How to take the best profile picture possible

You might think your profile picture is great – and we’re sure it is – but is it the best profile picture you could possibly take? While that may sound like a rhetorical question, it does in fact have an answer: no. A good primary profile picture is one of the most important things to get right when looking for love online. A profile picture is like a first impression; the viewer should get a nice snapshot of who you are, what your personality is like, and even what you are interested in. So here is our guide for taking that the very best profile picture:

  • Lighting
    Yes, you might have skipped across Europe and straddled the Grand Canyon, but for the best profile picture it’s better to worry about the light rather than the setting. Choose a soft light where the shadows blend gently from light to dark, rather than a harsh downward light where the contrast between shadows is harsher. Have you ever seen a photo shoot where photographers use those big silver or white sheets? Those are called diffusers and their sole purpose is to disperse the light more gently across the subject.

    The best place to find softer light is outside on the gable end of your house where there is no direct light.

    Some house lights also offer a softer, more diffused light thanks to either their construction or the lampshade used. These will also suffice if you don’t have access to an outside shooting location.

  • Setting
    Once you find your perfect lighting, the next thing to do to nail the best profile picture is to remove all distractions from the background. You are not entering a photography contest; you are showing people honestly and accurately who you are. If you’re mad into a cool, niche pastime like showjumping or skydiving or fencing, now is the time to don your jodhpurs/parachute/ codpiece and work that camera.

    The plainer the background, the better. Another tip is to ensure the background is significantly darker than where you are. This will make your image “pop” more and give it a greater depth, bringing you more into focus.

  • Camera Set-up
    If you have a manual camera, use it. Enlist the help of a trusted friend and bring them in. For the love of all things beautiful in the world, do not take a mirror selfie. Get a friend in to help you.

    On the manual camera, put the aperture down as low as it will go. Zoom in a little with an optical zoom, and then get your photographer to move backwards until you fill the entire frame of the shot along with a little bit of space around the edges to spare. Note: a little zoom is lovely. Too much zoom will clog up the whole frame with your bewildered, ultra high-definition mug, which is a very difficult look to pull off.

  • Angle
    Face your body at 45 degrees to the camera, this will slim your profile and give a more flattering (BUT NOT FALSE!) image of your face. Keep your head pointed forwards and looking at the camera and then experiment with the position of your hands. The best profile pictures all follow two golden rules as far as hands are concerned: do not place them folded across you chest, and do not put your hands in your pockets. Experiment with placing them on your hips, straight down hanging by your side, one arm behind your back, etc. Placing your hands in a variety of positions will give your pose a more dynamic feel.

Next is to take your image into a photo editing software and warm it up a bit. This basically means removing some of the blue tones in the picture. Find out what format ratio the dating site you have signed up to uses. Is the image square? Or is it rectangular? Crop to the desired proportions once you figure this out.

 

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Rachel Lane

Sex and relationship advice columnist here to help you find the love story you've been dreaming of.

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