A profile image is the featured picture of the subject of an online profile. If you’ve ever visited a social networking site like Flickr, Facebook, Google, Amazon, you name it, looked up a friend, and seen that very first picture displayed at either the top left or top right corner of the webpage, then you’ve seen an online profile image. It’s no secret that choosing the right photo for your online profile will get you many more winks and emails. But what’s the secret to taking and selecting a great photo that captures your personality and helps you stand out from the crowd?
A profile image is very important. When someone is looking at an online profile, that image is usually the first impression of the subject that they get. Just like in real life, if the first impression is positive, the rest of the profile will generally be perceived more favorably; if it is negative, the contents of the profile will tend to be discounted. And I’m not talking about taking down all those drunk pictures from the Jell-O wrestling tournament so you can get that job with the government you’ve been coveting. I’m talking about leaving those up to show anyone and everyone who is looking that you are one cool girl who happens to enjoy wrestling in gelatin.
Here are a few Do’s & Don’t’s when it comes to your “Profile Picture”:
DO Smile: Seriously, don’t say “cheese” – this typically produces an artificial smile. No big surprise, the ladies smile and make “flirty faces” nearly four times as often as guys. And with the chicks, it works: Females looking straight into the camera with subtly sexy expressions seem to get the most messages from men. Those with full-blown smiles follow with a close second. Notice that, however, that flirting away from the camera is the single worst attitude a woman can take. Obscuring your eyes not only hides an important feature, but it can send signals of untrustworthiness. For guys, however, the effect is slightly different. Men with coy, flirty smiles still get the most attention — but looking away from the camera works best for the men.
DO Choose your mood: Let’s face it. You’re a complicated person with many sides and many moods. Here’s your opportunity to share them all. Go vogue, purse your lips, try a pout – come up with facial expressions that reflect all the moods that make you unique. This moment is most typically captured by the user while at home alone. He or she will break out the camera and take anywhere from 20-76 selfies before finding the one that shows off their features the best.
DO Let nature speak along with you: Choosing the perfect scenic and right backdrop will tell volumes about you. If you are into sports, then having them as a sideline will also accentuate your sporting spirit. Choosing the right backdrop can tell someone a lot about you. Photos taken poolside or at the beach say you love to play. The world can’t help but notice your love for adventure when they see you snorkeling in the Caribbean, leaning on the Eiffel Tower, or admiring the Taj Mahal.
DO Pose: A casual, self-shot photo seems to be your best bet. Both guys and girls responded more to potential mates with cell phone- or Webcam-style shots. Many girls have taken the photos of themselves…you know the ones I’m talking about. The ones that scream “I’m vain” or “I’m hot and I know it!” Aim the camera up, down, left, and right. Different angles give folks an 180° peek at the true you. Want to see what they see? Take a picture of your reflection in the mirror. or Show your mysterious side by taking a picture of only a portion of your face. Have someone snap a few shots as you jump in the air, hang upside down, or dance to your favourite song. Be a rock star. Wave your hair and pump your fist in the air like you don’t care. Dress it up. Put on your sports uniform, day-punk outfit, or favorite club-wear, then strike a pose.
DO Show Your Bod ( Be Tasteful): Whether you’re a guy or a girl, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. For the women, showing some cleavage will grab the guys’ attention — but that’s not telling you anything you didn’t already know. The slightly less expected finding: Despite their public denials, the ladies love a guy who shows off his ab-crunching. For instance, it’s good for young men with good abs to show off their stomachs, but its creepy for older men to flash their six-pack.
DO/DON’T Flaunt your riches: Many profile pics display your richness in the best way possible, these ads are the perfect addition to a millionaire’s profile. Expensive cars, exotic vacations and great party life profile photos show you like the finer things in life. This photo allows the Facebook user to show off some amazing accomplishment – be it winning an award, rocking a jump while skiing, or hanging out with a celebrity – without having to sound like a douche bag who announces it to everyone. Deep down, though, they hope and pray that their wall will fill up with posts of people commenting on this very awesome accomplishment.
DON’T crop-out-everyone-else-who-looks-bad: This photo most often appears among women (who only care how good they come out in a group shot). She thinks she looks great (and that her cleavage is out of control), but everyone else is looking pretty blah. Not wanting to miss out on a top-notch Kodak moment or have strangers wonder which girl she is in said photo, she sloppily crops the rest of the subjects out of the photo.
DON’T Be Ambiguous: This includes using pictures of you from your childhood: you think you’re playing it safe, but it’s really a Big Red Flag. What are you afraid of and why are you hiding? Either you’re one of those conspiracy/privacy freaks or you’re afraid your past is going to catch up with you. Either way, it makes a people want to proceed with caution, if at all. You putting pictures of your neighbours, friends and everyone but you, would reflect you don’t love yourself enough and have very low self-esteem.
DON’T Be a cartoon: On top of being unable to tell what you look like, which was probably your point, we’re going to assume you’re as immature as the cartoon character that you feel best portrays you.
DON’T Try to Hard: Your hair is perfectly styled, you’re sporting some trendy shades, and no one has photographed a bigger pout since the finale of last season’s America’s Next Top Model. You’re going for sexy, but even if you succeed you come across as a high maintenance prima dona.
DON’T Show Everyone Your Goods: Simply meaning, Leave your naked pictures for those who you are involved with. Leave something to the imagination. Your pictures, no matter how private you may think they are, can be used by other networks to promote their products, from innocent advertisements for social sites & online dating sites to hardcore pay-to-play porn sites. Be very careful. My first impression of you should not be influenced by your boobs, amount of chest hair, or unfortunate costume parties. You may look phenomenal wearing a loosely tied toga, but I’m going to think you’re an attention whore.
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