With so much information put in front of us each day we need to work harder at making ourselves stand out in the crowd – and what better way than with a cracking profile photo !
But rather than just choosing any old photo, there are a few dos and don’ts you should consider if it is going to do its job successfully as your profile photo.
In this article I share why you should consider using a photo of yourself and my top 4 questions to ask to make sure it’s a good one.
Do I really need a profile photo of myself?
In short, yes!
It used to be mainly actors and high powered business people or figures of authority that you expected to have a posed headshot, but these days everyone should. Whether you are an employee, self-employed working alone or the managing director of a large business, if you are looking to promote yourself and what you do, a professional image of yourself is essential.
Our brains are wired to process images far quicker than the time it takes to process text, so it’s natural for our eyes to be drawn to the images that we see and remember them over the accompanying text. That’s why a photo can be so powerful in marketing!
A great profile photo plays a huge role in making the best first impression you can, which is no easy feat when it’s suggested that it takes less than 1 second for someone to form an opinion – you only have to look at the rise in online dating apps and how they work to see that in action!
This is not only important on your own website, but also for anywhere that you could meet potential clients or even employers – this could be Facebook, LinkedIn or networking groups for example. They can even be used on in-house software such as Teams or Slack, and show the professional side of you to colleagues and your employers.
If you have a high profile or are in the public eye often, having a few great profile photos ready to send out is a great tool to have. That way you can be sure that you still control the narrative and how you will be shown when other people are talking about you.
Related reading: What kind of photos will convert my website into sales?
Is my profile photo good enough or do I need a new one?
So you know why you need a great photo, but how do you know if your current profile photo is fit for purpose? Here are my top 4 questions to ask yourself when choosing your profile photo.
1. Is it a selfie?
If the answer is yes, it’s time for a new profile photo!
If you can’t afford to hire a professional photographer you’re bound to be able to find someone that can take a photo of you, even if it’s just using a smartphone. Failing that, use the self-timer option and make a tripod using items around you – using books on a shelf is often a great way to prop up a phone.
Selfies can be great for informal or behind-the-scenes photos – just keep them away from your profile photo!
2. Does it still look like me?
I’m sure we’ve all met someone who is guilty of this – I know I have! You know the person I’m talking about, the one who is still using a photo of them from several years ago and no longer looks anything like they do now.
One of the main purposes of a profile photo is to build a sense of rapport and trust with someone you haven’t yet met. You don’t want this to quickly turn to surprise upon meeting – a complete change in the person you are expecting to meet can even be unsettling for some people.
Similarly, don’t use lots of filters to try and look like someone you’re not – keep them for personal photos or sharing a quirky post related to the business, but only if it’s relevant.
3. Can you see your face clearly?
Don’t make it difficult for the person viewing your photo! They want to be able to see, at a glance, who you are.
If it’s low quality, out of focus, or too dark to see you face it suggests that you haven’t invested much time or thought into it – what does this then say about you as a person or business owner?
A busy or distracting background can also take away the focus from your face. Similarly, don’t use a group photo – prospective clients or employers want to know who you are, not get into a game of Guess Who!
4. Is it suitable for my business type?
Your profile photo should reflect your personality, but it’s also important that it is professional and in keeping with your role.
This of course will depend on your industry – for example, if you are in a managerial role or work within a professional service, your photo should convey this. It should show you are approachable, but also that you are a strong, professionally minded individual.
If you are in a creative industry or perhaps work more informally with clients, you might want to bring a little more fun into the image and be a little more relaxed, portraying yourself as a friendly and approachable person who is ready to help them.
If you’re not sure, ask colleagues or friends and family for their thoughts on your profile photo to see if it shows you as the professional that you are.
Related reading: 5 ways to improve the photos on your website and social media
Summary: Is my profile photo helping my business?
Standing out in the crowd is important, whether you are trying to gain new customers for your business or progress your career with a new job, and a great profile photo plays a huge role in doing this.
Asking yourself these questions above will make sure your photo is showing you in a professional light, and ensure that those all important first impressions are the right ones!