How Can I Improve My Profile Image?

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Your profile page is the first thing employers see when considering you for a job, and your profile picture is a big part of it. Using your real face rather than a logo or graphic lets them know that they are dealing with a real person and not a stranger.

A great profile picture provides an excellent opportunity to increase your chances of being selected for a highly desired project in a sea of exceedingly skilled freelancers. We’ve put together a few tips for freelancers looking to tweak their profiles and improve the quality of their profiles. To do this, we identified some qualities that all good profile pictures possess, with the aim of fitting you with some top-level opportunities.

The Friendly Face

How Can I Improve My Profile Image? - Image 1

This profile has a number of features that we think are a must-have for all freelancers looking to increase their earning potential and establish trust and recognition. We’ve noticed that freelancers with outstanding profiles tend to do these things:

1. Face the camera. It makes you look open and honest.

2. Wear business attire! While this is not fundamental, it certainly helps to develop your professional image. If you don’t typically wear business attire while you work, make sure your clothes are crisp.

3. Remember to smile. People like seeing a friendly face.

The Professional Look

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Professional-looking photos don’t have to be taken by a professional. It’s super easy to shoot one with no more than natural light and a standard lens. For an even more professional image, you can use a silver reflector to conceal facial shadows, and much, much more.

The reality is, amazing profile pictures have many things in common. We think the photo above is very effective, and this is why:

1. This photo was taken during the daytime with adequate natural light available. Fluorescent lights are not ideal for profile pictures.

2. The focus of the photograph is on the individual, not a distant figure in the background.

3. The camera lens is directly facing the subject. If there is a tilt, the lens should be facing slightly down to avoid awkward positioning.

4. This is a high resolution image and there are no blurred lines where the focus of the camera is. The recommended resolution is at least 280x280 pixels.

5. The individual fits adequately inside the frame. There are no large areas of unoccupied space surrounding the person in the photograph. In the same vein, their face is not obscured by the frame because the camera is too close.

The Casual Vibe

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Once we have a good idea of what it is that makes a profile picture visually appealing, we can start to dress down slightly and even mix up the angle to create a casual but inviting profile picture. 

1. Ensure the camera is at a slight downward facing angle.

2. Start to introduce your own style while still keeping the basics outlined above.

3. Still ensure there is a good amount of natural light.

4. Position yourself against an interesting background.

5. Have a tidy appearance and a friendly disposition!

The Neutral Background

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When a natural background isn’t available, there is a way to achieve the same effect indoors. A simple, light-colored wall can serve as a good backdrop for your profile picture. The profile above shows how this can be done effectively, and was also captured with the lens tilting ever so slightly downwards.

Common Mistakes

Since it’s hard to know what not to include,  we’ve provided some prototypal examples:

The Hard Expression

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It’s important that the person in a profile picture looks as approachable and employable as possible. It makes a big difference when you’re not smiling or when your photo is too large. Not only is the majority of this individual’s face obscured by the frame, but it also seems as though he’s too close for comfort.

Poor Use of Space

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While we actively encourage creativity, a profile can still suffer when the basic principles outlined above are ignored. The profile above stands out because:

1. Space isn’t effectively utilized. The subject in this photo is situated to the far right, facing sideways.

2. Lighting is inadequate.

3. The angle compromises the subject’s approachability.

All Leisure

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An effective profile picture will show your eyes and face, and make good use of the space available in the frame. While the background is interesting, the subject is surrounded by a wide, cloudless stretch of blue. More importantly, this picture doesn’t make the subject look professional and ready for work.

These tips should help you come up with a profile picture that is inviting and creative, yet still professional-looking. Follow these and you’ll definitely come up with one that will kick your profile up a notch and get you more jobs.  


Posted 2 February, 2015


Blogger, Business Writing

I work at as a Quality Manager. Every day, I help freelancers learn about how they can engage employers. I help identify opportunities for freelancers. It often involves educating freelancers about our Preferred Freelancer Program and helping them set up top-notch profiles. I'm a cyclist and a customer experience enthusiast.

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