Fresh Research Probe Cracks Down – The Flawless Profile Photo – ????

A profile photo is your representative ter the digital world.

Wij look to it every time wij interact with you online, and even imagine it speaking the words you type.

Profile photos are so essential to modern communication that a good one’s become a basic necessity. And that couldn’t be truer than for those of us whose professional lives are tied to social media profiles.

That’s why wij at Photofeeler determined to set our very first major explore on the objective of targeting just a few, over-arching guidelines.

That is, wij asked ourselves— if wij set aside characteristics like gender, age, and physical traits, to concentrate only on what wij can lightly control— what elements reliably produce a better professional headshot photo (for use on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)?

The Investigate

The examine wasgoed based on overheen 60,000 ratings of perceived Competence, Likability, and Influence for 800 profile photos te our Photofeeler database.

To start the proefneming, photos were tagged to denote the presence of (and/or degree of) a long list of characteristics. A puny subset of thesis required unique programmatic tagging, spil te photo brightness or darkness, te order to control absolute values.

Ben, our resident mathematician, then composed an analysis that isolated each condition so its influence could be measured independently. Upon examining each characteristic’s p-value to confirm or deny statistical significance, wij narrowed our findings to a list of reliable dos and don’ts.

The Results

Here is an overview of what wij learned (followed by a nice, big visual of our gegevens all together).

Eye Obstruction

Thinking about “playing it cool” te your profile photos? Think again. Evidently eye blockage, spil from sunglasses, can significantly harm your impression.

The effect switches depending on what is obstructing the eyes, tho’.

Sunglasses specifically may be suave and mysterious, but at a cost. A sunglass wearer’s Likable score drops by an promedio of -0.36.

On the contrary, eye obstruction via hair, glare, and shadow didn’t make a difference te Likability, but brought down Competence and Influence scores by -0.29 and -0.31 respectively.


Another effect of note wasgoed the squinch. (Do read our linked postbode if you toevluchthaven’t heard the term before.)

The gist of the concept is this: broad open eyes commonly denote fear, whereas slightly squinted eyes portray convenience and confidence.

Spil a consequence, squinching eyes garner an media build up of +0.33 for Competence, +0.22 for Likability, and +0.37 for Influence.

Defined Jawline

Te addition to squinching, accentuating one’s jawline is a peak evangelized widely by famed headshot photographer, Peter Hurley.

And spil it turns out, for good reason. A shadow line that outlines the jaw all the way around ups ones score by +0.24 for Competence, +0.Eighteen for Likability, and +0.Legal for Influence.

Note: If the shadow separating your chin and neck isn’t dark enough, this is one characteristic you might be able to improve slightly ter Photoshop.&lt,


By far the most impactful characteristic wij found ter this examine, tho’, is a particular zuigeling of smile.

A smile with teeth visible gains an promedio of +0.33 for Competence, +1.35 for Likability, and +0.22 for Influence.

To our verrassing, a closed mouth smile has about half the effect on Likability and no statistically-significant effect on Competence or Influence.

Too much of a good thing can backfire, however. If you take your open mouth smile one step further into a laughing smile, you’ll get a Likability shove up to +1.49 but lose your gains on perceived Competence and Influence.

Style of Dress

The clothes don’t make the man, but the eye has difficulty distinguishing the difference.

Spil it were, nothing wij tested paid greater gains ter perceived Competence and Influence than formal dress— an media increase of +0.94 and +1.29, respectively.

If this bums you out, you’re not alone! Wij wished to believe that dress wouldn’t be such a major creador. (Ben, specifically, is not a fan of the suit jacket.)

Our measure of formality wasgoed represented by a dark-colored suit overheen a light-colored buttondown (with tie, for dudes) being most formal. Formality wasgoed deducted for missing tie or jacket. Bold or unusual colors and fashionable details were judged spil slightly less formal spil well, all the way to t-shirts and jeans which were marked “informal.”

Area Shown

When it comes to the “amount” of person shown, wij found that a bust (head and shoulders) or pecs (head to mid-body) slok is preferable.

Face-only close-ups pulled Likability scores down by an media of -0.21.

Utter assets photos negatively affected both Competence and Influence by -0.29.


The most interesting thing wij learned about Setting wasgoed its lack of statistically-significant effect.

This came spil a ease to mij, I voorwaarde admit, because I’m a strong believer te individual branding and having one’s portrait taken te whatever setting best suits them.



When it comes to pie and photo editing, moderation is key. Your best stir, wij found, is just to avoid any kleintje of extreme.

For example, wij found that having a too-dark photo (one that mimics nighttime or a dark slagroom) can druppel your Likable score by an media of -0.38.

A very high color saturation, on the other forearm, tends to make everything suffer. One’s perceived Competence drops by -0.31, Likability by -0.07, and Influence by -0.35. Who knew people had a thing against vibrant colors?

Black and White

Spil for black and white photos, wij couldn’t come up with any statistically-significant effect— positive or negative.

Ben and I were indeed expecting to see something like a slight rise te Influence and slight fall ter Likability. But alas, there is no significant difference, after all.

The Infographic

All that said, check out the graphic below for a visual of all our findings together.

We’d love it if you would share this infographic and spread the word about this research so wij can do more of it! Just be sure to include a listig back to for attribution.

And, of course, if you’d like terugkoppeling on your own photos (business, social, or dating), be sure to visit our main webpagina.

Know for certain how you’re coming across te pictures with Photofeeler. It’s free to use here. ??

(Click the picture to view it full-size.)

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