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Claire With the Camera BLog

10 Top Tips for taking the Perfect Profile Photo for Social Media

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

By Business Brand Photographer, Claire with the Camera

  • Would you love a LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram profile photo you can be proud of?

  • Have you seen other profile pictures that feel warm and open, and make you to want to connect with that person?

  • Do you want to know how you can create that with your own profile photo?

Read on to find out how, with my 10 Top Tips for taking the Perfect Profile Photo!


What even is a profile photo?

It’s the photo that represents you and your business on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and your website. It’s the photo that other people see of you every day, with every post you make. And every person that visits your profile to find out more… that’s what they see!

As small business owners, we are on social media for a reason - to connect. We want to reach more people with our business, to engage and create conversation, build know, like and trust - and our profile photo is such an important part of that.

Does your social media profile picture help them to get to know you, to feel invited to find out more, or is it a blurry selfie, or the back of your head, or a serious corporate headshot from 10 years ago, which gives completely the wrong impression of what they would get if they worked with you?

If you are an entrepreneur, small business owner or mum running your own business, make sure you are doing your business justice with a profile picture bursting with YOU-NESS to connect and engage with your audience!

Claire with the Camera - profile photo
This is one of my main profile photos

Read on for my 10 TOP TIPS to taking the perfect profile photo for your LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and website social channels.


Tip #1 Show your face not your logo!

Your face is lovely, I promise! I know it can feel scary to put it out there, as we are our own harshest critics, but we are all visual creatures and our faces are unique.

People connect with people and for that they need to see your face so make sure it’s actually in your profile picture! You are a business owner, but more than that, YOU are your business! Be proud of what you do and don’t hide behind your logo as that’s not what people connect with.

The profiles that stand out are those where someone is smiling or laughing at the camera and we can see their eyes. These photos emotionally connect and allow you a glimpse of what it would be like to connect with this wonderful human!

So don’t forget to smile, and look directly at the camera! Use your profile picture to bring out your personality, show warmth and approachability, and invite people to have a conversation with you.

Woman in business smiling and looking directly at the camera for a great profile photo
Connect with the camera and remember to smile like Emma from Emma Martin Mindfulness

Tip #2 Use a recent photo, consistently across all platforms

Use the same profile photo, to become easily recognisable across all of your social platforms. When I’ve connected with someone on LinkedIn, I often then look for them on the other platforms, and it really helps when I see their same profile picture and face pop up, so I know I’ve definitely got the right account!

This also helps to build up your brand consistency and build know, like and trust.

And do make sure it’s a recent photo! You may have taken a beautiful photo 10 years ago, or perhaps you had a corporate one done back in the day. But is that still really you as you are now? Have you changed your hair, have you changed how you work, and what you do? I bet you have, so make sure your photo reflects you right now, so people know what to expect. If you look serious and corporate, but really you are warm and engaging, it’s time to update your profile photo!

Tip #3 Don’t use a selfie for a profile photo

Whilst I love a good selfie like everyone else, your profile photo isn’t the best place for it! It’s easy to tell it’s a selfie, they don’t have the best composition or provide the most flattering look. Often people use a selfie to try and distract or hide from really showing their face, but it’s time to step out into the light and be seen!

If you are running a professional business and want people to focus on how you can help them, you need a professional photo that represents that and represents you.

Save the selfies for stories 😊

Use a fresh, professional photo for your profile, not an old selfie!

Tip #4 Let there be light!

But not too much!

As always, lighting is the MOST IMPORTANT thing in photos. You want lighting that flatters your beautiful features; think soft diffused lighting, like the sun coming through clouds on a beautiful sunny day.

Whilst we all think blue skies are glorious, direct sunlight is really harsh on our faces and doesn’t create that soft warm glow that we love. Similarly, being indoors with florescent lights is a big no, no! These create an unnatural colour and again are really unflattering, making our features look really harsh.

As a photographer, light is the number one thing I am looking at and thinking about with every photo I take, to make sure I can create the most flattering look.

Use great light for your profile (and show your personality like Sam here!)

Tip #5 Show off your personality with a brilliant background

The background of your profile picture is also really important, so choose wisely! A lot of traditional, professional headshots are done in a studio with a plain white, black or navy background. That’s not my cup of tea, as you want your profile photo to stand out and bring in some personality!

Do you love the outdoors or perhaps you have a wonderful creative space you work in? What will give your followers a glimpse into you, your business and your personality?

But don’t forget that YOU still need to be the main stand-out feature in your profile photo, so make sure you are not blending in with your background, or that your background isn’t cluttered and taking over so you get lost. It’s a fine balance but definitely achievable.

Home baking business, woman with mixer and mixing bowl, smiling at the camera for a profile photo.
Jo runs a home baking business, so her beautiful kitchen is the perfect backdrop for her profile photo

Tip #6 Bring your brand in

There’s a couple of ways to do this. Think about how you can bring your brand colours into the photo. Perhaps you could be wearing them, or maybe they could be in the background? Make sure you don’t wear anything that clashes with your brand colours.

You could also bring in what you or your business does with a small prop or something of relevance with you or in your background. My profile photo is me holding my camera so there’s an easy visual reference to what I do.

Woman running her own business, profile photo shot
This colour and style suits Nicky beautifully

Tip #7 Think about what to wear

What colours suit you, what are your brand colours, what do you want people to think and feel when they see the photo?

Choose your outfit carefully, so it’s something you feel comfortable and confident in. Again, this is a chance to bring out some personality and give people a sense of what you are all about. It’s amazing, how many visual clues we take from what people are wearing.

Tip #8 Get a banner photo as well as ‘headshots’

Banner photos or cover photos are different to a normal ‘headshot’. They are much wider, horizontal shots which should have plenty of space around the person. They can be used on Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube and Google Business. Each channel requires a difference size for their banner photos, so take a variety with space around you and then you can crop them to the right size as you need. You can also use these photos with ‘space’ to create graphics in Canva.

Woman in business smiling at the camera, outside, for a beautiful social media cover shot
Create banner shots with space around for great cover photos in social media platforms

Tip #9 Take a LOT of photos!

Photographers take a lot of photos and spend time on the details in a photoshoot to make sure everything is lined up for that perfect profile picture! We look at the light, the background, what you are wearing, how to stand or sit and so much more.

So give yourself plenty time to take a variety of photos, stay calm and focus on the end goal! Don’t expect to get the perfect shot first time, and don’t be discouraged if you need to take 10 or 20 photos to get one you love.

Try different angles and compositions, vary the background, and think about where the light is coming from and change things slightly to get the most flattering look.

This will also mean you will hopefully end up with a handful of photos that you can use across different posts, marketing materials and your website. And you will also have one to re-fresh your profile photo in the future.

Try different angles and compositions to find the most flattering one

Tip #10 Use a high-quality camera and use a professional photographer if you can

And not just because I am biased! As you can see from everything you have read in this article, there’s more to getting a decent profile photo than just taking a quick snap!

As a professional brand photographer, I can help you to think about all of the above, find a great location, bring out your brand and your personality and use the light to create a variety of photos, including headshots, banner shots and business brand shots, bursting with YOU-NESS ready for your social media profiles!


And finally

As with lots of things when you run your own business - it’s all about the mindset! If you spend time telling yourself you take a bad photo or your hate having your photo taken, it will hold you back from showing your business in the best light.

That's why I love to help my clients to take a calming breath and think about what you want your photos to convey and how they can help your business, so that you can feel more relaxed. Then we can have fun capturing the spark in your eye for what you love and give you that profile with personality you deserve!

I hope you have found these tips useful to think about how to take the perfect profile photo for your LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and website about me page.

Check out my 'Profiles with Personality’ Mini Headshot Days if you'd love some help getting your perfect profile photo!

And for more tips, join my News Flash mailing list.

Hope to see you soon

Claire with the Camera

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