What makes a good social media profile image?

Mark FMark FMark F of maftraductions.com mark@maftraductions.com

A photo shoot this week with Mark, who is setting up a French to English translation service, and who wanted some shots for his website and social media presence got me thinking that it would be useful to discuss what makes a good profile image for a 'web presence'. As with all images it is essential to decide what message one is trying to convey. This clearly has to be discussed with the client and be their decision, but for a typical small business I would suggest words such as approachable, open, and professional. 

There are any number of sites which offer advice on profile pictures but many of them seem to just be giving advice about camera settings, making sure it is in focus and other tips that are really too general to be of much use. Some give more specific advice, most of which I would agree with; in summary: smile with at least a little bit of teeth showing, 'squinch' (this is like squinting but only with your lower eyelid), accentuate the jaw line, and dress appropriately (see my suggestions on this topic here). I would also advise against wearing a hat, and sunglasses are an absolute no (people look at the eyes to assess trustworthiness). Do make sure the background is appropriate and not distracting.

Once you have an image that fulfils the brief then you need to resize it for the different social media channels. I will write a separate post on why just letting the different websites resize your image is a bad idea.

I don't know if Mark will chose this image for his profile or one of the others but I am happy with the set and as he has a range of colour and B&W to chose from. If you look at my portrait portfolio I think you will be able to guess which style I prefer!


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