6 Tips for Getting a Good {Great!} Profile Picture

Profile Pictures Before and After 
Last Fall, I decided it was time to update my profile picture. My hair color had changed {the summer streaks were dyed away} and my pixie cut was growing out. So, I took a selfie and posted it. Immediately afterward, I realized I looked like a crazy woman, this was not a represenation of my true outward self.  After a bit of trial and error and some helpful {brutally honest} feedback from good friends, I was able to get a profile picture I felt great about. One that looks like a best version of me. Here I'd like to share with you, lessons learned on my journey to a good {great!} profile picture.

1. Get a Haircut

Bad hair profile pic.  Get a haircut if crazy hair is not part of your persona.
If crazy hair is not part of your persona...get a haircut!

Your profile picture is supposed to be a representation of you at your best. The woman in this photo {me}, with her growing-out-pixie do combined with some unnaturaly-dark-locks was unrecognizable to me.  We aren't even going to speak of the odd camera-angle-induced deep smile lines.  Take the time to neaten your hair up with a trim!

2. Find out what colors flatter you and wear one of them.

Black is not my color. It's not yours either. It's really not anyone's. There are many sites on the web to help you discover your color palette. I linked my favorite below. Polyvore.com puts up treasuries of trendy outfits in the many color palettes. 

I swapped the black top in this post-haircut profile-selfie for a warm pink sweater from my closet. Yes, it was a 75 degree October day when I got my photos taken, but it saved me from buying a new outfit. 
Black is not your color profile pic. Identify your color palette and use it. (Mine: soft autumn)
Black is not your color.  The warm jewelry is in my color profile, but not so much the black.

3. Have your makeup applied by someone who knows how to do makeup for photos

In the picture above, I have my regular every day makeup on. While great in person, it just doesn't account for the effects of lighting and shadows, especially if you are mature {older} like myself.  A good makeup artist knows how ammeliorate these effects.  

My make up artist was a complete professional and even shared some great tips while she polished me up.  You need only compare the photo above with the final below to see that her expertise was priceless in removing bumps, blemishes and shadows.

4. Think about what you want your photo to say about you. Then strike the pose or posture that will capture it. 

Choose your posture and expression to reflect the image you want your photo to send... Mature, Respectable, Fun-loving, Creative...
Stumped? Ask your makeup artist, a true friend, your mentor and photographer {if they are a pro} for ideas. My makeup artist, who happens to be a true friend {lucky me!} told me she had a vision of me curled up and relaxing on the couch with my hands pulling up the neckline of my sweater.  The results...fabulous!  Scroll down to see! {I cracked jokes between shots to keep my smile genuine.}

5. Don't use your phone!

A selfie is not the way to go here.  Use a real camera and make sure the person on the other end of it knows how to adjust the settings for the lighting and photo style. Note, I didn't say a photographer here.  But, if you can swing it or know one that owes you a favor, now is the time to call that one in.  There are many hobby photographers out there {mine was my hubby}, who have invested in their equipment and know how to use it.  Ply them with cookies {or kisses}, as appropriate.

6. Edit your photo before you post.

No, you don't need Photoshop knowledge, much simpler tools, like Picmonkey.com, are available on the web. But, you must edit. Why?
                 a) Each site has it's own pixel {size} parameters. You run the risk of having your picture look like a carnival hall of mirrors if you let the site resize on it's own {if it will even do that for you!}.
                 b) You want to buff out that hair that blew over your cheek in your absolute favorite photo.  With editting tools, you won't have to settle for your second favorite, you can just fix it!

Here's my pic taken following all 6 tips.  How'd we do?
Following the 6 tips for a good {great!} profile picture
Following the 6 tips, a great profile picture {for me!} 

Remember, a selfie is *not* a good profile pic.  Your profile picture may be the only way your followers, customers, and former high school classmates ever see you.  Stand out with a great one!

Local to Raleigh? Here are my favorite professional make up artist and photographer:
Ashley Bromirski from SmashArt smashart@gmail.com
UPDATE: While Laura Mentler from Laura Ann Photography lauraannphotography.com is my favorite Raleigh photographer, she works her magic in Lifestyle photography (think little ones and families!).  For headshots like mine,  Laura highly recommends her colleague Jami Scull - you can find her at Jami Scull Photography.com.

I loved this color analysis tool because it let me choose my characteristics based upon photos of real people: The Chic Fashionista

I edit and resize my photos with Picmonkey.com, I use the Royalty paid version because of the special fonts and graphics. The free version is truly robust and awesome as well.

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