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How to Create the Perfect Instagram Profile Picture?

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  • How to Create the Perfect Instagram Profile Picture?

With 1,21 billion active users in 2021, Instagram is one of the largest social networks in the world, topped only by Facebook and YouTube. Moreover, the influence of this visuals-focused network is only expected to grow in the upcoming years. Out of popular social networks, Instagram is the most remarkable one in terms of user engagement.

Instagram has a dynamic, young audience that is no stranger to appealing visual content and is spoiled by it. Whether you are a social media persona, an owner of a product business, or just a private individual using the network, it isn’t easy to differentiate your profile and make it stand out among millions of similar profiles. A profile picture to remember will surely make your account noticed on the Instagram stories feed.

Want to know how to create a perfect profile photo for Instagram, whether personal or for a brand? Let’s dive in!

What The Dolly Parton Challenge Says About A Perfect Instagram Picture

Instagram Profile Picture

The image that started the Dolly Parton Challenge, instagram.com

The essence of what makes a perfect Instagram profile picture is perfectly explained by the humorous Dolly Parton challenge that went viral on most social networks in early 2020. The challenge, started by the famous American singer Dolly Parton, juxtaposes four images, each representing the aesthetic Instagram profile pictures on four social media platforms โ€“ LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Tinder. It is meant to comically illustrate the difference in how people present themselves on these platforms.

Though this challenge primarily concerns a personal profile picture of private people and not brands or bloggers, it says a lot about the philosophy of each network. Most of the images that people share as a part of this challenge follow more or less the same tendency:

  • Linkedin image is a clean-cut portrait of confident professionals wearing business casual. Colors like black, white, and gray are really common.
  • Facebook pictures highlight your social life by showing you next to your friends, family, or pets. It is more common for Facebook profile pics to feature more people on a photo than just a profile owner.
  • Tinder photos means to show how physically attractive you are to your potential suitors. A typical Tinder photo is flattering, and people often wear outfits that are meant to highlight their attractiveness.
  • Instagram profile picture means to represent your authentic personality. This is the most personal image of all, representing how you see the best version of yourself, separate from your work, friends, and romantic interests.

Profile pictures for Instagram differ the most from photo to photo. People choose different ways to differentiate: some by presenting a more artsy variation of a Linkedin portrait, this time wearing fashionable clothes instead of business casual, others by choosing a photo when they laugh and have fun. Many people choose to highlight their hobbies or highlight how they travel around the world.

So, choosing a perfect Instagram picture is tied to several questions. Who are you outside of work, and what do you like the most about yourself ? As a social network, Instagram is all about being personable. This also applies to your brand if you set smart social media goals.

Related: How To Delete Calls on Instagram

Instagram Profile Picture And Formatting Rules

The things discussed above have more to do with the philosophy of an Instagram profile picture, but not less important is how your photo fits into the formatting rules of Instagram. You donโ€™t want your image to be lost or ignored, so the rules are here to follow. Letโ€™s dwell on the mechanics of good Instagram profile pics.

The reality of an Instagram profile photo that we all have to adjust to is that it is actually really tiny. Every decision that you make should consider this fact first of all. Otherwise, your photo just will not be noticed.

Your Face Should Be At The Center Of Your Picture

A perfect Instagram photo shows your face, shoulders up. Pictures from the waist up or the feet up will not be as effective and will put you at a disadvantage. Any good portrait that fits your aesthetic should be cropped to fit the shoulders up rule.

While a full-body picture may be a perfect illustration of your individual character, Instagram image formatting would prevent people from seeing it. The same goes for an off-center photo that would just look odd. As of 2022, it is not possible to view Instagram profile pictures in full size, and this is not likely to ever change.

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A well-centered Instagram profile pic, instagram.com

What Are You Looking At? The Angle Matters

Like any good portrait, a great Instagram profile picture has your eyes looking directly into the camera. This makes people remember your face and, in a way, makes the experience of visiting your profile more personal, as if they knew you and had just talked to you a moment ago. So, if you consider choosing a photo where you wear Ray-Bans, leave it to the Instagram feed rather than the profile picture.

If you are a blogger or are building a personal brand via Instagram and often share information in your bio or want to highlight the number of followers, you can use a hack with the direction of your eyesight. Choose a picture where you look sideways. This way, people’s attention will automatically go to the link in your bio or to the followers and post information.

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An Instagram profile picture facing sideways, instagram.com

However, you should apply this method only if links in the bio are a regular and essential thing on your profile. Your picture should be timeless and fit into a profile regardless of your mood and time of the year. If it doesn’t, you will end up changing it all the time, which may confuse your followers and they may miss your Instagram stories.

Looking directly into the camera or at the links in your bio are not the only possible options. You are welcome to experiment with angles as long as it works for your face and the aesthetics. High-angle, low-angle, or even three-quarter angle can work as long as it makes you feel and look good, though they do not work equally for everyone. Experiments are a good thing when it comes to finding what looks best for you.

Contrast Is A Must, Pop Of Color Is a Bonus

Gray-on-gray aesthetics does not really work for an Instagram profile picture because a tiny little image will just get lost without anything eye-catching to hold onto. A busy background where many things are going on also may not work, as it does not provide the much-needed contrast.

For your photo to pop up, the contrast should be clear, and the lighting should be on point. Blurry or bad-quality images can negatively affect your profile. They can signal that you have put no effort into making your account look good.

A very bright pop of color, like a clementine orange, or electric blue, works very well in terms of contrast. You will find a lot of recommendations from online experts to change your background to these colors to emphasize the contrast. This has been a really popular trend that works amazingly.

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Contrasted profile picture, instagram.com

However, while bright colors are an excellent IGtool, there is no need to use them if it does not fit in with the energy of your profile or your personality. The same goes for the company Instagram – if your brand is not known for bright colors, it is unnecessary to overdo it.

A black-and-white or a more natural contrast will be just as good as long as it works for your aesthetics because authenticity is the key. A great personal photo that takes the rules of lighting and contrast into wins any day over identical images with backgrounds of every possible bright color. Moreover, it’s you who should stand out, not your background.

Also, we don’t mean to hate the color gray. It may work just as well as any other color if you have a contrasting outfit juxtaposed with gray. After all, gray is a trendy neutral color in the 2020s in anything from clothing to interior design.

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A profile picture photo with a gray background, instagram.com

Adjust The Picture To The Instagram Standard

Before uploading, crop and resize your picture so that it would easier fit into a 110 x 110 circle on your smartphone. Even if you take an image specifically for Instagram, extra cropping will not hurt. Sizes like 200 x 200 and 300 x 300 work best for the smooth transition into an Instagram profile picture; just make sure that the quality is not compromised.

You can edit the picture, but the rule is not to overdo the editing and keep your face similar to how you look in real life. Once the photo is uploaded, put your face in the center of the image. Your profile picture is ready!

Notes On Instagram Profile Pictures For Brands

If you are a brand owner of a product business, advice on profile pictures does not really work for you in the same way it does for personal photos because you have to represent your business and not who you are as a person. However, the basic framework still stands: the photo should be contrasted, authentic to the brand you create, of good quality, and easy to remember.

Since your business is not figuratively your face, you need extra advice on how to proceed. In general, there are three options to choose from: logo, lifestyle photo, and your face or brand ambassador picture.

Use Your Remarkable Logo

The most apparent option for brands is to choose the logo. Product-based businesses are usually recognized by their emblem. Graphic design hacks can help you create a perfect look for your brand.

A successful logo should follow simple rules: it has to be recognizable, bright, simple, centered, contrasted, and should not contain a lot of text. It might include a letter, a short word, your mascot, or an iconic graphic image, like Apple’s bitten apple.

If your brand does not have its perfect design yet, you should consider following all the rules mentioned above when creating it. Sometimes, symbols are not Instagram-friendly – they can be packed with text or not have enough contrast. In this case, you should consider creating a favicon – a simple short version of your feed-friendly logo. If this is still not your option, consider giving up and going for alternatives.

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A shorter version of Linkedin logo on Instagram profile picture, instagram.com

Use a Lifestyle Photo That Highlights Your Brand

A lifestyle photo is a photo that highlights the product your brand is known for and demonstrates how it’s used. For example, if you are a mono-product clothing brand known for bodycon dresses, show that dress in your Instagram profile by using a photo from your brand photoshoot.

If you are a skydiving business, choose an exciting personal photo of your customers while skydiving with you. Using a lifestyle image teaches customers what to expect from your brand. Social media posts will also help create a recognizable brand image.

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A lifestyle photo that serves as a profile picture, instagram.com

If You Are The Face Of The Brand, Use Your Photo

Don’t be afraid of using your photo if your business is directly tied to your personal brand. For example, if you are an influencer with a side food blog, choose a professional but fun, bright photo of you cooking to advertise this social media blog.

This also works if you sell personal services, whether you are a personal trainer, French teacher or a beauty professional. Just make sure that the photo shows or at least hints at what you do while sticking to the advice on personal images unless you are a celebrity whose business needs no introduction.

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A personal photo used on a business account, instagram.com

Final Thoughts on Creating the Perfect Instagram Profile Picture

With its demand for brand aesthetics, Instagram is not a social media platform for the faint of heart. Instagram trends in creating visual content are precise and are subject to frequent changes. What looked cool yesterday might turn boring today, like following a color theme for your profile that dominated the platform a couple of years ago.

Also, you should decorate your profile with cool Instagram profile pics and your bio by using some catchy text designs. You may even use a weird text generator, that looks perfect for some specific (like creative, etc.) profiles. And also impact the complete look of your profile.

When creating a flawless Instagram profile picture, rules are a canvas to follow rather than something to repeat blindly. You should be aware of aesthetic limitations brought by how an Instagram profile picture appears in your feed, but everything else is up to you.

As confirmed by the Dolly Parton challenge, Instagram is a platform to show your creative side to the world while honoring high demands for the aesthetics of visual images. Do just that, and show who you are as a person or business run by like-minded people. In this case, subscribers will not resist clicking on your profile photo in their feed.

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