How to put up a great Instagram profile picture

Instagram Profile Picture

A typical Instagram profile is loaded with images, but all your profile visitors will see your Instagram profile picture and bio first. This is you telling the world who you are, so it has to be ‘picture-perfect’, right?

For every business/brand/agency page, having the right Instagram profile picture is imperative. This is because it shows what your company is all about in just one image. [Side Note: Bios also help convey what a business/handle represents, but these are often written in a rush. Check out how you can write a great one!]

It is also a good idea to stick with a profile picture once you’ve had it updated, especially if you are a brand or an influencer. Eventually, your community or followers will be familiarized with this profile picture, and it will become an essential brand element for you.

Instagram Profile Picture - Adidas
Adidas – Instagram Profile Picture

Reasons why you should have a good Instagram profile picture

1. It is your brand

Your profile picture on every social media should be the same and stay the same for years as it is your brand.

If you’re already big, you’ll likely only make changes to your profile image if you’re going through a major shift in brand identity. This is usually a HUGE deal. Remember the hype when Burger King changed their logo and all their profile pictures?

Instagram profile brand related
Burger King Logo

Because it is considered such a huge deal to change a brand’s logo and its other elements, it can only be done once in a while. In the case of Burger King, this was their first change in logo design in about 20 years. Prior to this, they’ve had the same Instagram profile image since the inception of their profile.

For practical purposes, your fans and followers should be able to instantly recognize you in a sea of icons if you establish your brand and stay consistent. So make sure that the picture you choose always represents what you or your company stands for.

As a brand, you are (hopefully) going to have tons of followers and are going to influence their opinions. For this reason, you should take extra care in putting up a profile picture that is offensive.

2. Icon for Instagram stories

Icon for Instagram stories
Icon for Instagram stories

If you go on Instagram, you will be able to see the icons of users who have posted a story (or stories) recently. You can scroll and select the one that you want to see. If you establish your brand well, your icon i.e. your profile picture will be immediately recognized and your followers will be eager to check out the updates you push. So make sure the picture is “picture-perfect” as it will be seen in stories all the time.

Pro-tip: An increasing number of people are adding colorful borders around their profile pictures to resemble a story icon. This is done so people can click on their icon thinking it is a story, but are instead taken to their profile. AVOID THIS BY ALL MEANS! It is seen as spammy and causes annoyance. It also increases your chances of getting reported as spam. You don’t want that when you are looking to gain followers.

3. Your Instagram profile picture helps build credibility

A unique, professional-looking logo helps build credibility and gains recognition over time, as your brand grows. For this reason, it is completely worth your while to put extra effort into designing your profile image. You don’t want to look unprofessional when presenting yourself to people who would genuinely consider purchasing your products or services.

Instagram profile picture helps build credibility
Instagram profile picture

How to change your Instagram profile picture

Go on Instagram on your mobile and click on the icon on the bottom right where your profile pic will come. Select the option of “Edit Profile” and then “Change Profile Photo”. You can import one from Facebook or upload a new one from your Gallery.

Before deciding on your permanent profile picture, there are certain dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind. Let us go through them –

1. Do – Make sure you get the dimensions right

Instagram profile picture size is an important element to consider in the process of deciding the perfect profile picture. The image should be as clear as possible. If it is possible, click pictures in a quality camera and upload a high-definition image as a profile picture. Instagram displays 110 x 110 pixels on mobile and 180 x 180 pixels on the browser. 

Another thing to keep in mind once you settle on the image size is that the profile picture will be displayed in a circle and it will cut out the corners of your square photo. So the best photo to upload would be the one with a 1:1 aspect ratio, with 200 x 200 pixels, and with you in the center so your face doesn’t get cut off.

Instagram profile picture - get dimensions right.
Instagram profile picture size

2. Do – Choose the right color and color scheme

Instagram profile picture - Choose the right color.
Instagram profile picture – MVMT

If this is your company page where the logo is blue, then ensure that all the pictures that you post are also in the same color scheme. It is important to have the profile picture, the posts, and the stories all in the same color palette for aesthetic appeal. The more pleasing it is to look at, the more followers you get. Going through your posts should be an enjoyable experience.

One area of design that is worth looking into, is color psychology. You can use this not only on your profile picture but on the entire theme of your Instagram feed. Essentially, color psychology is all about how different colors (and different shades of colors) affect one’s mood and behavior. You ideally want to evoke very positive emotions as Instagram users scroll through your feed. Contrary to popular belief, not all bright shades induce positive emotions, and not all subdued, subtle shades dull you down.

If you really want an Instagram feed that stands out and is instantly likable, integrate color psychology when designing your profile picture, and your posts/stories/Reels. It’ll be worth it.

3. Do – Ensure that your Instagram profile picture is evergreen

Instagram profile picture - egofaptor
Instagram profile picture

A lot of brands and Insta celebs make the mistake of posting a seasonal picture on the display. If you post your picture near a Christmas tree, it looks out of date in the summer. Keep a neutral background so it is applicable throughout the year. Also, as aforementioned, ensure your profile picture does not hurt the sentiments of any individuals or groups, as this could lead to major controversies.

4. Do – Select the one with good lighting and clear contrast

While clicking the picture, make sure there is plenty of natural light. Look at the camera squarely and smile in a way that reaches your eyes and shows your teeth. Your Instagram profile will look best if you are wearing dark-colored suits with light-colored button-downs in your profile picture.

Ironically, the gentleman in the Tweet above talking about profile pictures hasn’t followed this best practice. Due to the sun directly behind him, his face is in the shadow and the details are barely visible. If you’re an influencer, avoid this completely! That is, of course, if you’re going for a classy silhouette look.

5. Do – Use cute props

Instagram Profile Picture - Use cute props
Instagram Profile Picture – Use cute props

Instagram profile pics are all about expressing how you look as well as how you are as a person. Show something about yourself in the profile picture itself so your followers can have something in common with you from the get-go. If you are having trouble thinking of a prop, ask yourself “What is the one thing about you that you would want everyone to know?” or “What means the most to me?”

A good way to attract followers is to have a relatable prop in the profile picture. For example, pets are great to have in a profile picture! Grab your furry friend and give them some of the spotlight. Cute profile pics need cute furry friends in them.

6. Don’t – Use a picture that is off-center

Instagram Off-Center Profile Picture
Instagram Off-Center Profile Picture

If you want a cool profile pic, choose the one where you are in the center. If you are in the far corners, you will get cut out of your own profile picture and that is just laughable.

7. Don’t – Use a full-body image or text photo

Instagram Profile Picture - Don’t  Use a full-body image or text photo
Don’t Use a full-body image or text photo

Good profile pictures are the ones that have a close-up picture of a person or just a small one or two words in the image.

Full-body images work very well for Instagram posts, but not so much for profile images. This is owing to how small the display of the Instagram profile image is; a full-body image would mean all of your features will appear too tiny to clearly see, and this fully beats the point of having a full-body image in the first place.

Save these for the posts. Add a nice close-up for your profile picture.

A lot of users also make the mistake of having a quote on it but they forget that followers won’t be able to clearly read the text. It is better to have quotes in the bio instead and keep the profile picture simple. Aesthetic profile pictures are the ones that are eye-catching and easily understandable with a glance. Don’t make your fans work to see your profile picture.

If you are really into quotes and want to share them with people, post them in images to increase engagement with your audience. Increasing engagement is the best part about being a social media influencer and if you need some tips on increasing fan interaction, click here for a few simple hacks.

8. Don’t – Hide your face with props

Don’t – Hide your face with props

People try to take cool profile pictures using sunglasses and hats. Don’t make that mistake as an influencer. Profile pictures are supposed to look approachable which means you should shed the props that hide your beauty and embrace the camera. If you are having trouble with that or feel self-conscious, forget about the camera and focus on a point near the camera. What is the person clicking the picture wearing? Focus on that or something else instead.

Other things to avoid are hair and shadow over the face. You don’t have to take hair out of the picture, just make sure that it is not covering too much of your face. If the sun is coming into your eyes and making you squint, change the direction. Try not to squint or glare at the camera. Find a sweet spot where your eyes look naturally relaxed.

Ensure there is no shadow over your eyes because it makes you look darker and sleep-deprived. Don’t try to look sexy with your facial expression either because it doesn’t look sexy to a lot of people. Just be your happy self and post all the hot pics in the Instagram feed.

There are a lot of things to keep in mind while clicking good pictures for your profile, but don’t forget to have fun! In the end, you’re trying to project an image of who you candidly are.

Clicking pictures and capturing your current self is important even if you don’t get your perfect Instagram profile picture.

9. Don’t – Use heavy filters

Don't - Use heavy filters in Instagram Profile picture
Don’t – Use heavy filters

Sometimes, we all have the urge to use the many filters on Instagram and Snapchat, so we can hide the little imperfections in our skin and facial features. However, this is not a great idea when it comes to your profile picture.

If you add a filter to what is possibly one of the main elements of your Instagram profile, this will become one of the things your audience will remember you by. A preset filter rather than your real, unfiltered face. This will also lead to first-time profile viewers assuming a certain identity for you, that may or may not resemble your real identity. As a brand or influencer, you would not want this to happen.

10. Keep The Background Clean

If you have a messy background going on your profile photo, no one is gonna pay attention to your face or the logo on the photo. I mean it is obvious, isn’t it?

But there are some photos that are just too good to not use as profile photos, even if they have clutter going on in the background. So what to do in that situation?

Sure, don’t use it as it is. Try to use an editing tool to remove the background or blur it so that the photo looks more neat and appealing.

The easiest thing to do is to use which comes with tons of cool features and tools. Just upload your image and let our AI do the hard work for you. The AI can seamlessly remove the unwanted stuff in the background and the processed image can be downloaded easily, with a simple click of a button.

11. Instagram Profile Pictures Ideas: Cartoon

Instagram Profile Picture Ideas: Cartoon
Instagram Profile Picture Ideas: Cartoon

One of the most charming yet easy profile picture ideas you can use is using animated or cartoon pictures for your Instagram. They are eye-catching, colorful, and come on who doesn’t like cartoons?

This works well for those individuals as well that do not want to show their face on the internet but still want some sense of connection with their audience. They can just easily make a cartoon that sort of looks like them so that the audience gets an idea of who they are following. Using a cartoon-style profile picture is suitable for personal Instagram accounts but not ideal for business profiles.

But make sure you are not freebooting someone else’s work and just copying and pasting their artwork as your profile photo without their permission. If you want an easy solution, you can always use apps like Bimoji, Apple Memoji, or ToonMe to generate original cartoon-style profile pictures.

9 Awesome Instagram Profile Picture Tips That Will Wow Your Audience

This one appears to be a no-brainer, isn’t it? Why wouldn’t you flaunt your dazzling whites for everyone to see if it’s your Instagram account?

Set Your Face As The Featured Image Of Your Instagram Profile Picture
Set Your Face As The Featured Image Of Your Instagram Profile Picture

The truth is that people connect more profoundly with faces than with any other picture. So, if you are the face of your brand, you must also be the face of your Instagram account, which is represented by the Instagram profile picture.

2. Try To Use A Professional Image

Try To Use a Professional Image for Instagram Profile
Try To Use A Professional Image

The more clean, clear, and professional your Instagram profile picture appears, the better it is. Listen, if hiring a full-service photographer to get a few good shots for you is within your budget, that’s fantastic.

If it isn’t, just take the help of one of your friends or acquaintances to use an expensive camera to click some beautiful photographs. Alternatively, lend someone your phone (or use your self-timer) to take some high-quality shots. There are so many possibilities for capturing clear, attractive images these days.

Under any circumstances, do not use one of those sweaty pictures you snapped at Disneyland a couple of years ago. It’s not going to make it. Spend some time getting a decent shot if you want to put your best foot forward in front of your audience.

3. Present Your True Side

Present Your True Side in Instagram Profile picture
Present Your True Side

Your Instagram account is entirely dedicated to you. As a result, it is your responsibility to show your actual self. You must be approachable.

Again, even if you’re using Instagram to market your brand, keep in mind that potential clients prefer to do business with individuals they know, like, and trust.

Yes, depending on the individual, this may be difficult and rather embarrassing, but if you can force a grin, your followers will enjoy it much. Your followers want to get to know you, and the first step is to look at your Instagram profile picture. So express yourself truly, whether it’s with a silly face, professional attire, or something completely different.

4. Size Does Matter

Instagram profile picture
Size Does Matter

On a desktop PC, it’s just 110X110 pixels. Keep this in mind while you plan your strategy. This is why you should crop your image as closely as possible. Your followers and future followers want to see you in the upper left-hand corner! Give them exactly what they want.

5. Use A Logo If You Are A Business

If you have a business Instagram account, you can (and probably should) use your logo as your Instagram profile picture. This will assist in ensuring that your branding is consistent throughout your website, other social media platforms, emails, and everywhere else you use your logo or show your brand.

Using your logo also makes you appear more professional, especially if your company is larger than just you.

use logo for your Instagram profile
Use the logo for your Instagram Profile

It’s still a smart idea to use one of your own photographs if you’re an influencer or company owner with a personal brand that you’re the face of. This allows your audience to connect with you and identify who they’re following. 

Businesses that use their logo as their Instagram profile picture can still include personal photographs in the feed or Stories to let their followers know them better.

6. Avoid Using an Off-Center Photo

It may be traditional for larger images to follow the rule of thirds and place you or the topic out to the side, but this does not apply to Instagram profile pictures. Your profile image is everything, yet it’s also little. If you pick an off-center photo, your face will appear much smaller. You will also make it more difficult for people to see and recognize you inside the little circle.

Avoid off-center photo for Instagram profile
Avoid off-center photos for Instagram profile

Find a good photo of yourself in the center instead. This will make it easier for your fans and potential followers to find you, communicate with you, and decide whether or not to check out your account.

7. Don’t Use A Photo That Needs To Be Updated Frequently

Your Instagram profile picture is an important aspect of your branding; therefore, you want your audience to identify and recognize you, even in that little Instagram circle. If you often change your profile photo, they may become confused or may scroll past your postings without realizing it. Your profile photo also serves as the “cover” for your Stories at the top of the app. If a person does not recognize your image, they may not click on your Stories.

Don’t Use a Photo that needs to be updated frequently as Profile picture
Don’t Use a Photo that needs to be updated frequently as a Profile picture

Rather than picking a photo that will need to be changed frequently, choose one you adore and is consistent with your brand. Don’t use anything seasonal, such as a photo of you with a Christmas tree or anything time-sensitive. Select a timeless photo and a traditional, neutral backdrop.

8. Upload High-Quality Image

Instagram profile pictures are really tiny, but you should still post a high-quality image. The last thing you want to do is post an image that is too tiny and then gets blurry when Instagram uses it.

high quality photo for Instagram profile picture
Upload high-quality photos for the Instagram profile picture

This is not only bad for your brand’s image, but it also makes it more difficult for visitors to notice an already small photo.

9. Make Sure Your Instagram Profile Picture Matches Your Brand

Make Sure Your Instagram Profile Picture Matches Your Brand
Make Sure Your Instagram Profile Picture Matches Your Brand

If your business is typically bright and cheery, don’t choose a dark, somber photo as your Instagram profile picture. It will appear real, and your audience will most likely be perplexed. Instead, select a photo that corresponds to your brand. This extends beyond the colors, but they are significant.

You should also strive to portray the atmosphere of your brand, such as whether you’re fun and lively or quiet and serious. There is no right or wrong option here, but your Instagram profile photo should reflect the essence of your company.

Profile picture best practices on LinkedIn

As a brand, you’ll most likely have your logo and brand colors as profile pictures on all social media platforms. If you’re an influencer though, it’s best to adapt to the norms and best practices of the different platforms.

You can be as wacky as you want on Instagram if it aligns with your handle’s activity. On LinkedIn, it’s best to be a little more conventional and conservative. It’s a very professional environment, so here at the least, it’s important that your face is properly visible and that your attire is decent.

Profile picture best practices on Twitter

A Twitter profile image can be very goofy or very professional depending on what you want to discuss (rant about?) on your profile. Like in other platforms, the profile picture is tiny when your threads appear on someone else’s feed, so choosing a color that contrasts with the black/white theme of Twitter is a great idea!

On Twitter, a lot of people are also more ‘real’ than they are on Facebook, Instagram, and especially LinkedIn. Ranting on random topics, venting out thoughts, and calling out people and organizations for wrongdoings are not uncommon at all. If your goal with Twitter is to ‘be real,’ let this reflect on your profile picture. Post one that’s completely, unapologetically you with no sugar-coating. Happy ranting!

Once you have selected the profile picture, you can start increasing your follower count with awesome posts, engaging stories, and accurate hashtags. Never underestimate the power of hashtags because they can make you go from nobody to an Insta celeb overnight. 

If you feel like hashtags are not working on your Instagram account, hop on to this helpful article which will help you get over the ban and make the hashtags work again.

Be creative with the hashtags you use in your posts with our free Instagram hashtag generator. Check it out today!

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Tanmay Ratnaparkhe

Co-founder, 2X Entrepreneur, tech enthusiast, and SaaS expert, specializing in Instagram marketing and AI. With a knack for leveraging technology for marketing success, they share valuable insights and strategies to boost your digital presence and productivity.