Facebook has been around for about twelve years, and yet people still don’t understand the rules of the ideal profile picture. I’m proud to say that I’ve yet to take a bathroom mirror selfie, but I can slowly feel my resolve weakening. The selfie game of my friends is getting stronger with age, so it’s time for me to make a comeback.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this: choosing a profile picture is hard f*cking work. This is serious business, and if you’re not prepared to fully evaluate yourself in a photograph, then you might as well upload a crappy jpeg of a Pokemon character that you “relate” to on a personal level.
If you want to hit Taylor-Swift-level in terms of likes, then listen up. I’ve got seven easy to follow, critical rules that you need to successfully select your new profile picture:
Your eyebrows need to be on fleek and your makeup game must be strong. Honey, your face better be on level with red carpet Beyonce, and throw some Lily Collins eyebrow-magic for good measure. This is a profile picture. This picture is the first thing everyone sees. It’s also linked to your Tinder account, so for the love of ‘Netflix and Chill,’ choose wisely.
Do you want a natural filter or a bold one? Bitches say #nofilter, but I know an X-pro and a Ludwig filter when I see one. Yes, it does amazing things for your complexion, but a filter is still a filter. They’ve got apps for everything nowadays and on-the-go photo editing is so commonplace that there’s hardly any unedited images in existence left in cyberspace.
Don’t be boring. If I scroll past your profile picture without the slightest pause, your mission has failed. The context of the photo should be interesting. If it’s not a head shot, then your composition is key. Your surroundings are just as important! Don’t post a pic with your toilet in the background, or a messy room. Also, if we can’t see you in the photo, it shouldn’t be your profile picture.
Them angles, though. In high school, I nearly flunked out of geometry. I made it through that class with a C (that was closer to a D). Do you have any idea how stressful that final exam was? Ya girl was sweatin’ like a sinner in church, but angles matter. A key part of selecting a ‘cream of the crop’ and People cover worthy photo is the angle. When I choose my profile picture, it’s all about the angles. This is the only time in life when the pythagorean theorem comes anywhere close to being relevant. Does my cleavage in this photo look sultry or “desperate for attention”?” Should I do an overhead shot to show off my cute top, cleavage, and adorable smile? Which angle will make that slight double chin disappear? These are important questions to ask yourself.
Is it appropriate? I know y’all are scratching your heads wondering why this is relevant, but let me brief you on the struggle called: personal vs. professional social media accounts. LinkedIn is basically Facebook, but with all the fun sucked out of it. It’s about how you present yourself, who you’re connected to, and who recommends you. If your profile picture on LinkedIn doesn’t make people stop and appreciate your professionalism, then you’re not going to get far. You need to be interesting, but conservative. And on Facebook, you just need to be interesting.
Hint: Your Facebook and LinkedIn profile pictures should probably be different images.
Your crop and caption is just as important as the photo itself. The crop function on any photo-editing software is the dictionary definition of frenemy. It can be good to you, but terrible at the same time. Lord of the Rings is an excellent series, but making yourself look hobbit-esque by cropping your legs in the wrong place is not a good idea. Watch your body lines and do multiple crops to see what frames you best. Also, if your description is whack, it takes a little bit of the magic away from your picture. This photo is about to pop up on every one of your Facebook friends’ timelines, so make like Leonardo DiCaprio and “make it count.”
Changing your profile picture every other day is a terrible habit and you should stop. Not only is this incredibly annoying to see daily notifications of “Mr. Basic updated his profile picture”, but you don’t actually give anyone a chance to fully appreciate how good you look in those photos.
Nowadays, Instagram is the market-leading social network, but a lot of these rules apply to your Instagram photos as well. In summary, the photo struggle is as real as it gets.