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Have you been wondering about your profile photo?

Perhaps you’ve been asking yourself if your profile photo is ok? Chances are you’ve got no photo, an old photo or something you quickly cropped down that you thought looked quite nice at the time. Your professional profile photo might be hosted on websites other than your own website. For example on your LinkedIn profile, on a business partners’ website, in a news article or on other social media channels. It’s important to give your professional online profiles more time and care than just chucking up any old photo, without a great profile photo you won’t be maximising the value you can get from your digital life. You’ll never know what opportunities you’re missing out on.

Ask yourself: Is my profile photo really doing it’s job?

Yes No
1 Could people recognise me in a crowded room using only my profile photo?
2 Does my profile photo accurately represent me?
3 Do I look friendly and approachable in my profile photo?
4 Is my profile photo less than 1 year old?
5 Do I look trustworthy, competent and likeable?
If you can’t answer yes to all of these questions then you need a new profile photo.

Here are 3 reasons you need a great profile photo:

So you can be found

Why bother having a great photo anyway? Because people are searching for you online. Perhaps they’re searching for you specifically, or maybe someone with your skills. Either way, they’re looking for you, and if they can’t find you you’re missing out on opportunities.

So you’re more appealing than your competitors

If you’re in a professional position, it’s imperative that both yourself and your business looks good online. More often than ever before people are searching for you online before they meet you. It’s important to remember that what comes up in their search engine of choice will not be the same thing you see due to a phenomenon called search bubbles. Having a well managed online presence will help people find you instead of someone else.

So you’re recognisable

Just imagine that you’re meeting someone again after having met them at a recent conference, or perhaps you’ve been put in touch with them over the phone. You may have spoken many times, but you don’t really know (or can’t quite remember) what they look like. A quick search online is going to make sure you’re not asking (or wondering about) everyone who walks through the door.

Choosing your new profile photo

If you go down the route of taking your own photo, you should watch out for these common profile photo mistakes. If your profile photo fits into one of these categories, you can be sure you’re both difficult to find and difficult to recognise online.

Here are 6 mistakes you’re making with your profile photo:

No photo at all

I hear a few different reasons people have chosen not to upload an image of themselves to their public profiles. Some people say “I don’t have a suitable image”, others say “I don’t know/trust what they’ll do with my photo, or what others might do” and others still say “I just haven’t gotten around to it yet”. Photos of you are going to end up online, your niece/nephew/brother/sister/friend/government/business are eventually going to put a photo of you up online – make it a good one. People will want to know who you are, and like it or not a huge part of that is what you look like. Looking at those profiles which don’t have photos – beyond the “something is missing” feeling it can look like you are either too lazy to get a photo sorted, or too scared that people might see your face. Neither of which are confidence inducing.

Zoomed in too close/Zoomed out too far

Profile photo zoomed out too far to be recognisable
If you’re a mere speck in the distance you won’t be recognisable, if you’re zoomed in too close you won’t get a flattering photo either. But how will you tell if your photo is hitting the right spot? Aim for your face to take up about 60% of the space – practically speaking, that’s about the same as a passport photo, maybe a tad further zoomed out.

Distracting Background

Profile photo has a distracting background
Going back to the purpose of a profile photo – it’s all about you. Yes! that’s right, you’re the feature of the shot. Don’t get shy now – you don’t need to be a glamour model, just make sure that the background of your photo is not distracting attention away from you. This can happen really easily when you get excited about posing a new profile shot. In this shot you can see there is great lighting and I even have an ok expression. Cropping out the wall switch is not going to save this otherwise great photo – the brick wall is just too intense.

Extreme selfie angle

Profile photo taken from an extreme angle
Otherwise known as the “MySpace shot” this is not your regular selfie. Using a regular selfie, or taking photos of your self with the timer mode on your camera is no big deal and neither is using a professional photographer. The extreme selfie angle doesn’t produce a professional profile-worthy image. Your face and body shape are distorted by your arm as you take the image, leaving you less recognisable. You just don’t look like you with an image from this angle and that’s what a great profile image is all about.

Bad Crop Job

Badly cropped profile photo with part of someone else in the shot
Sometimes we like a photo so much we want it to be our profile photo. It might even be a great photo of us, no-one’s looking at the hand on our shoulder, right? The fact is it simply looks weird when there is a disembodied shoulder, hand or arm on the edge of the shot. If the resolution on your image is high enough, crop it down just a little further, or simply use another photo.

You don’t need a professional photographer to take your profile photo, but it sure can help. You can often get some fine shots with a digital camera, but if you’re anything like me with a camera then the professional photographer will be a great asset. Having a pro take your profile shots will make short work of the job, they’re going to know exactly what needs to be done to get the best lighting, perfect focus and if you’re shy in front of the camera they’ll also help you perfect your pose and expression for the perfect natural shot. You can expect to spend an hour or more getting a range of photos taken, then your photographer will touch up the best few shots and deliver them to you in digital or printed formats (or both).

If you’re not sure about your profile then why not try perfecting your profile with us.

Cotton wool cloud with devices raining out of it

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