
  • Use the concept of less is more when selecting the environment to capture the image and any objects that may appear in the scene. Your photo can be taken on the street, in your work environment, or in front of a beautiful landscape... but it's your face that people want to look at.
  • One of the most flattering poses is the one done with the body at 45 degrees and the face facing the camera. You can try other possibilities, but always leave some space around your face to make the photo easier to crop. And make lots of clicks!

Light or dark background?

Depending on the viewing mode, your profile picture may appear in combination with a cover image or over borders of different shades.

Take this into account when choosing your background, in addition to harmony with the internal elements.

Thinking about the graphics that photography forms help to make that decision. If you want more defined contours, bet on contrasts (for example, with a well-lit face against a dark background).

To convey softness, a lighter background is ideal. However, be careful that the image does not appear faded. A great tip to avoid this is to use a natural light source instead of a flash.

Expectation vs. Reality — What to Avoid in Your Profile Picture

Pose with other people

Appearing with your better half, with friends or family, will get in the way of your identification.

Also, instead of conveying a sense of relaxation or your pride in being with these people, your photo may give the impression of insecurity or lack of individuality.

Make mystery

Hiding the face or part of it, showing only a silhouette or reflection, and facing the camera with a defiant attitude... this style of the photo has been widely explored by artists and fashionistas. The problem is that it represents you as an unapproachable person.

Appear different

Whether because of the angle, makeup, or excess retouching, the result of your photo can look transformative. Even if it looks cool, it doesn't represent who you are.

By frustrating the expectations of both acquaintances and strangers, a photo where you look like someone else can undermine your credibility. This also goes for old photos.

How to give your profile picture a professional look?

A good edit on your photo will make it even more attractive and suitable for identifying you on social media. For that, you don't have to deal with complicated image processing software or applications that even modify your expression.

Canva has an online photo editor where you can make major adjustments to your portrait with ease. In addition, you have the same practicality as the other features of the platform — such as editing a photo on your phone and leaving the look the way you want in an intuitive way.

Check out the main edits you can make:

  • Crop and Dimensions: Once you've uploaded your photo, just move the corners to get the framing right. You can change the original format to square (1:1) to see the image in the standard in which it will be published.
  • Rotate & Flip: Use as a correction or to give your profile picture an unusual touch.
  • Brightness, Contrast, and Saturation: Make these adjustments to reinforce the concept you want to convey with your image.
  • Filters: These are great for you to style your image and harmonize it with what you usually post in your feed. For example, you can turn your profile picture into black and white (the preferred style of many photographers and filmmakers). Filters can also be adjusted to balance the intensity of your attributes.

To fuel your imagination, even more, check out our illustrated guide with Basic Settings to Get You Started Editing Photos Like a Pro.

Get Inspired

Search a lot of images for reference (but no stalking, huh!) and use these tips as a checklist when taking a picture for your social media profile.

Having these details under control is a way to unleash your creativity — confident that your online presence can make the impression you want.

The experience of clicking and editing your image is sure to be enriching for you... and a lot of fun.

So, start now and rock your profile!

how to

About the Creator

Jogesh Debnath

Jogesh Debnath is an expert photo editor with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a passion for capturing and enhancing the beauty of images, using his skills and expertise to bring out the best in every photograph.

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    Jogesh DebnathWritten by Jogesh Debnath

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