Going down through the discovery section of Instagram, there is a good chance that you will find something that you are interested in. Perhaps it’s a picturesque sunset, or an influencer modeling jeans that you have been trying to find for a long time now. You click through to their profile and go through all of the photos on their feed.
Once you’ve done that, you scroll back up to the top of their profile, to have a look at their profile photo. You immediately get put off. Their profile photo is blurry and out of focus, and it is difficult to make out the context.
You thought that you had stumbled across a true influencer; someone who knows how to play the Instagram game well. However, the profile photo has ruined everything. It tells a different story to everything else you have looked at on their feed. It says that they aren’t really worried about personal branding, or how they are seen by other people. It says that they are not trying to network with other like-minded people in their industry.
Your profile picture on Instagram might not be the first impression you make on someone, but it is still an important one. A good profile picture has a certain X-Factor, which is why so many influencers out there are putting time and effort in when it comes to what their profile picture should look like. Instead of making you bored, a good profile picture is going to keep you engaged and interested in the profile.
Yes, your profile picture is limited to being pretty small, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t make it big in terms of impression. The thing about people on Instagram is that they have a lot of profiles to look through, so if they scroll through and see your profile picture, they are going to make a snap decision about whether they want to go further with your account or not.
This means that you could argue that your profile picture is the most important piece of content you are ever going to upload onto your Instagram profile. We are sure that you would like to make the most of it, and we want to help you do so.
With this thought in mind, let’s discuss what we think are the top 11 tips right now to make your Instagram profile picture stand out, and be better than anyone else’s.
Choose a Cool Outfit
The great thing about your profile picture is that if you are going to use an image of yourself in it, you can showcase your personality. Not only do you need to make sure that you pick something that is going to show off your personality, but you’ve also got to choose something that is in line with your personal branding, or brand.
The thing is that you’re not going to see a lot of your outfit but leaving a lasting impression on your audience means picking the right shirt, the right hairstyle, and the right look overall to fall in line with your chosen industry.
When it comes to what not to do, we suggest that you avoid wearing a hat, or sunglasses. Also, try not to be too sexy, or take a profile picture in your bathing suit.
Pick a Good Background
The thing about choosing a good profile picture is that it’s not just all about you, it’s about what’s behind you. If there is too much going on in the background of your profile picture, then this is going to distract your audience from the main subject.
Try to keep the background neutral and simple. And, if you are going to choose a busier background, try to use Portrait mode which you will find on iPhone, that will automatically place the focus on the main subject.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, like the example that you see below. If you have chosen a color for your background, just make sure the color doesn’t clash with what you’re wearing or create a weird hue across the image.
Find the Right Light
When it comes to taking a good profile picture, you’ve got to work out the best lighting. As a general rule, natural light is best, but you don’t want to put yourself in direct sunlight at lunchtime, because you will pick up on harsh shadows. Try to take your profile picture during golden hour, which is either right around sunrise, or sunset.
If you can’t avoid taking your picture around lunchtime, then try to take the photo inside, right by a window, or outside, but in the shade. And, unless you are a professional, try to avoid flash, and backlights.
Show off Your Face
If you are just trying to use your Instagram to share personal images with friends and family, and you don’t have any aspirations of becoming an influencer, then you can make your profile picture whatever you want. However, if you are trying to become an influencer, then you need to show your face in the picture.
Why? Because you are completely unique. Unless you have an identical twin, nobody looks quite like you, which makes your face the biggest point of difference when comparing your profile to others.
Yes, you might want to put your cute puppy in the picture, but the thing about puppies is that there are millions of them already out there, and it’s tough for people to differentiate between them. The bottom line with this tip is that people are going to resonate better with a human face over an animal’s.
So, make sure that you crack a smile, and show your teeth, but try not to overdo it. If you try to look too happy, you could lose a bit of your authority, and be seen as trying too hard. Also, try to squint a little bit without closing your eyes completely. If your eyes are too wide, you could come across as intimidating, or too intense.
Just like the other tips that we have talked about already, there is an exception to this rule, and that is that if you are trying to promote your brand on Instagram, you can use your brand’s logo as your profile picture. You can even combine the two and take a picture of yourself standing in front of it.
Be Professional About Showing Your Face
We want to just focus a little bit more on the face aspect of your profile picture, because it is definitely one of the most important. Yes, it is easy to be goofy and funny when you are taking a picture of yourself, but in this case, if you want to be taken seriously, and increase your authority on Instagram, then you need to take a photo of your face like a professional. It is a balancing act, though, because you don’t want to come across as stuffy either.
So, professional means up-to-date, styled, and clear. If you can afford to hire a professional to take headshots, this is ideal. If you can’t, then try to dress as if you are showing up to an important meeting and find a location that resonates closely with the ethos of your brand.
Make it Personal
Remember, your profile picture and Instagram profile are all about you. This is why it is important to accurately represent yourself and make it personal and unique. Remember to make it cool, without trying too hard.
You shouldn’t go out of your way to try and be different from everyone else, but you also need to make sure that you aren’t afraid to be yourself because of what other people might think. Even if you are using Instagram for your brand, customers are going to want to deal with a real person, someone who they can relate to, who is going to have quirks and interests just like them.
Don’t forget that you can also customize your photo with your surroundings. For example, if you are a public speaker, you can get someone to take a picture of you next time you are speaking to a crowd of people at the podium.
Keep Your Profile Picture Evergreen
When it comes to Instagram, people are constantly updating their Instagram stories in their feed to show their audience the latest when it comes to their lives. However, this doesn’t have to be the case when it comes to your profile photo. If you use a profile photo that is somehow related to a certain season or time, then it’s going to quickly become outdated.
This means that your profile image is either going to be ignored after that season, or you are going to have to go through the process of creating another one. The example that we show below shows someone who has come up with a great profile picture idea that isn’t bound to any timeframe.
Get as Close as You Can
Your profile picture on Instagram is super tiny, and you can’t click on it to make it bigger. This means that it’s going to stay this small for everybody who is going to see it. If you choose an image of you that is far away, then nobody is going to be able to make you out.
Instead, choose a headshot that is going to show your head and a bit of your shoulders, and you can also go down to your waist. However, we don’t suggest that you get any farther away than this. Instagram automatically crops your image to be round, and it needs to be at least 110×110 in terms of pixels.
There are a lot of profile picture makers out there that can help you crop your photo, so that it fits perfectly within Instagram’s dimensions.
Don’t Overdo the Editing
There is nothing wrong with applying a bit of editing to your profile picture – just try not to overdo it. Even professional photographers like to edit their images a little bit before they post them online.
If you plan on putting a filter over your image, try not to be too intense about it. Remember, you want to come across as relatable and approachable with your audience, and this isn’t going to happen if you put a strong filter over your photo.
Test Your Image Out
So, you think that you have almost found the ideal image for your profile picture, so all that’s left to do is to test it out. You can test it out by putting it on your Instagram story, or posting it to your Instagram feed, and including a poll for your viewers to respond to.
This is going to help you figure out whether it is the right profile picture for you to use or not.
Add it to Your Profile
Now all that’s left for you to do is to add your image to your profile. When you sign into your Instagram app, it will be really clear and easy how to add your profile picture. Once you’ve included your new Instagram profile photo, leave it up for a little bit.
You don’t want to be changing your profile photo all the time, because you want it to become synonymous with you brand, and recognizable. You want people to associate it with your brand or Instagram feed when they see it.
So, there is everything we think you need to know about your profile picture for Instagram right now. Standing out and making an impression with your audience isn’t easy, but if you follow tips like the ones above, you definitely increase your chances of winning people over.
Remember, you’ve only got a couple of seconds every time to convince someone to visit your Instagram profile, so make the most of these couple of seconds, and put a little bit of time and effort into perfecting your profile picture. Good luck!