Will Your Facebook Photo Land You a Job and a Date?
If your profile picture on Facebook looks like it comes from your passport or driver’s license, you do need to seriously consider changing it. Facebook isn’t simply about having fun with your friends anymore. It’s also about looking good for employers, business associates, college recruiters and romantic partners. A bad Facebook profile picture can really cost you. In other words, it’s an excellent move to put some effort into making your Facebook photo the best that you can possibly manage.
Never mind the background — think lighting
Most people will think a lot more about the perfect backdrop than about the lighting. Any kind of lighting can work, they feel, just as long as one is visible. This is simply not true, though. In profile pictures, it is always the lighting that makes the difference — it’s what makes you look sharp and present. The background is usually not all that visible in a tiny picture.
The idea should be to find soft, rather than hard light. With soft light such as what you find early in the morning, late in the evening or on a cloudy day, the shadows and the transitions between light and dark tend to be softer and more evenly graded. If it’s a bright day, you simply need to find a spot outdoors where it’s bright, but away from direct sunshine.
Rather than choose an interesting backdrop, you need to look for something that’s completely plain and boring. A profile photo is supposed to be about you. A plain, light-colored wall is perfectly acceptable. A dark wall is okay, too; you don’t ideally want the background to be brighter than the place you are in.
You need to pose and place the camera at an angle
A respectable pose and a good, smiling expression can make you look interesting and likable. Both are essential. Whether you’re a man or woman, a little makeup should make you look presentable on camera. It’s important to stay away from crazy expressions; you want your Facebook profile to make a good impression everywhere for you, after all.
Different poses work for different people. It’s important to experiment. One hand on the hip, arms straight down, arms crossed, one leg up on a step and other simple poses can bring a bit of motion and excitement to the picture.
Whatever pose you decide on, taking your picture with your camera placed at a 45-degree angle on one side usually has a flattering, thinning effect. Wherever the camera may be, you do need to keep looking at it. If you can’t think of exactly the right pose, expression or angle to use, it can help to look up a simple picture of your favorite celebrity on Facebook and copy their pose, attitude and expression (as long as it works for you).
Since Facebook profile pictures are tiny, you need to give up most of the space in your shot to your head. Whatever you do, you need to make sure that you leave a little space all around. Facebook always crops pictures to achieve a 2:3 format. If you don’t leave a little space around, the cropping will eat into your picture.
While you do want to be yourself in your Facebook photo, what you also need to remember is that you need to put on a good face. Your success in life may depend on how you look on Facebook. Going on Photoshop or another photo editing program to brush over wrinkles or blemishes, whiten your teeth or give yourself a tan can be a good idea.
Facebook is full of exceedingly poor quality profile pictures. People don’t care about uploading pictures that are poorly lit or have strange expressions. Sometimes the pictures only take up a fraction of the space available. Doubtless, they will have a hard time making an impression when it matters. When your picture is perfectly lit and represents you beautifully, you have the inside track already.