Marketing your business, Social media
Kirsty Fields
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Updated your social media profile photo for your “new year, new me” already?

You might have updated your profile photo because you look different. Maybe you lost 30 kg, gained 30 kg, grew your hair, chopped it off, grew a beard or fell in love with a recent image of yourself.

Whatever the reason for updating it, that never matters because we love to see our friends, family and clients update profile photos to reflect the current version of themselves.

I can’t think of any bad reasons to update your profile, unless you’ve managed to select photos suffering from items on our 5 top profile photo tips list.

I update mine to acknowledge my personal changes. This year my hair is the same length as my 2020 portraits, but I’ve now got a fringe though I’ve retained the 10kg the year gifted me. Check my LinkedIn profile here.

Not everyone has a professional photographer following them around (which is a bummer, you really should try to get one).

Instead, run through our five top tip checklist and prep to upload the new  you.

Even if you think your profile has a killer image, review our list to double check.

1. Recognise Me

The number one reason for updating your profile image is so that your connections recognise you offline. I want you to recognise me, seek me out at a conference or meet for our first coffee chat without wandering around in circles.

When auditing client social media accounts, the profile image or logo and the cover photo are the first things we see. The percentage of those clients that have room for improvement here is at least 50% of our Social Media Audit clients.

Changing your style, brand and other obvious physical changes are a perfect reason to update your profile photo.

Your profile photos is the first element people see on their timeline or home page so it should be a good one.

2. Noticeable Age Gap

You may not have experienced physical change, but across time they creep in unnoticed. Excluding those brave enough to get a face-lift, we don’t wind back the clock just by stepping out of the office. Don’t let your profile photo reflect a back to the future experience.

You might have lines on your face, and a different hair colour or hair line (sorry guys, it’s true). But it’s equally true that many people will look better now than they did 20 years ago.

Accept your age. Upload a profile photo from within the last 12 months.

3. Dark Glasses

Like one of my sisters (the inspiration behind this article), you’re likely to have a phone full of beautiful selfies.

My sister’s problem is that she’s wearing huge dark sun glasses in 70% of those photos.

Allow people to connect with your digital self and let them see your entire face.

If you wear glasses to see – don’t stress – you should be wearing them, so don’t let them stop you posing. Also, don’t take them off. People recognise you in glasses and may not recognise you without them.

Same problem for wearing hats or longer hair. Remove hats if it’s covering your face – and definitely take it off if it’s a cap or you’re wearing it backwards – and flick your hair back, out of your eyes.

Creative Director Kirsty Fields at the jetty
This photo is from the first professional photography I had taken for myself for Social Ocean. It’s a great example of a landscape setting.

4. It’s Crowded

Avoid confusion over which person belongs to the profile, by discarding photos with multiple people.

You don’t want to cause confusion about which person you are, nor do you want to use a photo of you and your significant other as your professional profile. Leave the personal photos for your personal Facebook account and put a business front on for your professional profiles.

Review others with a crowd in the back of shot.

Struggling to decide on what to cut out? Cut out any with people in the background entirely, as the image is likely to be too busy for the small piece of real estate your profile takes up. It’s YOUR profile remember, distractions are not your friend.

Landscape photography with you featured in the foreground is often a great choice. Non-professional versions of this regularly have the background still in focus and can sometimes take the focus off you. Keep an eye on that.

5. Off Balance

When you zoom in or out of your photo in the LinkedIn or Facebook profile editor, you’ll know selecting an image you are not in the centre of is a pain in the butt.

Best options here are the photos with unimportant background or space around your face. This allows you to zoom in and centre your head in the circle template in your photo uploader.

This also means you’ll be able to discard more from your “maybe” pile. Remember you can zoom in to you during this process.

Kirsty Fields posing for photos
Whilst the photo of me above is nice, I have to cut this one from my list of options as I’m too close to camera. When using the photo editor in LinkedIn or Facebook, I’m going to hit the straight line of the left hand side of the image. My face will then be too big and out of proportion.


Showing clients or potential clients what you look like when you get out of bed, where you holiday with loved ones, and when you are sweaty from a workout isn’t a good look.

Even if you are a professional sleeper, traveller or personal trainer – professional profiles should reflect a polished version of yourself.

If you don’t have a photo suitable on your phone or on your desktop, there’s a quick and easy solution.

Book in with a professional photographer, ask a colleague or friend to take snaps of you in work attire, or grab the closest teenager you know.

Let that first impression of your online self make a difference and update your profile photo with an image that makes it through all five tips above.

Put your best foot forward, show off who you are and reflect your personality. Your aim to stand out from the crowd is a necessity that every one can achieve to get noticed in a busy online world.


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