Every few weeks I get a new Facebook friend request from some long-lost high school acquaintance, a few of whom I barely recognize. It could be because high school was, um, more than 30 years ago, but sometimes their profile photos just don't do them justice. Face it, you can't go through life these days without the best Facebook profile photo!
Since your Facebook timeline cover and profile pics are the first things people see, make a good impression with a lovely photo that has your friends saying, "Wow, she looks amazing even after all these years."
I asked NYC-based Fashion and Celebrity Photographer, David Zanes, for some Facebook profile photo tips from a pro. "If you have features you are proud of, show them off - tastefully. Bright teeth? Big smile. Great hair? Make it a feature. Cleavage? Well, you know what I mean," says Zanes.
Consider your wardrobe, too. Look up-to-date by wearing the latest colors. For 2012, the Color of the Year from Pantone is Tangerine Tango. Not everyone looks amazing in bright orange, but you can certainly find some shade of orange or red that suits your coloring and style. In fact, if you're single and available, wearing red might just give you an advantage in your Facebook profile photo.
Through five psychological experiments, Andrew Elliot, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, and Daniela Niesta, post-doctoral researcher, demonstrate that the color red makes men feel more amorous toward women and the men don't even realize it!
"Much is known about color physics and color physiology, but very little about color psychology," said Elliot. "We typically think of color in terms of beauty and aesthetics. But color carries meaning as well and affects our perception and behavior in important ways without our awareness."
Or, try a shade of blue, which is said to inspire trust. In fact, that's where the saying "true-blue" originates. Dictionary.com's definition of "true-blue" as an adjective is, "Unwaveringly loyal or faithful."
Here are more of Zanes' tips for achieving a great Facebook profile photo that you'll be excited to post:
- Hire a professional or ask a trusted friend you're not shy with to help. You will want to explore different ideas and expressions without judgement. Don't have other friends watching.
- Have the pic taken from above as this angle helps stretch out the skin and muscles for a more youthful look.
- Go for soft lighting. If you have a net curtain or gauze that you can put in front of the light or window, the light will be lovely and muted.
- Keep the makeup on the natural side. Focus on bringing out your eyes and look directly into the lens. Remember to wear an expression that conveys the message you want to send. Stay relaxed.
- Once you find an angle you like, try looking away from camera and quickly glancing back. Repeat this a few times and have a "look" ready when you face the lens.
- Crop the photo fairly close – you don't want a ton of headroom in the photo. Let your friends see you and not be distracted by what else is going on in the room.