With all the social media we participate in, a good profile picture is a must for everyone. It is part of your personal branding; it may even be the first thing someone knows about you. As a blogger, a good profile picture is at the top of every how-to tip list I've ever seen. I recently took a Creative Live class on blogging where they spent quite a bit of time on why you need a good profile picture. However, after two years, I still did not have one. Why? Because I don't like my pictures, but I finally gave in to the fact I needed one. After all, a sassy woman would not mind having her picture posted, she'd embrace it and have fun with it. So that is just what I decided to do!
I started by looking at all the photos I had of myself. After rejecting just about every photo taken of me, I realized it was not the photos, it was the way I was seeing myself. My nose is too long, my eyes are sunk in, my mouth is crooked, and my hair is turning gray! Other people's profile pictures didn't seem to have those problems, they were all fun and beautiful! I realized I would never find a profile photo as long as I was focusing on all my flaws. Unless I changed the way I was looking at those photos, I would be forever hunting that perfect profile picture, and never finding it.
We all have an idea of what we look like and our photos never seem to live up to our expectations. It reports the harsh truth: I am not perfect, I am not 25 anymore and those extra pounds do show.
As I was praying (or whining, I'm guilty of whining prayer sometimes, but that's another whole blog), Holy spirit told me that He didn't make my face for me. That made me stop and think. The only time we can see our face is when we look in a mirror. The rest of the time, everyone else sees it, but we can't. Our faces are meant to reflect the glory of God in us, for the world to see. He created each feature to appeal to the people that look at us, not to appease our own vanity.
We are His Masterpiece
In Genesis, we are told we are made in His image and likeness. Ephesians 2:10 says we are God's workmanship, (handiwork, masterpiece, work of art, Heaven's poetry) created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Everything about you was created with your calling in mind. We each have a mission from God to fulfill while we are on this earth. Every part of you was lovingly handcrafted with that purpose in mind, including how you look. When we criticize the way we look, we are insulting the best work of a master craftsman. Most of us would never dream of walking up to expert potter and point out flaws in his wares. Yet that is just what I was doing to the Master Potter.
So, with this in mind, I started over. I searched for how to get a good profile picture and here are some tips I found.
Tip 1: Practice your expressions in front of a mirror
One of the best tips I found, was to practice different expressions in front of a mirror. Pick one that you like and feels natural and practice it. That way whenever you are in front of the camera, you'll have more confidence in the outcome. As I did this, I told myself that God crafted this face using all His skill and imagination. Since everything He makes is lovely and beautiful, I am lovely and beautiful! This face perfectly fits who I am called to be and I like it.
Tip 2: Decide what story do you want your picture to tell
Ask yourself, what message do I want my picture to convey? Do I want a professional looking photo for business articles or job hunting? A Facebook profile picture showing how warm and friendly you are? One for Pinterest that shows how fun, creative, or fashionable you are? Then plan your photo shoot to deliver that message. Use the clothes you pick, the poses you choose, the background and props all to tell your story. Let that story show in your eyes, your expression, and your posture.
Tip 3: Find a photographer, set up a time, and find your location.
You can use a professional if you need to, but doing this with a friend is more fun. Offer to take their picture in exchange for taking yours. Talk about the story you want to tell and ask about theirs. Discuss clothing options, props, and locations. Then set up a time and have fun. You may want to plan a "thank you" coffee or lunch to review the pictures you've taken. I had Steve to take mine and we had a fun morning together.
Tip 4: Poising Pretty (or not)
In my research on posing for pictures, some suggestions came up over and over.
- Fake laugh and make funny faces to start your photo session
- Relax your lips open slightly, don't force the grin
- Position body at a 45-degree angle from the camera and turn your face to the camera
- Relax your eyes, no deer in the headlights look
- Chin slightly forward and down
- Relax, but don't slouch. Keep your shoulders back
Check out this fun video on poising from HOW TO POSE IN PHOTOS - 9 Tricks Pros Use to Look Perfect!
Tip 5: Take lots of pictures
Some photographer take as many as 200 shots to get one photo! So take lots of pictures, use different angles, different backgrounds, add a prop or two.
Now that you have your pictures, go through them and pick your top ten. Check out how they will look in your various profiles, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google. Your favorite might not look so good framed in that tiny circle. Then send your top choices to some trusted friends or create a Facebook post asking friends to choose their favorite.
I still haven't managed to look at my photos without seeing all the flaws. But I console myself with the fact, my face was meant to reflect God's glory, not mine.