You only get one chance to make a strong first impression. New research reveals an individual needs to have their act together within a blink of an eye. Within a matter of five seconds a stranger can scan and develop a psychoanalysis of you.

First impressions in person can be influenced by your personality, wit and charm. Your human instincts can mask your faults, but in the world of digital media, your picture is all they have to judge you on. It is imperative you select the perfect profile picture.

Your profile picture displays so much more than you think. Its initial offering provides viewers a look at your posture, manners, confidence and persona. It invites individuals to connect and reach out to you only if they liked what they saw.

Impressions are everything, so you want to make sure you leave a good one. Below are a list of tips, recommendations, things to experiment with and things to avoid when selecting a perfect profile pictures.

? #hickenlooperphoto

A photo posted by Shelby Hickenlooper (@shelby.hickenlooper) on

Picture clarity

To put your best foot forward, select a clear image that displays your features in a natural unobstructed light. Pictures with too many filters and multiple layers of effects do not attract the eye.

➰ #black #woman #brunette #smile #selfie #me #polishgirl #new #hair #photooftheday #profile

A photo posted by Ania (@_aniag_) on

Up to date picture

The best profile pictures are representative of who you are at that specific point in time. Individuals seeking to connect and communicate with you will not be able to recognize or relate to a picture taken years or even decades ago.

Pick an honest picture

It is tempting to get on Photoshop and create an alter ego for ourselves, but the very best and most attractive profile pictures show you for who you are. Your natural beauty is more than enough so go ahead and pick the most honest picture.

Do not take a selfie

OK this one is subjective; selfies do contain the potential to impress as a profile picture but they also could ruin your first impression as well, especially on career-networking type of websites. Be careful when selecting selfies. Do not choose pictures that clearly show your arm in the picture, do not select an image that reveals more than is modest and do not choose a selfie that is only half of your face.

Smile with teeth

Psychologist Adrian Furnham suggests smiling exudes more than happiness, "Smiling, it is argued is the outward manifestation of happiness and serves to begin to connect us to others. We are "prewired" to connect with others via this system."

Let the other half be a mystery. #halfface

A photo posted by Gau_069 (@gaurang696) on

Amount of you shown

Research has found individuals prefer profile pictures to contain head-and-shoulders or head-to-waist photos. Images that are too close to the face only contain half of the face or are too far away from the individual and do not read as well.


A photo posted by @nonquedannick on

Unobstructed eyes

Do not cover up your eyes with sunglasses or objects. Individuals love to connect and make an impression by looking at people's eyes. Wearing sunglasses creates an automatic disconnect between you and people trying to get to know you.

Things to experiment with in your picture

  • Face the camera

  • Take your picture in a big city

  • Use a bright background

  • Take your picture in nature

  • Take your picture with props (For example: fresh flowers, bags or luggage, delectable food, skateboards, sports equipment, pets, etc.)

Things to avoid in your picture

  • Don't wear a hat

  • Don't wear sunglasses

  • Hair in the face

  • Significant glare

  • Dark shadows

  • Fake laughing smile

  • Sexy poses

  • Being angry

  • A zoomed out image of you

  • An image of you that includes alcohol

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