We've all been there. The stress in choosing from an array of photos the one that will be your profile picture. Asking a friend to edit it so that a pimple doesn't show, but making sure that they don't choose to harsh a filter. Figuring out which time of day is the best time to post in order to get the most likes, while factoring in friends in different time zones. The agony of posting the photo and waiting for the like to time ratio to pick up speed.
Yeah, maybe it's stupid to make fun of people for stressing out about profile pictures. After all, it is just a picture. However, with the way social media has taken our society by storm, the importance of pictures online may be valid. Employers now look at social media profiles when considering whether to hire possible candidates.
More than that, pictures online are a way to express yourself. It's your first impression to the world. We all like to say that we don't judge a book by its cover, but it's hard when the cover is the first thing that you see. With that in mind, let's go over a few basics in creating the perfect profile picture for you!
Be Yourself…Within Reason.
A profile picture doesn't need to be serious! I went through a phase where I posed for all my profile pictures against a wall, with my hair and makeup done nicely, smiling an extremely fake smile. While these photos did generate a lot of likes, it wasn't really me! Sometimes the photos that capture you best are candid, or natural. The profile pictures that I've enjoyed best were me posing with my sister, doing things that I enjoyed, or photos that involved inside jokes with friends.
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With that in mind, make sure that your photos are appropriate. When choosing a profile picture, or when I'm uploading any photos, I try and keep in mind whether my grandma would be okay with seeing this photo. Yes, that photo of you with your friends on a night out is very cute, but that beer in your hand is not. It is important to remember that while photos are amazing for remembering memories and sharing experiences with everyone, not every moment needs to be shared. Maybe keep those photos just for you and your friends to relive in private.
Get to Know Yourself Through Pictures!
For so long I felt like I was being self-absorbed when I looked at myself in the mirror. However, getting to know your angles is a great skill for profile pictures, family photos, and more! Figuring out your flattering angles is crucial in taking a photo that shows the best you. Because when you are smiling nicely and feel good, you'll look good, and other people will be interested in getting to know you.
Looking at yourself is not being vain. You are allowed to take moments to feel beautiful, even if it's just to figure out which smile you like best for a profile picture. If you're uncomfortable with your stomach, fine, do a shoulders-up photo! Have a pimple on your cheek? Figure out a way to pose without it showing. Practicing poses and smiles is fun, which is what you should be having when you're taking a profile picture.
Captions, Captions, Captions
A profile picture isn't a true prof pic if it isn't followed by a great caption. Sometimes, I like to think of a caption as the frame of a picture; it's great on its own but it really comes together with a caption. Song lyrics and movie quotes are always great, but for a lighter mood, I like to go for good puns. If all else fails, I go with a good group of emojis that represents what's going on in the photo.
If you're fishing for likes, captions are a true game changer. I know that it seems silly to place that much importance on a caption but think about it. I like to think that profile pictures help create your own personal brand online. For example, if you were to go onto my profile, I've compiled a group of photos that portray me the way that I wanted to be represented online. Therefore, captions help to create that personal brand that shows everyone who you are online.
Who Are You Posting For?
We've already talked about choosing a picture that is appropriate, but this is a little different. As we've previously gone over, profile pictures are not just for you. These are the photos that important people will be looking at. When choosing a profile picture, I think of all the people that I am friends with and who can search me on Facebook or any other social media platform. To name a few, I consider potential employers, elderly relatives, former bosses and teachers, people that have written me recommendations when uploading a photo.
Along with the selection process, it's incredibly important to go through and periodically delete old photos. No one needs to see your middle school photos with your bad side bangs and heavy eyeliner with Blink 182 song lyrics as a caption. Not only will employers dislike it, it ruins the brand that you've created online. In addition, it's just embarrassing. Perhaps save those photos for family or high school reunions to share with just friends.
To determine your self-worth by the amount of likes you get is simply absurd. There are certain tricks, like uploading your photo at a time when you know a lot of people will be online–keep in mind different time zones! However, being too scared to upload a photo because you're scared it won't get a lot of likes, or re-sharing your photo is silly. There is nothing I personally dislike more than receiving texts from friends asking me to like their photo. If a lot of people don't like your photo, it does not mean that they do not like you. You are separate from your profile picture, and it should not define you.
Some of my favorite profile pictures have been ones with my sister, or dog, or photos that don't generate a ton of likes. However, it makes me happy to see those photos representing myself, and I like the way that I look in them. And that is truly all that matters.
Everything was really put in perspective when my grandma got Facebook. My grandma made a profile in order to keep in contact with my sister and me as she was graduating college and I was starting. She was so excited when I was explaining to her what likes were, how to friend our other relatives, and how to upload a profile picture. While only my uncle and a couple of her friends liked her profile picture, the important thing was how she was feeling. More importantly, she did not care how many likes I had on my profile picture, she just enjoyed my smile and getting to see a glimpse into my life.
With that in mind, take these tips to heart and get out there! Love yourself and love your profile picture!