Who likes to do business with a light blue speech bubble? Certainly not me! However I look around SavvySME and see so many faceless individuals popping up, whether it be pure lazyness or the inability to find an appropriate profile image, having a great profile image is one of the most important things to consider when looking at your personal brand.
I am a total perfectionist when it comes to online photos, if you look around my profile online I make sure that all my photos project the right image. On SavvySME, the best way to gain trust from other community members is to have a professional photo with a hint of your personality shining through! Keep in mind we are small business community here so there is no need to be all "corporate", we want to look friendly and approchable but also be neat and professional.
To help you guys look fab everywhere you go I've put together 10 tips you can use to a kickass profile image:
1. Natural or bright lighting makes you shine
If there is one thing you take from this article, is to be aware of the lighting when taking your photo. If you don't have access to a studio or lights, make sure you go where there is a lot of filtered natural light. Bright sunshine actually casts a lot of shadows on your face, so try taking the photo on a bright but cloudy day where the light is filtered naturally through a window. Most office lighting is horrible for a profile shot since a lot of the lights are fluorescent and case shadows down the face since the light travels from the ceiling down. Aim to have the light travel directly to your face or from the front 45 degree angle. A floor lamp sometimes will do if you shine it directly to your face.
2. Smile or do your favourite expression - no grumpy faces
A warm smile can win hearts in just a second! Make sure you include your friendly smile in your photo and don't be afraid to be a bit goofy is that is your personality! Don't hide who you are with your expression, embrace your personality :)!
3. Use a good quality camera
A quality camera can make all the difference in the photo! SLR camera's are very affordable these days and if you don't own one yourself, someone you know may be willing to lend it to you for a day. A good SLR camera is a great investment if you are also planning to create your own videos later on. One way you can tell when a photo has been taken with a good camera, is how clear the image. That being said, I have seen some great profile photos taken on an iPhone, if you get your lighting and surrounds right you may be able to skip having a good camera.
4. Wear light make up
Clowns are downright scary, but a natural face of make up for women can mean that you look a little bit brighter. Men can also consider wearing a tinted foundation or some concealor. Stick to natural colours and avoid too much bright eyeshadow and lipsticks, especially you gentleman :).
5. Touch up your photos
There are so many image editors out there today that will allow you to adjust the brightness, exposure and contrast of your photos as well as do a bit of airbrushing and red eye reduction. iPhoto have these editing features inbuilt but if you don't own a mac you can always use an online photo editor such as Pixlr to touch up your photos.
6. Think about your background
A plain white background is the simplest and most effective backdrop. If your office is clean and bright, that may be an alternative as well. If you're an outdoors type person a nice natural backdrop will also be great. Just make sure the photo is still focussed on you and you take up a large portion of the image. Crop some background out to focus on your face if your image is not composed like that to begin with.
7. Wear your favourite colour
You profile image should reflect you, so take this opportunity to wear your favourite color! It can brighten up people's screens :).
8. Take lots and lots of photos!
I certainly don't have the natural born ability to look great in every single photo taken of me, and maybe you don't - but thats ok, take a few more and pick your favourite! Don't be afraid to ask your photographer to take multiples of yourself, because in the end taking a few extra minutes may mean a much more flattering photo. Change up your angles and poses too so you have more to choose from. Some suggestions are:
- Take one from front on
- from 45 degrees on the left
- from 45 degrees on the right
- with a smile
- without a smile
- with a laugh
- with a grin
- with a silly face
- with an open teeth smile
- smile with your mouth closed
- with your favourite hand gesture
- with a jacket
- without a jacket
- with glasses
- without glasses
The options are endless, so get in there and try it all out!
9. Make sure it's the right size
Once you have your photo taken, it may me a good idea to resize it for using it on the internet. Camera's these days take photos in 10 or 12 megapixel resolutions which means a file size that is way to large to view on the screen. I suggest resizing it so the longest length is around 800 pixels or keep it under 250kb's. For some free online resizing tools check out this question. That being said, make sure your profile image is not too small either, a tiny profile image can be quite frustrating for people trying to see your face.
10. Show it off!
So after you've spent so long getting this photo right, it's time to show it off! Upload it to your SavvySME account and all your other profile accounts and allow other people to enjoy it too!
I thought a pretty fun way to finish off this article is to post some great profile pictures of our SavvySME community, I'll be updating this continually so put your best face forward :)!!
Founder of Startup Workshop
Timothy has a great image, natural light with a warm smile as well as a professional light background.
Owner and consultant at High on SEO
I love this photo Matt put up because it has so much personality! Just like his SEO brand. Also it's a great quality photo!