Profile Picture – take it yourself!

January 06, 2020 | Elin Fredriksson | Let's Talk Visual, Methods & Tools |


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Elin (Mobile)

A profile picture is an important component when communicating with colleagues. It creates a visual presence and helps being recognized and to recognize others. But often the practical step towards taking a picture seems complicated. During a micro learning event we showed how you can easily take a profile picture with your smartphone and how you can edit it with software available on every computer.

Elin Fredriksson, SDC

It is not necessary to go to a professional photographer or even to use a professional camera in order to take a good profile picture. Our smartphones have good cameras and the programs available on our computers offer enough functionalities for editing. Here are some practical tips and tricks that will help you taking a good profile picture.

Taking the picture 

The ideal case would be that you get some help from a colleague to take the picture, but even if you want to take a selfie these tricks are useful.

A general rule is that the light should always be behind the camera. Also make sure that the light is evenly distributed in the picture.

In order not to distract from the person in the picture try to choose a rather calm background. This can simply be a white wall, or a background with only a few objects.

It is also good to pay attention to lines in the picture. This means that if there is e.g. a door in the background, the vertical line of the door frame should not be right behind the person that is photographed, but next to them.

_1170733 (Mobile)

If you chose a more vivid background, make sure that e.g. the vertical line of a door frame is not right behind the person’s head.

When taking a profile picture the focus should be on the face of the person.

You can already chose a suitable frame when taking the picture; a 2 to 3 ratio of the picture format in the camera settings is an ideal frame for a profile picture. But you can also edit in post-production and cut the picture just above the thorax (see section below).

It is also important to leave enough space over the head of the person that is being photographed. A useful rule of thumb is to place the eyes on the horizontal third line.


For a profile picture with the purpose to be on the Intranet, Skype or social media, the editing software that are probably already available on your computer offer solid possibilities. This article is based on applications in Windows 10. The software that opens automatically when you open the picture is “Photos”. Other software like or Apps like Snapseed for Android and Apple devices offer similar editing possibilities.

When editing the picture you can crop the picture and roughly adapt the format and size to the standard of the targeted website. As mentioned above, for a profile picture it is common to cut the picture above the thorax.

In the Windows software “Photos” and most other software you can also chose different filters that for example give the picture a certain atmosphere or colour. It is also possible to adapt the colours and the contrast of the picture depending on your preferences.

Furthermore, the image resolution is crucial: when uploading a picture it should be as small as possible. By using the right mouse key you can resize your picture and adapt it to the most suitable size for the low bandwidth.


Chose “Mobile Device” in order to make the resolution of the picture as small as possible.


Comments to“Profile Picture – take it yourself!”

  1. Nice blog post! thanks for drawing attention to the relevance of profile pics. We also encourage staff to always have a good profile pic in the intranet and other online platforms because having a profile picture is not only nice, but it actually encourages collaboration, sense of community, prevents cold responses, provides identity and familiarity, helps to build trust… and all those are ultimately enablers for knowledge sharing.

  2. If I may add some recommendations on the production of the picture, here 2 more tips:

    – editing the photo in the smartphone is often also possible, and sometimes it’s just easier to do it there to avoid the transfer of the file for editing in a computer (here is a quick video on editing video on iPhone:, and Android:

    – sending the picture from the smartphone to the laptop (for editing or uploading) is tricky, because some services like WhatsApp automatically compress the images, reducing quality. A good solution would be: 1) uploading directly from the phone to the online platform app, and 2) if you want to transfer it first to the laptop, send it as an attachment in an email in full resolution.

    – in most cases, you don’t need to adapt the photo to a small resolution before uploading it, because most online platforms will compress the picture for you automatically when uploading (e.g. skype, facebook, sharepoint, confluence, amongst others).

    Hope my comments are useful :)


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