11 April 2012

How to look your virtual best

Keeping contact with friends and family on Facebook is important for your social and emotional well-being. Here's how to make sure your profile picture portrays you at your best.


I have so many far-flung friends and family members that I’m convinced they see my profile picture more often than my real-life mug. Truly, your online avatars are how you’re viewed by the world these days, both professionally and personally. So how can you make sure you look your virtual best?

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

Make it just you. Sure, it’s cute when you have photos of yourself with your best pals, your kitty or your beau du jour. But when you comment on people’s posts or when old friends look you up, you really just want them to see you. And as much as you’re probably a wonderful friend, cat owner and girlfriend, you don’t want that to define your online presence. So be sure to post a photo that’s just of your lovely face.

Use natural light. Dark photos look terrible and are often unflattering (with the red-eye and shiny skin from the flash and all). Resist the urge to put up a badly lit photo. Go with something shot in the daytime, either outside or next to an open window. (Just make sure you’re not backlit, since that can make your face look dark.) There’s no light more flattering and lovely than natural light.

Go candid. You might think you look good in those pictures where you posed perfectly and put your biggest “cheese” face on. But those stiff shots look uncomfortable and unnatural. Instead of going with something posed, pick an action shot. I’m not talking about you on the free-throw line at the Knicks game. I’m talking about a great photo of you laughing, chatting or just having a great time. I’ve found one great way to get something candid: Your picture-taker can try snapping a pic exactly 10 seconds after you think they’re going to take it. (Tell them to surprise you.) Usually you’re laughing, looking naturally to the side, or giving a more thoughtful, genuine look.

Make your timeline photo count. Now that Facebook has started its “Timeline” view, you can use that short, wide timeline slot for something more creative. The picture doesn’t have to be you, but make it something personal: The view of the sunset from outside your window, the exterior of your favourite restaurant, your cat (yes, it works here) or a wide picture of you and your best friends. Just beware that the timeline pictures tend to look really zoomed-in, so you probably want to avoid a close-up of your face here -- and maybe even faces altogether. Me? I opted for a shot of myself from behind looking toward the beach. I like it.

(Picture: Woman taking picture on Shutterstock)

(By Elena Donovan Mauer for Completely You, April 2012)

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Don't neglect your friends





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