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Profile Photos
One of the quickest ways to stand out from the crowd is to upload and use the BEST profile photo that captures a professor's attention. 
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bNoteable is a networking hub when it comes to making educational connections for your future. The platform departs from the casual social connections of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (or TikTok) as it focuses on the professional and educational connections to help you connect and market yourself for college. Your profile photo, along with your profile play a big role in getting your profile noticed. Here are 5 tips for making your profile photo for bNoteable shine!

Remember that your photo has a ton of weight behind it. Your photo gets 21x more profile views. Follow these tips to increase the impact of your professional photo for bNoteable.

1. Use Clean and Soft Lighting

Soft and natural light is the easiest thing you can do to add an instant and professional vibe to your images. This can be accomplished at home by using indirect window light or a “ring light” off of Amazon. Professional photographers will often use large softboxes and umbrellas to achieve this simple and clean lighting when window light isn’t available. The goal is the same – we want to clearly see you without harsh or blotchy shadows. Also, try and avoid shadows under your eys which will mean avoiding direct sunlight and fluorescent office lighting.

2. Dress for Success

Clothing matters! We use clothing to quickly frame our perception of others. You’d probably be skeptical of an auto-mechanic that is wearing a 3-piece suit. And perhaps even more skeptical of a CEO that is wearing a casual well-worn hoodie. We want all the tiny details of a message we send to have unity. And in a profile photo for bNoteable, we have a brief second to send the right message.

You’ll want to select clothing that speaks to your audience of university level professionals. For most of you, that means business casual. 

When you’re putting together your attire, remember that simple is usually better. Avoid logos and busy patterns. Keep accessories and jewelry to a minimum. We want the focus on you – not on what you are wearing. When in doubt, wear what you would wear to an in-school interview (for a leadership position for example). 

Pro Tip: Blue is one of the best colors for a headshot. It compliments everyone’s skin types! It also comes across as more open, approachable, and friendly.


3. Smile! Expressions Matter

Remember, bNoteable is a networking site. You are looking for connections and interactions. When it comes to instantly judging someone as a potential connection, people are most likely to judge their profile picture. Sorry, but it is what it is. If someone looks mean or scary, we aren’t as likely to connect with them. Similarly, if someone looks friendly and approachable, we are more likely to want to connect with them. 

The easiest way to get a look that is most likely to get connections is to smile! It’s a basic human trait that works worldwide, regardless of cultural, age, and social factors. Even babies can recognize this. We know a smile means a friend. So by wearing a smile in your image, we can tap into this raw human reaction.

But not all smiles are created equal.

When a camera or cellphone is in front of us, we say “cheese” and throw up that ear to ear grin. It works for some people. But others look a bit crazy with their “fake smile”. The fake smile isn’t real. It isn’t genuine. It’s a facade, and the viewer can see through it. We want the real you and the real smile! 

There are three smile types. Most of us have never thought about what their smile type is. We just smile big when we have to due it on cue, and use a real smile when something makes us happy. With a bit of perception and practice, you can discover the style that is the real “you” and come across as genuine. The three smile types are:

Mouth Open Smile (big, with the the top and bottom teeth NOT touching). This is my “natural” smile.

Teethy Smile (big with the teeth exposed. Top and bottom teeth are touching).

Mouth Closed “Smirky” Smile (lips together smile).

Find your smile and the rest of the expression will fall into place naturally! When you use your genuine smile, your eyes will smile back. It’s human nature.

4. Clean Background

Your background can say quite a bit about you. So make sure it is intentional.

Most of the time when we are looking at images of ourselves we tend to ignore the background. Afterall, we are obsessed with looking at ourselves.

A messy room will probably send the wrong message. A busy background will pull the focus from you. So make sure you are sending the right message with your headshot background.I’ve found that two types of background perform best for professional photos for bNoteable: simple clean backgrounds and blurry enviornmental backgrounds.

Most of the time a simple clean background will be the ideal option. If you are creating this yourself, you can use a simple wall or curtain as your backdrop. It keeps all the focus on you!  

If you go for the blurry enviornmental background (the photographer term of this is bokeh – or shallow depth-of-field), you’ll want to find a setting that compliments your look, style, and industry. For example, a CEO could have a boardroom as a background. You could have one section of your room with your stand and sheet music showing. The key is to find a complimentary background that doesn’t distract.  If you are doing it yourself, try using “portrait mode” on your iphone.

5. Avoid Common Mistakes 

Now that you have the groundwork for having a high-impact bNoteable Profile Photo, be sure to avoid common mistakes by following these tips.

Don’t use a Selfie! This is a networking site to help your future. Using a casual image works great for Instagram or TikTok. If you go the DIY route, use a tripod (or have a friend help) so it looks more like a traditional portrait. And yes, this includes taking a selfie in your car. You’ll want to make sure it looks like you have a professional photo for bNoteable. Look at the Camera. Make direct eye contact with the lens of the camera. It grabs people’s attention and helps for a connection. Don’t look off or sideways in your image.

Keep Hands Away from the Face. Keep the hands down/out of frame.

Shoot Wide. bNoteable profile photos use a circular format for display. Most photographs are square or rectangle. This means you’ll lose just a bit of an image when you use it as your profile image. It’s a good idea to leave lots of space around your head when creating your headshot so you don’t inadvertently cut off the top of your head in your final profile photo. 

Crop Tight when Uploading. This tip goes hand in hand with the previous recommendation to shoot wide. As a general rule of thumb, you want your face to fill most of the circular frame. If you can see your waist in the image, it isn’t cropped in enough. The tighter the crop (without cutting off the top of your head) the better.

Don’t Repurpose Another Image. There might be an existing image out there where you look great! But just because you look good in it doesn’t mean that it’s a great headshot for your profile. Common repurposing might include cropping another person out of a photo (awkward random arm around your shoulder), using a casual selfie or photo in your marching band uniform/costume, you in the football stands, etc. That is a BIG NO NO! 

Don’t Over-Edit. It’s tempting to use digital filters, lots of photoshop, and skin smoothing overlays to give your image an extra little pop. But don’t do it. People want to see the real you! Right now the current trend is a soft natural look.


Should You Hire A Professional?

This depends on what your position and goals are. It is 100% possible to have a great headshot taken with your iPhone or Android phone. If you are just starting out (entry-level), have photography experience, or are extremely photogenic, you’ll likely be fine to follow the tips listed here and end up with a high impact professional headshot.

However, a professional headshot photographer will know how to help you look good and send the right message. Luckily, the investment for having a professional image is pretty small compared to the return you’ll gain from having an image that sends the right message and lets you market yourself better. 

Have any questions, shoot us an email and let us know! Good luck! 

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