Secrets of a good profile picture

Posted by Jackie Russell

We may not all be super models but anyone in business should have a good digital profile picture and know where it is stored in their system.

At Chatterbox PR we regularly supply stories to newspapers and trade publications, and the stunning faces of our clients are a must have for the story.

If you need convincing, ask yourself why selfies have swamped the world and why is Facebook called FACEbook. It’s not rocket science – we are attracted to faces.

It is also a fun game to view someone’s portrait photo on a website, in a magazine or on their business card and then, try to guess how many years ago it was taken. The 10-year-old makeover photo may make people feel good but it looks a bit dishonest when people meet the real you.

You don’t need to pay mega bucks for a professional photographer or possess a top notch camera, although this does help. Most decent smart phones will suffice, especially if you know what you are doing.

And, if you have just had your hair done – it is the perfect day for a new portrait photo.

Go outdoors

Natural light always beats indoor light – unless you have a professional studio. However, there are some hazards to avoid when you photograph a face in the great outdoors.

Be careful of dappled light that casts shadows across the face and if you have a chronic squinter in front of your lens – put them in a shadier place with even light.

Get a buddy to take the shot


Selfies may be OK for your trip to the Eiffel Tower but they don’t cut it for a business shot. Your smile, shoulders and neck behave badly and the lens is often dirty, which can be good if you are trying to create a soft focus affect!

Keep it steady

Back in the day of film photography, my dad always threw out any slightly blurred photo and yet in the world of digital photography people still insist on sending blurry photos to print media, web developers or social media managers.

I am not even sure how people can get photos so out of focus but they do. Hit the delete button and start over.

Step away from the wall

When people want their logo or something significant in the background, they stand hard up against the sign or wall. This does little more than make you look like you have just been lined up for a mug shot by the community constable.

Move a few metres away from the desired background and have the photographer zoom in on your smiley face. The background can be useful to tell more of a story with your picture.

Move away from the background when you want to include it as an important component of your profile picture.

Size matters

Your portrait photo must be at least 1MB in size, especially if it is being used in print media. Anything smaller will pixelate when it is reproduced and any editor worth their salt will refuse to use it.

So, there are a few tips to improve your profile picture experience. If in doubt, call a pro and invest in a decent image.