Does Your Social Media Profile Pic Send The Wrong Message? Top 10 Headshot Tips For Professionals…

People make judgments about you within the first 3 seconds of meeting you. Clearly, looking great is important… Right or wrong, how you are perceived visually is just as important as what you can do – at least at first.

And these days – with so much business conducted online – prospective clients and employers are likely to Google you before they ever meet you in person!

FB,  Linkded IN TwitterSimply put, online pictures and profiles are the new “first impression.”

And though no one should be “all business all the time,” keep in mind that people are increasingly using Facebook and social media to check you out in business.

Are you sending the wrong message? When people Google you, “friend” you or “connect” with you online, does what they see represent you well?

If not, consider getting a professional headshot.

All experts have professional portraits, and the best head shots make it clear who they are and what they do. And by the way, just because a photo is professional, doesn’t mean it has to be cheesy, fake or boring!

Here are 10 ways to ensure you have a GREAT online profile image.

1. Quality. Use a professional photographer. Anyone can grab a camera and take some snapshots, but when you use a professional, it shows.

2. Don’t edit while shooting, edit once you’re done. Example: I use Sharpies in my workshops to release creative thinking and my purse is always full of at least a handful of colors. So during my photo shoot I just pulled them out and played around. There were about 100 bad pictures, and one magical one.

When you do a photo shoot, be open-minded, try everything. You can always trash the photos later. The creative process and the editing process are opposites, don’t confuse them! One requires open-mindedness, the other critical thinking.



3. Use a current photo.

A photo that looks old screams “stuck in the past.” Not only is it unprofessional, but you’re missing the opportunity to keep your brand as current and as relevant as you are.

Even if you were more “beautiful” 10 years ago, chances are these last 10 years have given you experience, character and depth. Don’t hide that.


4. The right pose says it all.

Your pose should be right for your brand. No generic, cheezy glamour shots! Your picture should reflect who you are and, if possible, what you do.

If you’re a woman, consider avoiding the ever-popular “head tilt.” It’s a “little girl” pose that can diminish your credibility. See below…

head tilt  2Head tilt 1head tilt 3

Marla Acosta

5. Eye contact. While some situations/personal brands require something different, by and large, making eye contact engenders trust. And we all know trust is the basis of every relationship – business or otherwise.

6. Use a variety of shots in different places – but keep them looking consistent. One idea: take lots of pictures in the same outfit in several different poses. Afterward, pull a handful of images: close-up, medium and full body. You can even use the same photo cropped several ways.

7. Be professional. If you’re looking for a job, or are self-employed, your online pics should be professional and align with your brand.

Why? Because it’s likely the first image that many people will ever see of you. If you’re using a crop of yourself at the beach, or a picture of you kissing your mate, you may be sending the wrong message.

Russell Jacobs

8. Notwithstanding the above, be authentic and show personality! Just because you’re getting a professional headshot, doesn’t mean that the photo has to be generic, stiff or boring.

9. Try to capture what you do somehow – perhaps use a prop or props (but be careful you don’t cross the line into “cheez” territory…)

In fact, whether your brand is “Earth Mother,” “Badass Exec,” “Girl-Next-Door Entrepreneur,” “Marketing Queen,” “Trustworthy Financial Planner,” “Kooky Artist” or something completely different, a portrait can and should project your unique brand.

10. Retouch (and crop).

Take a look at these before & after, below. What a difference!!

original  headshot  unretouchednew sharpies headshot


Not sure if your pictures are quite right? Ask a trusted friend to tell you honestly – and don’t get defensive if you don’t like her feedback!


If you do nothing else, right now, at the very least make sure that your profile images are attractive and represent your unique brand. And if you decide that they don’t, and you’re not sure what to do about it, consider our Headshot Workshop.

Ciao for now!

Michelle Villalobos (veeyalowbos)

3 thoughts on “Does Your Social Media Profile Pic Send The Wrong Message? Top 10 Headshot Tips For Professionals…

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