Today, your online personal brand has never been more important.

Whether you’re interviewing for a new job or you’re a business/HR recruiter reaching out to candidates, your digital profile needs to exceed any expectations and create a “wow” first impression.

Besides setting up an engaging bio, a killer professional profile picture is essential. Here are my top tips to make sure that your profile picture sets you up for success.

  • Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Tip 1: Choose Your Social Media Profiles Wisely

Here are the top social media profiles you likely already have.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • YouTube
  • Twitter (Rebranded as X)
  • LinkedIn
  • Threads (New, Meta-Owned)

Now, it’s important to decide which social media profile you’re presenting as a professional brand of yours and which social media outlets are for personal use. 

If you’re not sure where to start, generally, having a Twitter (now known as X) and LinkedIn profile are good places to start.

Tip 2: Make Any Personal Social Media Profiles Private

This is such an easy mistake that I see people make all of the time. If you have personal social accounts like Instagram or Facebook, 90% of the time, you should be making this private to only your friends or followers.

You don’t want future clients or employers to have access to your Instagram story showing you partying at a club on the weekend.

So make these profiles private.

Typically this means TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram (but not always).

Tip 3: Make Your Personal Social Media Profile Pictures Appropriate

While making your socials private will stop them from checking your stories and uploads, don’t forget that when they look you up, they will see your profile pic in just a few clicks. 

So while these profile photos do not necessarily need to be professional, make sure the picture isn’t something you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. 

This one is really up to your discretion.

I’ve had a photo with my husband and kids and I in swimsuits on the beach, and I don’t have a problem with that. But not everyone may be comfortable with this if they’re on a job hunt, so make that decision for yourself.

Tip 4: How To Take the Perfect Professional Profile Photos

Okay, let’s say you don’t have a good profile picture, and you want a brand-new photo.

You have two options for this:

Option 1: Use an AI Headshot Generator

This is a relatively new option and one that I personally used recently when I needed a profile photo that I could use across my business socials.

How It Works:

  1. Choose an AI Headshot Generator company. I’ve personally tested all of them out here, which can see how my AI headshots turned out. Aragon is a cool one to check out.
  2. Upload 8-10 images of yourself. It’s best to use photos that you like with the best angle, natural lighting and has only you within the photo.
  3. Wait up to 24 hours for the software to do its magic and generate hundreds of profile picture templates.
  4. Choose your best photo.

Here’s an example of my AI headshot:

Keep in mind many of the photos won’t turn out great, and the goal is just to find one or two that looks like you. Here’s who I think AI headshots are great for:

  • Save money. These costs, on average, around $30-70 bucks (some even have a professional touch them up after the AI editing tools do their thing). This is much cheaper than the hundreds of dollars you’ll spend on a professional.
  • You’re not “Camera” Ready (Pregnancy, for example): A few years ago, I had a professional photo taken as I was a pharmacist for a new clinic. But I was so upset about it because I was 34 weeks pregnant, and you can imagine my face and body were literally blown up like a balloon. I hated all of the profile pictures they had snapped and had to ask them to get redone a year later. If AI images were around before that, I wouldn’t have had to spend a year in embarrassment.
  • You Need A Photo Quickly: Did you just send out a few resumes and forgot your Linkedin Profile picture was ten years old? Get these photos in a day rather than wait to schedule and have images professionally edited.

Option 2: Use a Professional Photographer

Without a doubt, these are going to be the highest-quality photos and real photos of yourself. While AI can mimic a professional headshot, there’s no substitute for the real thing.

When looking to schedule a professional photographer, here are some tips:

  • Plan 2-3 different outfits so that you can take several shots in different outfits. You’re paying for that photographer’s time, so you want to get as much out of it as you can.
  • Be sure to choose a different background for your photos. And no, I’m not talking about those ridiculous 90s backgrounds in different shades of green and blue. A good professional photo will have not just a professional backgrounds, but will shoot at unique locations that aren’t so cookie-cutter.
  • Make it more engaging and personal. Social media channels are different. We use these as a way to create new connections, and you want a photo that represents yourself. So if you’re feeling creative and own a flower shop, it should include you arranging flowers. Make it more fun; it will leave a better lasting impression.
  • Position yourself at different angles. This holds true whether you’re posing for a Facebook profile picture or a LinkedIn profile picture. Make sure the image still looks like you, and don’t be afraid to smile.

Tip 5: Choose a Photo That Reflects What You Actually Look Like

This gives me such a laugh when someone has uploaded an image that looks nothing like them.

We all have our own insecurities. What’s important is that you feel your best self, put your best foot forward, and bring that confidence to the photo! Or just fake it ’til you make it.

Tip 6: Editing & Cropping the Imaging

So, now you’ve selected one or two professional profile pictures you would like to use; now, it’s just a question of editing and cropping.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Whether you’re uploading a profile picture to LinkedIn or to boost your Facebook networking skills, be sure that you crop the photo to show your face and head or can go a little bit below your shoulders. Remember, the image will appear very small, so your face should be the focal point within the profile frame.
  • Be sure to use a high-quality image. Download the photograph directly, don’t screenshot it. Otherwise, you’ll lose some quality.
  • Don’t over-filter or edit it. You want the photo to look natural.

Tip 7: Update Your Profile Regularly

This one is something that most of us forget to do (guilty!). As much as we all don’t like it, we age and mature. So if you’re 40 and you’re posting a photo when you’re 32, it’s probably not going to be the most accurate portrayal of what you look like today.

Own any signs of maturing; it’s a privilege to have another year on Earth.

If you’re looking to professionalize your social media, I hope this information was helpful and gave you some tidbits you may not have thought of yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I Use a Professional Profile Picture?

If you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, or simply looking for employment, then you definitely want to be sure that your digital brand is professional and portrays the impression you’re looking for.

What Should Your Business Profile Picture Be?

This one is a bit tricky, but oftentimes people will use their logo to increase brand visibility. You can get creative with this and make it a product photo with your logo on it to also showcase what you’re selling.

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