A Few Profile Picture Ideas

A Few Profile Picture IdeasDo you remember glamour shots? It was all the rage in the early 1990’s to get all gussied up, go to the mall, and have a photographer take photos of you in lots of marabou, makeup and big hair. Back then taking a glamour shot was just a fun thing to do, but these days having a good portrait isn’t just vanity, it’s a necessity. If you’re on the web you need a profile picture for Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin, to name just a few popular social media sites. Any online group you sign up for will require a screen name, password and a profile photo. I’m often surprised by how many people don’t have a good image to use along with their name. Believe me, people notice if you still have an “egg” icon on Twitter or “mystery man” on Linkedin. If you don’t have have a great looking profile picture now is the time to get one.

Here are my new portrait shots.  I hope they give you some profile picture ideas so you’re inspired to get out and take some photos too.

A Few Profile Picture Ideas

The first profile picture I used on the web was a blurry self-portait taken on my I-phone. It featured my favorite bug-eyed sunglasses and pale lipstick. I used it around the web for a couple years until it was kicked out by a random shot taken on New Years Eve. Those were just my two favorites but there were many others as well. The end result was that every one of my social media sites had a different profile shot taken at a different time. It was a mess. Branding experts tell us to choose a single image to represent our brand, then use it over and over again to solidify our online presence. Personally I think using the same exact photo is a bit boring. I thought a group of photos taken at the same time would create a single brand image but still give me some options to customize the icons for each of my social media sites. I needed one image that said “professional” and a few that were more fun and whimsical. I also wanted a photo that represented my creative side and a couple glamour shots too.

So my husband and I went out late in the day one afternoon and took a bunch of photos. Here are the results.

The Professional

As soon as I saw this shot I said “That’s the Linkedin”! Of all the photos we took it’s the most uptight and business-appropriate.

A Few Profile Picture Ideas - The Style Confessions

The Glamour Shot

Head tilted back, big smile and eye contact, this one is more flirtatious than professional.

A Few Profile Picture Ideas - The Style Confessions

The Creative Type

Filters give this shot it’s “instagram” look, which is why you’ll find it on my Instagram profile as well as Twitter.

A Few Profile Picture Ideas - The Style Confessions

Pretty Pretty

I like this girly shot and have used it on Facebook and a few other places.

A Few Profile Picture Ideas - The Style Confessions

 Do’s and Don’ts for Taking a Good Profile Picture

  1. Do take your photos outside in natural, but not direct, sunlight. We took all these shots right before sunset, when the light is soft and warm. Other good times include early in the morning and anytime on a foggy or overcast day when the light is diffused and soft.
  2. Don’t wear trendy clothing that will look dated in a few months. A simple neckline with straps or sleeves is best. Avoid strapless tops as they might make you look like you’re not wearing anything at all!
  3. Do load on the makeup, especially foundation, to even out your skin tone and bring some color to your face. I’m wearing quite a bit of eyeshadow, liner, mascara and blush in these shots, but you can’t tell because the light washes the color out of my face. (And yes, this applies to men too. Why should women be the only one’s to get help with their complexions in photos?  Dab on a bit of foundation and some powder. You can take it off right afterwards.)
  4. Do have your hair cut and colored before you go out on your photo shoot. You can’t really tell in these shots, but it’s been a while since I’ve had my hair highlighted. There were a lot of photos I loved that were ruined by three inches of dark roots.
  5. Do find a quiet place to take the shots. I take photos all the time for my blog but even I am camera shy sometimes. People making fun of me or pointing (it happens!) tend to throw me off. If you don’t want to be bothered by rude onlookers go somewhere private like your own or a friend’s backyard.
  6. Do fill up the card on your camera! We took almost 500 shots to get ten great ones. The more shots you take the more probable it is that there will be a few really good ones to choose from.
  7. Don’t be so serious. Smile! There are all sorts of studies that show that people gravitate towards happy faces.
  8. Do try a number of different poses and head tilts to get a variety of looks.
  9. Dont’ be afraid of Photoshop. It’s OK to soften blemishes or blur out the background, just be careful not to do so much work that the results look fake.
  10. Don’t just put your great new photos online. Put your new, great, profile shot on your personal business cards so people will remember who you are.

Do you have a great profile shot? If not, are you thinking about taking some photos? Do you agree with my do’s & don’ts? Have any to add? Let me know in the comments below.

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18 Responses to A Few Profile Picture Ideas

  1. Marla Robinson June 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    Beautiful shots. You are lovely.

  2. nofearoffashion June 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    I fully agree with Marla. You are so lovely. Did have a giggle when I read 500 photos to come up with ten great ones. Been there, done that.
    I have chosen a photo of myself for my blog that I really like and put it on business cards as well. But I will keep your tips in mind when I change it.
    nofearoffashion recently posted..Graduation Fashion Show ArnhemMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 12, 2013 at 11:54 am #

      Thanks Greetje. I’m glad you found the tips useful.

  3. 33 June 10, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    the first one, def. IMO is the most universal and flattering, for professional and for social media.

  4. Stacey - Total City Girl
    June 10, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Look at you giving photo tips!! 🙂

    You look great – I really like the bracelet in the Pretty Pretty shot.
    Stacey – Total City Girl recently posted..52 Week Photo Challenge – Week 23 – WIDEMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 12, 2013 at 11:53 am #

      I’m glad you like my tips! I listen to my husband about lighting, plus I notice when I look good and when I don’t and why. Interior light is harsh, so is direct sunlight. I avoid them both!

  5. Alexis Grace June 10, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    I think these are great tips. I hate selecting profile photos! And your photos— lovely!!!
    Alexis Grace recently posted..Modern Linen PantsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 12, 2013 at 11:49 am #

      Thanks Alexis. It’s not easy looking at yourself in film. It’s sort of a shock at first actually, but if you take enough photos there’s bound to be one or two you like, but you’re beautiful and I’ve yet to see a bad shot of you (:

  6. Annette June 11, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    Very good tips and your photos are fabulous!
    I like your thought about similar photos but not exactly the same ones (which I find boring too) in various social media.

    Lady of Style
    Annette recently posted..SUMMER DRESS FOR THE ITALIAN RECEPTIONMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 12, 2013 at 11:47 am #

      Thanks Annette. I’m glad you approve!

  7. anne the SpyGirl
    June 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Great post, Heather! I’ve been seeing your different shots in the various web spots and must say all very nice + friendly!
    You give us some great tips!
    anne the SpyGirl recently posted..LAFC Le Shoppe — 8000nervesMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 12, 2013 at 11:47 am #

      Thanks Anne! I’m glad you like them and that my shots look friendly. That was the look I was going for! It’s SOCIAL media after all. (:

  8. Sylvia
    June 11, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

    Wow Heather. You must have been so pleased with the. You look amazing!
    Sylvia recently posted..3 tops + 3 bottoms = 1 week of styleMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 12, 2013 at 11:46 am #

      Thanks Syliva! I was really pleased with the results, but I think it’s someone that anyone can do with a little planning.

  9. Jamillah June 27, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    This is such a valuable post! I agree very important to not be an egg or a silhouette dude! And I totally know what you mean about linkedin image, lol.

    my personal fave is definitely 3 :).
    Jamillah recently posted..Farewell Google Reader-My 2 Picks for Web AlternativesMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 30, 2013 at 10:45 am #

      Thanks Jamillah! I never follow people who have eggs or silhouettes for gravatars. That photo is so important! It’s great to have a bunch made like I did, but anything is better than nothing.