Tips to taking a great Profile photo

Published on: November 21, 2017

Your profile photo is your brand in the digital workplace. Profile photos are critical to the success of every digital workplace, as explained in our previous blog post.  In this post, I provide my top tips on how to take a perfect profile photo of yourself.

Tip 1 - Don't take it yourself

One of the biggest mistakes about profile photos, is taking the photo yourself. The angle of a selfie is not that flattering, unless you spend thousands of hours mastering it like Kim Kardashian or Christian Buckley. The camera on the front of smart phones is not as good quality as the camera on the back and it also typically doesn't have a flash. And car selfies, elevator mirror selfies or selfie sticks, sorry Dux Raymond Sy and Alistair Pugin, are no better; as these distort your face by reversing it. So make sure someone takes it using the back camera and frames you on the screen in the camera app perfectly.


Tip 2 - Head and shoulders only

Much like a passport photo has rules, so should a profile photo. Aligning the top of your head at top of the photo and the top of your shoulders near the bottom is important. It ensures that your face is nice and large where ever photos are displayed across Office 365 and your digital workplace. This'll also eliminate the risk of any wardrobe malfunctions, inclusions of your pets and children and also any hobbies you may have. I've blogged in the past where photos are shown in Office 365 and that list is only growing!

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Tip 3 - Lighting is important

As a photographer for a long time now (check out my profile), lighting is the key ingredient to a great photo. Natural lighting is the best way to get a great photo. Don't shoot into the sun, as the camera won't handle it too well. Shoot with the sun slightly off center on your face so that you are not squinting into the lens.


Tip 4 - Background is important

I've seen all sorts of odd backgrounds to profile photos. If you're going to go outside to take advantage of natural light, be sure to have a very plain background behind you. Let your face be the focal point of the photo. If you are in a flat location, leveraging the blue sky is perfect. If you are lucky enough to have offices on the lake, leveraging the water is another. Even a plain concrete wall can be ideal. Shooting with a full parking lot, a big crowd, or Starbucks behind you is not ideal. Forcing yourself to go outside also prevents using those awkward photos you like of yourself at parties, weddings, or restaurants you've cropped and used.


Tip 5 - Smile

Whoever is taking your photo, have a conversation with them. Get them to tell you some jokes or a funny story about their weekend. Make sure the person snaps at least forty shots of you in quick succession, so you can pick the one you like the most.


Tip 6 - Look right at the camera lens

You are not taking this photo for the cover of Time magazine, so looking directly into the camera lens is important. Often people look at the center of the smart phone...make sure you look directly into the lens on the back. Looking directy at the lens will also ensure that the camera doesn't show off too much of those double chins that we all unfortunately seem to have!

Tip 7 - Wear what you'd wear day to day 

Much like passport photos, wearing glasses or hats really doesn't help people identify you in the workplace if thats not what you wear every day at work. So no sunglasses, baseball caps, sun visors, or halloween makeup.


Tip 8 - No filters

Filters are for instagram only. It is not recommended to use filters at all as it is too obvious and gives off the wrong impression in the workplace. It can also really distort your photo and make you unrecognizable.


Tip 9 - Your digital workplace photo is not your social media profile

It shouldn't need to be stated, but we the evidence to prove otherwise. Remember, the photo you use for your digital workplace profile photo is not the same as your social media profile. It is not Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, or even Tinder. You are representing yourself as a paid employee of your company. Keep it formal and work safe! And if you don't believe me, check out these stories from my LinkedIn discussion.


I hope these tips help you to take a great photo. Remember, if you sign up for Hyperfish Lite, our service can collect all those missing Office 365 profile photos automatically.


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