Today almost everybody has a profile picture they use for in social media both formally and informally. While the kind of profile picture that you might use professionally on sites such as LinkedIn is likely to be different from one you might use on less formal social media, they have one thing in common: they have just one tenth of a second to make an impression.
Extensive research has shown that we form an impression of a person from viewing their profile picture for just that tiny fraction of a second. Which is why having the perfect profile picture really is important. Of course there are things that we can’t control, for instance our age, our physical traits and our gender, but there are many things that we can, and our professional photographers are highly skilled at doing so.
Not only do we have just a fleeting moment to make an impression, the impression we make is highly consistent. People view the same profile picture in similar ways. For instance, different people viewing a specific profile picture will assign similar scores for perceived characteristics such as competence, likeability and influence. Essentially, as far as profile pictures are concerned, beauty is not in the mind of the beholder, it is in the quality of the picture.
Important elements of profile pictures include the eyes, the expression, the smile, the definition of the jawline, the pose, the style of dress, the lighting, and retouching. All these elements must be blended together to create the perfect shot. It takes training and experience to create a profile picture that will impress and get your message across.