5 tips for a more professional looking profile photo

Wednesday 14 May, 2014

5 tips for a more professional looking profile photo

One of the most frequently overlooked elements of our ever increasing online presence is a profile photo. Whether you’re a job seeker, someone who’s looking to grow their professional network, or developing your business, having a clear profile photo humanises your online persona, and will help others recognise you online and at networking events.

You don’t need to hire a professional photographer or spend thousands of dollars on getting a basic yet professional looking profile photo. Just ask a friend or a family member who knows how to handle a DSLR camera to take several shots of you, against a simple background.

Remember to keep updating your profile picture so it’s current - but that doesn’t mean changing your profile picture every week.

Follow the next 5 tips and you’ll be well on your way to a professional looking profile photo.

1. Think angles

For close up shots - which is what your professional photo should be - angles can really make a picture pop, so think about how you’re going to compose the shot. Keep your body upright and shoulders back. Eye contact forms a very strong connection in any photo so looking slightly to the left is a little less confrontational than staring straight down the barrel.

2. It’s all about you

Do not include objects, pets, or children in your photo. If there are several people in your profile photo, it becomes impossible to identify you - save these photos for other social media channels such as Facebook. Avoid having those photos where you’ve cropped someone out but their arm can still be seen around your shoulder. It looks unprofessional.

3. Smile

Attempts to look too serious can come off as harsh, or intimidating. A smile makes you more approachable and it’s no secret that people like happy looking people! Along these lines, avoid the “duck face” or any other any other options where you’re really just milking it for the camera.

4. Dress appropriately

Your photo depicts you in a manner appropriate for your field. Typically, for professional photos, take the effort to dress professionally in a dress shirt or blouse, a shirt and tie, or even a suit. Solid dark colours like blue or black are your friends. Avoid white as it can make you appear washed out. Ladies, strapless dress or tops are a no-no because if you’re showing your shoulders in the picture, a strapless top will make you appear naked! Remember, it’s all about perception.

5. Less is more

Ditch the pair of sunglasses, hat, or anything else that hides your face or distracts the viewer from looking at you. Also avoid wearing too much makeup, or any over-the-top hairstyles and jewellery.

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