Nine top tips to taking the perfect profile photo

If you hate having your photo taken, chances are your social media features countless pics of your horses, and very few of you. However, YOU are your brand, so it’s important you have at least one good photo of yourself – especially if you hope to get sponsorship. And no, a snap of you on holiday back in the 80s doesn’t count.

Your profile photo is your public image and first impressions are important, so it pays to get it right. The photo needs to present you and your personal brand in the very best light (pun intended).

You don’t need to use a professional camera to take a great photo – you don’t even need to use a camera. Smart phones can take great photographs, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you get the best shot. Here are our top tips:

  1. Don’t take a selfie

Selfies don’t look professional – and yes, we can tell if you have taken it yourself.

Ask a friend or colleague to take it for you, as they can direct you and make sure you get the best, natural pose.

Also, did you know the front (selfie) camera on most phones produce a lower-quality image than the rear camera? It may also produce a mirror image, which can cause any words or logos to appear backwards, which won’t do your brand any favours.

  1. Use brand colours

Speaking of branding, if you have brand colours, or a logo try to include them in the photo. This doesn’t mean putting on a baseball cap with your name emblazoned on the front, but a polo shirt, in your company colours will tie in nicely with your website and help promote your brand.

  1. Make sure it looks like you

This might sound obvious, but there are a lot of people online who look nothing like their photo. And we’re not just talking about online dating.

We understand you want to look your best on social media, but your profile picture should reflect how you really look. If you set up a meeting with a potential sponsor, or new owner, and they don’t recognise you from your photo, it might make them question your credibility.

It’s ok to apply some make-up to make sure you look your best, but avoid filters – especially those on snapchat!

  1. Fill the frame

Using a photo of you on a horse works for some social media situations, but it’s not ideal for your profile photo.

You should aim to have your face filling about 60% of the space. Crop the picture from the top of your shoulders to just above your head so that your face fills the frame – and don’t chop the top of your head off!

  1. Don’t use blurry photos

The first and easiest thing you can do is avoid using any photos that are blurry. Having your face, especially your eyes, in pin-sharp focus will immediately draw people’s attention to your photos – for all the right reasons.

  1. Do use a blurry background

Many professional photographers use a shallow depth of field when taking portraits, which gives a blurred background. This is great for emphasising the portrait subject, and really makes you stand out.

You can use the ‘portrait’ function on new iPhones to replicate this pro look. The camera automatically focuses on the face of the subject and blurs out the background, for a beautiful portrait shot.

  1. Use natural light

Unless you are using a professional photographer, using the flash on your phone creates an unflattering light on the face, and it can also cause dreaded red-eye.

To get well-lit photos your best bet is to head outdoors. Natural light is really flattering, but avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause shadows. Or, if the light is directly in your face it will wash you out, and have you squinting into the lens. On a sunny day, use a bright, but shaded spot. The most flattering light is at ‘golden hour’, just after sunrise or before sunset, when the light is redder and softer, and at its most flattering.

  1. Keep it clean

The main focus of the photo needs to be you, not the messy tack room behind you (not that we are suggesting your tack room is messy!). A nice clean background will make sure the focus is your face. You don’t have to choose a plain, white background – standing in front of a painted wall, or a pretty setting, such as trees or a field, can create a nice atmosphere without stealing the show.

You should also make sure there are no objects behind you, such as a lamppost, which look like they are growing out of your head!

  1. Smile!

A fixed grimace isn’t the best look for your profile photo, so try to relax and let a smile come naturally. If that doesn’t work, get the person taking the photo to make you laugh. Tell a bad joke, share a secret, or tickle you! Anything to get you smiling. After all, everyone wants to be with happy people so make sure your portrait radiates happiness.


For more great advice on making an impact with your marketing get in touch to find out how we can help.

Image credit: from Pexels