How to Take a Good Profile Picture

How to Take a Good Profile Picture

Would like to know how to take a good profile picture without hiring a professional photographer? Today, it is necessary to have a high-quality profile photo for almost everyone no matter who you are – a freelancer, business owner, blogger, for dating, etc.

In this article, you can learn about how to take a profile picture, avoid common mistakes and make your pictures appealing to the viewers.

10 Tips to Look Good on Profile Pictures

A profile image in social networks plays a significant role in interacting with other users. Each of us sees hundreds of profile pics of other people every day, but only some of them can catch our eye and make us interested in a person.

1. Don’t Hide Your Face

good facebook profile picture ideas

Instead of using a photo of your favorite animal, flower or cartoon character in your profile, show your face. Demonstrating your face in the picture is the best option for social media engagement.

Faces affect the decisions and judgments that people make about the picture owner.

2. Crop Your Profile Pictures Properly

photo profile crop

Even the best photo can be spoiled by the improper cropping in the social network itself. At the same time, try to capture a background area and position the face so that it takes up more space. Do not place the face too close.

3. Use the Same Photos for All Profiles

good profile pictures for all social media

This tip will be useful for people with common names. If you have a business profile, make it easy for your customers to contact you on different social media pages by using the same profile photo.

4. Smile While Shooting

smile while shooting for good picture

Photos of smiling people attract more attention and intuitively make the profile owners more friendly. However, you should consider some nuances. Natural or broad smiles are suitable for women. In men’s profile picture, it is better to smile in a restrained manner.

5. Don’t Use Group Photos as a Profile Picture

good profile pictures

I don’t recommend uploading group pictures because it may confuse your new followers. Always use your own photos without friends, relatives, pets or even too big objects.

6. Use Contrasting Colors

perfect profile picture with contrast color

Use the colors in your profile photo that are contrasting to the design of your social network. For example, the main color on Facebook is blue. Add orange color to your picture and it will become more eye-catching.

7. Don’t Upload Selfies

how to take profile picture

Try to take a selfie so that the viewers wouldn’t notice it was taken by yourself. This way your account will look more attention-grabbing.

  • Read more about correct selfie poses for your social media page.

8. Add Your Brand to the Photo

profile picture brand to the photo

If you are a businessman, you can easily add a company logo to your profile photos. You also have the opportunity to add your job attributes, for example, a camera if you are a photographer, or mountains in the background if you are a climber.

9. Choose a Place with Good Lighting

good profile photography place

Photography lighting matters. You can choose the place under the tree or shoot in the room near the window.

Natural light is the best option to take first-class photos. With good lighting, you can highlight the subject, accentuate eye color and even brighten up the background.

10. Carry Out a Survey

nice profile picture estimate

Find out what people really think of your pictures by uploading some photos to PhotoFeeler. Pay about $20 and get objective feedback from target voters on three criteria.

It is possible to vote on other people’s pictures and earn extra credits. You can upload a few photos and see which one is more appealing to the audience. Wait for several hours and get your results!

Bonus Profile Picture Tips

Use the tips that will help you present yourself in the most favorable light. Some of them will be unexpected and not always obvious but very useful!

Don’t Apply Too Many Filters

nice profile picture editing

Do not get too far with various Snapcat filters or overphotoshopping. This makes even a nice profile picture less appealing and you - unrecognizable.

Don’t Use Collages

profile picture poses ideas

If you want to create a good profile picture, do not use collages. Such shots are very popular among social network users, but they aren’t suitable for a profile photo.  Firstly, you will not be able to properly crop the shot. Secondly, it will be rather difficult for users to get a clean look at your face.

Use a Good Camera

If you want your photo profile to be really catchy, I recommend using a camera with a large image sensor. With its help, you can receive detailed images and more possibilities for photo post-production.

When choosing a camera, pay attention to the model with a flip screen to easily take pictures of yourself. In addition, I recommend using a lightweight tripod for convenience.

Use a Smartphone as an Alternative

smartphone good profile picture

The majority of modern smartphones features the camera that is capable of producing rather good images. So, if you do not have a digital camera, you can use a smartphone as an alternative.

Keep in mind that you need to shoot with a rear-facing camera instead of the front-facing. To get a better result, I recommend you to buy a tripod for the smartphone or a selfie stick.

Choose the Perfect Angle

photo profile posing

To take a good profile pic, you need to find your flattering angle. This is a natural pose which is unique for you.

Try to take several photos from different angles and choose the one that you like best. For some people, this is the right part of the face or a picture taken above the face.

Edit Your Images Before Posting

profile portrait photo retouching profile portrait photo retouching
Order Portrait Retouching $5 per photo

Improve colors, eliminate different skin imperfections and enhance the overall look of the image in Photoshop, Lightroom or other free photo editing apps. In case you don’t have time or experience to edit the shots on your own, you can address the services of professional photo retouchers.

Shoot in Visually Interesting Locations

interesting locations for profile picture

To get an eye-catching portrait, shoot in beautiful and unusual places. Take pictures against the interesting patterns and textures, for example, the red brick wall, a flower glade or the azure sea. This way you will make the shot more artistic and expressive.

Use the Rules of Composition

how to take a good profile picture

Use the rule of thirds to get a perfect profile picture. This rule is very simple: do not center the face in the image. Instead, position the subject on one of the horizontal or vertical lines. This way you can draw the viewer's eye into the composition.

Show Your Hands

good profile pic with hands

If you are taking a full-length photo, then you shouldn’t hide your hands in the pockets or behind your body. Instead, show them off. This will add more openness to the image and make you more appealing to the viewer’s eyes.

Consider Your Apparel

If you want to take a nice profile picture, it is not necessary to wear an expensive suit. You can wear your favorite T-shirt. However, make sure it has a tidy look and there is no dirt or wrinkles on it.

Don’t Forget to Apply the Right Makeup

I recommend wearing not too bright makeup. However, it is only up to you what makeup to apply. I like when the makeup is natural with light color accents.

Hide a Double Chin

profile picture poses for neck

When the person is relaxed or even trying various profile picture poses, the chin usually looks flabby. To fix this problem, I recommend pulling your face forward towards the camera.

Make Arms Thinner

nice profile picture

If you don’t want your arms to look disproportionately large in a full-length or waist-high photo, I recommend you to slightly lift them or even put them on your hip. In this case, your arms will look thinner.

Turn Your Shoulders to Look Slimmer

shoulders poses for profile pictures

This is one of the best poses for profile pictures. The shoulders directed into the camera visually make the body fatter. If you turn your shoulders, your shapes will appear slimmer.

  • Read more about female poses recommended for profile pictures.

Pay Attention to Your Nose

perfect profile picture

If you are shooting a side face profile so that we see both eyes in the frame, you can create an effect of imbalance. If you turn your head too much, the nose will seem longer and as if breaking the line of the face.

Slightly turn your face to the camera, so that there would be a space between the tip of the nose and cheek. This way the profile will look natural with proportions preserved.

Don’t Shoot in Direct Sunlight

Harsh sunlight can spoil your photo by adding unnecessary texture to it. So, do not shoot under bright, glaring daylight.

It is better to choose a golden hour for taking profile photos. A specially designed Golden Hour App for Android and IOS will help you choose the perfect time for shooting.

Look Directly at the Camera

profile picture poses look into camera

To take a good profile pic, it is recommended to shoot full-face. On an intuitive level, an open pose and spread shoulders are perceived as signs of respect. The profiles which include such photos are more popular.

  • Read more about male poses recommended for profile pictures.

Use the Most Recent Picture

good profile picture for facebook

It is normal if you want to share your best picture on social networks. However, uploading images taken a long time ago isn’t a good idea.

If you meet someone in person, it may be surprising for them that you look different from your profile image. So, the important thing in learning how to take a good profile picture is not to mislead your followers.

Use the Self-Timer and Burst Mode

self-timer for good profile picture

Most modern cameras allow you to adjust the time delay by at least 10 seconds. It is enough to take the right poses for profile pictures in the right place. Activate burst mode to take multiple shots at once and choose the best one.

Use Wi-Fi

Most modern digital cameras are equipped with built-in Wi-Fi. This feature is very useful when shooting self-portraits, as you can view the images immediately on your smartphone or tablet without having to run to the camera all the time.

In addition, most mobile applications allow you to use your smartphone as a remote control to press the shutter button.

Adjust Sharpness in Advance

Adjust the focus in advance. Ask a friend to take your place in front of the lens or put some object that you can focus on. When the camera’s autofocus is directed to the desired point, stand in object’s place and take a photo.

Use the Right Aperture

right aperture for profile picture

If you use a large aperture like f/1.8 or f/1.4, you will be able to create amazing background bokeh. If you choose a smaller aperture, such as f/6.0, you will accentuate facial features and details in the background.

It is only up to you what aperture to use. I recommend choosing the large aperture as you highlight the subject and separate it from the background. This will make your photo profile more interesting to the viewers.

Use Artificial Lighting

artificial lighting for profile picture

Use softboxes, special lamps or bulbs if you have low light conditions at home. In fact, it will allow you not to depend on weather conditions.

Use Split Lighting

Using one light source and black background, you can take a photo where you will only have one side of the face in the light. The background should be as black as possible. With this lighting scheme, you add depth and expression to the portrait.

Use this Method to Get an Expressive Portrait

beauty portrait photography

By installing two light sources to the left and right of the face and using a white paper background, you will have a well-lit and expressive portrait. On each side, there will be a soft light pattern with slight shadows.

Use High Key to Get Gentle Pictures

get gentle pictures for profile picture

By setting one light source in front of your face and directing two more sources against a white background, you will get a light photo with a minimum of shadows. Moreover, this way you will add gentle tones to the picture.

Show Your Hobby

show your hobby for profile picture

To get a perfect profile picture, you can use items connected with your hobby. This will make the photo more original and demonstrate what you are fond of.

Lie Down

lie down for profile picture

This is one of the best profile picture poses. Use this idea to make your photo stand out against other users. You can lie on the pavement, grass or on another contrasting surface.

Take a Photo of a Photo

photo in photo for profile picture

Use paper cut out in the form of a polaroid photo, and place these polaroids in different places to attract the viewer’s attention. To make the image more original, you can use different color scheme inside and outside the polaroid photo.

Place a Face Between Your Hands

face between your hands for profile picture

Such profile picture poses are very popular among young people and bloggers. This way you can accentuate your eyes and create an extraordinary frame for your portrait.

Take a Black and White Image

black and white colors for profile picture

For some reason, not many people use black and white photographs in their profile. Well, they should, as such images are quite appealing and add an elegant finish.

Use Fairy Lights

use fairy lights for profile picture

To make good profile pictures extraordinary, you can use fairy lights for holiday photos. Everyone likes bokeh.

Illuminate Half of the Face

illuminate half for profile picture

Among various good profile picture ideas, this one will be suitable for creating a mysterious look. It will definitely make people view your shot longer than usual.

Shoot Against a Bright Wall

bright wall for profile picture

In order to stand out against other users, use a bright wall as a background. It is recommended to take such shots on a bright sunny day.

Use Shadows

shadows for profile picture

To make your home photo more original, use the shadow from the window. This way you can create patterns on your face. It is better to take such photos at noon when the sun is bright.

Freebies for Profile Photo Editing

To create a cool profile picture, you will need to edit it properly. I have prepared several free tools which will help you make your photo even more eye-catching.


classic portrait photoshop actions classic portrait photoshop actions

Makes your shots warmer and reduces cold tones. This action effectively works with outdoor photos.

Black & White

black and white photoshop actions black and white photoshop actions

This action will allow you to transform your photo into black and white without eliminating any necessary details in it.


portrait pro lightroom presets portrait pro lightroom presets

With this preset, your shots will become more contrasting and saturated. Also, the filter significantly improves white balance and makes the image cleaner.

Golden Hour

golden hour lightroom preset golden hour lightroom preset

This preset allows you to achieve a golden hour effect in your pictures. This tool works best with outdoor photos.


matte portrait lightroom presets matte portrait lightroom presets

This preset adds a slight matte effect to the photos. It makes too bright shots darker, softer and more appealing.

Tata Rossi

Hi there, I'm Tata Rossi - a professional blogger, read more