Creating Profile ImagesLet’s talk profile pictures! To many times we all see that profile picture that has the grey silhouette image of head and shoulders.  If you want to collect more followers, create new fans and build more trust, you must have an image on your profile!

Don’t be the mystery man! There are a few fantastic sites that are easy to use  and some things you should keep mind before your begin.

When creating your images for profile sites, here are a few types and rules of thumb that you can go by.

The Creative Profile Image

We have all likely seen some very creative profile pictures. You may have seen them on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and the like. You can create some fancy profile images easily on several sites online and use them where you feel appropriate. Keep in mind though, that any image you use will be a “first impression” and a reflection of you. Where creativity for profile pictures apply, have fun and use them.

These sites will allow you to create some pretty creative and impressive effects.

The Professional Profile Image

You may be required to post a more “professional” profile image of the head and shoulder variety. Social sites that are B2B (Business to Business), like Linkedin are social sites you would want one of these. Some article sites will not allow logos or “creative” images and require a head and shoulders image or they will simply remove it.

You will want to look real, human, and approachable. The photo must be of very good quality as it is the first and most important impression you will make on the internet.

Shoot a sharp picture, or sharpen it using a photo shop program if you have one. A good quality digital camera is essential. If you don’t have one, borrow one or ask a friend that has one if he or she will shoot a profile picture of you. Pay attention to the lighting to reduce back-light shadows and it will help your image to be sharp and clear.

Once you have a great photo, post it in your profile and leave it there. There is a tendency to change profile pictures, sometimes often, but that’s not the best way to be noticed. Stick with the first and best one you have, as people will be looking for your picture as they know it. Changing it just confuses the issue and makes it necessary for people to keep readjusting to your new look. Consistency is what you will be seeking. Think of your photo as your logo or brand. You want to be easily and quickly recognized.

The Logo Profile Image

Your company or business logo can also be used on several sites. A business profile on Linkedin or on Facebook is a great place to start branding your image.

No matter what site you post your profile to, your profile picture should reflect a professional, yet upbeat and friendly image.

Every social network site seems to have its own formatting rules for pictures. Check to see what those rules are before you shoot and edit the photo. Find out what picture dimensions work best. The dimensions will count, as will the file size. Most have a maximum size that can be uploaded. If it’s too big you’ll have to go back and change the size of the file, then try again. Save time and frustration by knowing the details when you edit the picture.

A Rule of Thumb for Image Profile Image Sizes

Your best to have saved several different sizes of your profile image on your hard drive that are easy to find. The one most commonly used however will be a square. Save a  400px x 400px and you will be pretty safe with that. Most, if not 99% of the newer sites that allow a profile picture will allow you to crop it. This way if the site requires a rectangle profile image, you can crop it accordingly.

Most sites will also compress a 400px x 400px image to the appropriate size. After you upload your image and it is not the size you like or needs to be, follow these tips below to help choose the perfect size for your profile pics.

Viewing Image Info in Firefox BrowserAn easy way to tell what image size works in each of the social sites is by using the Firefox browser. While in Firefox, find an example image in the social site you want to create a profile in. Right click on the image and you’ll find ‘view image info’ in the menu. Click there and you’ll find the dimensions and file size of the photo. If it seems to be a good fit for that site, you can create your image in the same dimensions.

Happy profile image creating!

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