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Profile picture ideas: Wow effect for perfect profile pictures

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The profile picture says more about a person than many are aware of: which section was chosen? Which clothes? How does the person portray himself? Is she smiling - or is she trying to present herself with a thinking pose? "We cannot not communicate," recognized Paul Watzlawick. And so our profile picture talks and tells a lot on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or Xing and consciously or unconsciously conveys sympathy, trust, competence - or not to the viewer. It would therefore be negligent not to use this effect or to leave it to chance. So that your profile picture achieves the best effects, we explain what your perfect profile picture should look like and what you should pay attention to ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Profile pictures: Attention sub-messages!

Pictures have their own language. What can be seen in the picture does not have to be so important - the sub-message of a profile picture can also reveal a lot to the viewer - for example:

  • Which section did you choose?
    Does the photo show you all or only a small section? Maybe just your chocolate side too? Some viewers could (of course not have to) get the impression that you have something to hide.
  • At what angle does the profile picture show you?
    A straight front view always looks a bit static, but also stable. With an oblique escape, on the other hand, the dynamism increases, but also the playfulness. Ascending (line from bottom left to top right) is always better than descending. Too much of it though - and you look pretty confused.
  • Is the photo taken yourself, by a friend or a professional?
    Sure, we're talking about social media here and not an application photo, as selfies and friends' snapshots can also be used. Nevertheless, such an image speaks: The “selfie” says a lot about one's own and desired image; the professional photo, on the other hand, speaks a lot about the willingness to invest in one's image.
  • Will you show the profile picture in a group or alone?
    Usually the individual portraits predominate. That makes sense with a profile picture. But some also show up with your partner or friends - which in turn subtly says a lot about the importance of this relationship and relationships in general.

Profile picture tips: How to take the perfect photo

As you can see, a picture is actually worth a thousand words. But what does the perfect profile picture look like? The operators of the photo evaluation tool PhotoFeeler recently dealt with this question. The tool offers the possibility to have your own profile photo rated and to rate profile photos of others yourself. Something like: “Am I sexy or not?” The operators finally evaluated the data from 800 profile photos and around 60,000 reviews and derived characteristics for the perfect profile photo from this. Result: Optimal profile pictures follow a few simple but effective rules - these ...

1. Select the correct section of the picture

A profile photo that was taken too close makes you unappealing. A picture that shows you as a whole also has a negative effect on the perceived competence. It is best to choose a section of the picture that is upside down and a little off the shoulders.

2. Smile while showing your teeth

Smiling people come across as sympathetic straight away. A natural smile, in which you have opened your mouth slightly and showing your teeth, also makes you appear more competent. If you laugh heartily on your profile photo, this increases your liking, but at the same time decreases the perceived competence.

3. Squint your eyes slightly

Wide open eyes can quickly appear frightened or frightened. Slightly narrowed eyes immediately give a more self-confident impression on profile pictures. In particular, you should lift the lower eyelids slightly.

4. Turn your head to the side on the profile picture.

With an oblique posture, the jaw and chin are emphasized and more clearly visible. Make sure that this area is underlined with a minimal shadow.

5. Wear formal clothing.

The survey confirms the saying “clothes make the man”. As a man, if you wear a dark jacket over a light shirt, the viewer will consider you more competent and influential. The same goes for women in business suits. Or you can choose a section where this cannot be seen.

6. Do not choose your profile picture yourself.

Many treat their own profile picture like a sanctuary: It is guarded, presented with pride and defended against criticism of all kinds. Let someone else choose the photo? Definitely no! This is absolutely out of the question for most of them. Error! If you believe the results of an American study, we don't have a keen eye for how we look in our photos.

In the studies, different profile pictures were compared with one another in the categories of attractiveness, trustworthiness, competence, dominance and self-confidence. However, half of the images were chosen by the test persons themselves, while the other half were decided by outsiders. The result was clear: if the images were selected themselves, the profiles were less well received - and that in all areas.

So the way we see ourselves very often does not match what others perceive. If we find ourselves particularly attractive, trustworthy or competently portrayed, this does not necessarily have to apply to others. Self-image and external image - they are sometimes colossal. So if you want to look better in your social media profiles and shine with your profile picture, you'd better ask a friend, partner or colleague which picture he or she should upload.

My profile picture: Great influence when looking for a job

Most should now differentiate - between business networks such as LinkedIn or Xing on the one hand and private social media profiles on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. The profile pictures are selected accordingly: Here the serious photo in a suit or costume, there more the leisure look with pictures from the beach or from vacation. That's not wrong. However, you shouldn't choose the profile pictures on Whatsapp, Facebook or Instagram very carelessly. Personnel decision-makers are now increasingly looking for applicant profiles on these channels - or do a so-called "cross check" here to compare how you present yourself there.

When researchers at the University of Ghent examined whether and how Facebook profile pictures affect job searches, they found that the influence is greater than expected. The first impression on the supposedly private channels can be decisive. After all, the profile picture remains there - despite the privacy settings - always visible. Although these are private profiles, the profile pictures can have a positive as well as a negative influence on the application chances.

Women in particular should choose their profile picture carefully. This is suggested, for example, by a study by Oregon State University. According to this, women who post too sexy or too revealing photos on their social media profiles are classified as less competent (sometimes even as "stupid"). Other studies also show: Emphasizing physical signals harms women when applying and at work: attractiveness arouses sympathy. But if the sexual stimuli dominate, then they outshine the impression of competence.

The perfect application photo

Even if the application photo does not have to have anything to do with the profile picture - quite a few invite and upload the same picture in business networks. Partly also on Facebook & Co. If you intend to do this - for example because you are currently applying - then please pay attention to a few basic rules for the perfect application image:

  • Always make sure there is good lighting when taking pictures. It is essential to avoid back light, direct emitters (make cast shadows) and annoying reflections.
  • Make sure you have a subtle background that matches you and your clothes in terms of color. A choppy background is distracting.
  • Avoid all clothing with motifs or words. Such decorations only disturb and do not look professional in this context.
  • Post-processing is allowed - in moderation (!). A little more light and contrast here and there is perfectly fine. But don't let the pounds or wrinkles go away.
  • Use only a recent application photo. Pictures that look different than you do today are taboo.

And very important: Application photos are usually taken in portrait format - profile pictures are, however, square in most social networks. Make sure you choose an optimal section, not just the center of the picture. Sometimes it can even be more attractive to only select part of the original image. The prerequisite for this is, of course, that the original photo is large enough.

Change profile picture: Instructions for Whatsapp & Co.

Some change their profile pictures regularly. As soon as a new photo is taken, it is uploaded as a profile picture on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp. That makes for variety, but it can also annoy friends and fans quite a bit. Some may even see it as an expression of narcissistic traits. Nevertheless, take an example from it - at least in moderation! A little change makes the profile exciting and up-to-date. In addition, exchanging the profile picture is child's play. If you are still unsure: The following small instructions show you step by step how you can change your profile picture on different platforms:

Change profile picture on Facebook

Just a few clicks are enough to change your profile picture on Facebook. First of all, you need to go to your own profile. Simply click on your name in the menu at the top of the page. In the mobile app, you can access your profile page via the “Hamburger” menu (symbol with the three horizontal lines one above the other). Once there, your current profile picture will be displayed. "Update profile picture" appears on the computer when you move the mouse over it. Mobile you can simply click on the picture to change it. You can use your smartphone to take a new profile picture, upload a profile picture or select a new profile picture from suggestions made by Facebook.

Change profile picture on Instagram

Here, too, first go to your mobile profile (symbol with your photo at the bottom right). Then click on the button at the top right: "Edit profile". Now you can change the profile picture - take a new one, choose one from your phone or even import it from Facebook or Twitter.

Change profile picture on Whatsapp

If you want to change your profile picture on Whatsapp, you can access your personal profile via the menu item "Settings" in the app. After you have opened your profile, you will come to a page with which you can both update your profile picture and enter a status. Simply click on "Edit", upload a new profile picture or take a new picture with the camera of your smartphone, which should be displayed in your profile from now on.

Change profile picture on Xing

Do you also want to present yourself in the best possible way with your profile picture in the Xing business network and upload a current photo of yourself? No problem: The exchange also takes place via your profile, which you can reach by clicking on your picture or name in the menu at the top left. Your profile appears on the following page and the option “Edit business card” appears on the right. The following page gives you the opportunity to change your profile picture and update further information about yourself.

Profile picture ideas: Tips for motifs

A portrait is the classic for a profile picture, but for some it is too boring. So many are looking for profile picture ideas when their own ingenuity reaches its limits. Such creative images are particularly recommended for WhatsApp or other exclusively private uses. To give your creativity a little boost, we have a few tips for profile picture ideas:

  • Play with facial expressions
    If the profile picture is to be different, it doesn't have to be the same friendly smile over and over again. This has a particularly positive effect, but you can play with many different facial expressions. Just try out how the facial expressions look in the picture and what you like. For example, ask yourself what you want to say with the profile picture and adapt your expression accordingly.
  • Rotate the picture
    Small trick, big effect. Simply turn the profile picture upside down or on its side. Suddenly the picture looks completely different and a previously simple and perhaps a bit boring photo becomes a new profile picture idea.
  • Try colors and filters
    There are many programs and apps that you can use to edit pictures for free. Don't let this chance go by, try different color settings and filters. Numerous profile picture ideas can be implemented by changing colors, editing black and white photos or using different filters.
  • Take a group picture
    Are you a sociable person, have lots of friends and enjoy spending time with them? Then take a profile picture together. If the picture is only used privately anyway, it doesn't matter that outsiders may not immediately see who you are in the picture. The focus here is the community and the symbol of how important friends are to you.

VLNR effect: Always stand on the right in group pictures!

If you happen to have the opportunity to pose for a press photo, a group picture or other public pictures and to be photographed in a group of two or more people: Always stand as the last person - and be sure to stand on the far right of the others the photo! This is a trick that will instantly give you more status. Why should this be a trick? Very simple: Because you will then be the first person on the left in the photo and will usually be seen first. The second and even more important reason for press photos: Captions are usually written "from left to right" (from left to right). The result: Your name appears first like this: "[Your name] together with Bla bla bla (from left to right)."

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[Photo Credit: Cookie Studio by Shutterstock.com]