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How to Take Great Facebook Photos

Michele Wanke
Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel

Forget about your wedding photo or senior portrait, these days the pinnacle of pictures is the Facebook profile pic. This highly coveted spot is typically reserved for a photo that makes you look as dynamic as possible. So how can you capture an eye-catching profile image to show off to all your Facebook friends?

LoveToKnow editor Michele Wanke posed this and other questions to world-renowned facial plastic surgeon and professor at Boston University School of Medicine, Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel. As the Chief of the Division of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Boston University Medical Center, Dr. Spiegel is also known around the world for his research on attractiveness.

How to Take Great Facebook Photos

LoveToKnow (LTK): How can social media fans use their natural assets to snap a dazzling Facebook photo?

Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel (JS): I have a number of simple tips for even the most camera-shy person looking to snap a stunning Facebook profile photo, including:

  • Work the eyes: Look up slightly towards the camera; it will make the eyes appear larger. Also, raise your eyebrows to create an illusion that your eyes are bigger and you're more alert.
  • Adjust your neck and chin: Slightly protrude your chin to slim your face and eliminate a double chin. In addition, lean your neck a bit towards the camera to give your face a more flattering appearance.
  • Lip tap: A minute before your photo, tap firmly on your lips a few times. This will send blood to your lips making them redder and fuller, which is considered an attractive look.
  • Pinch your cheeks: Press down or gently pinch your cheeks a few times to get a little bit of a rosy glow before you pose for your Facebook profile picture.
  • Stand at an angle: Position your body slightly to the left or right of the camera. This creates a slimmer body profile, and adds some interest to the photograph. Also, slightly lower one shoulder towards the camera. This will elongate your neck to make you appear slimmer.
  • Blink: Close your eyes and then open them quickly before the camera goes off. For example, if your photographer is counting to three before pressing the camera's shutter button, blink deliberately on two. This will help guarantee that your eyes are not closed during the picture. More importantly, it will allow you to appear with bright, open eyes. Remember, bright eyes are critical to looking good.
  • Smile with your eyes: A fake smile is using just your mouth for a smile. A true smile is when your whole face is laughing. Think about sending energy to your eyes or smiling with your eyes, and your beauty will shine through in the photograph.
  • Relax: Try hard to relax your entire face. A rigid jaw and clenched teeth don't look good in photos.

Advice for Teens

girl portrait

LTK: What advice do you have for teens with acne who want to look their best in a Facebook profile picture?

JS: Lighting can greatly affect how skin looks. Experiment with getting your photo taken with back or front lighting rather than lighting from the side. Side lighting often accentuates the presence of blemishes. Of course, you can also control what pictures you put up, so select good ones where your acne is not as noticeable. A great Facebook profile shot should offset any unflattering photos your friends might post on their pages.

Hair Styling Tips

LTK: How does hair fit into the equation? Should it be brushed back so that the person's facial features are prominently displayed in the photo, or would you suggest simply styling in a casual way?

JS: Hair style greatly influences how we are seen. Hair can mysteriously cover part of the face, be tossed to the side with happy indifference, or brushed back in a tight bun. Experiment with different styles to see what works best for you. Just remember that you don't want your Facebook photo to look too different from your everyday appearance or people are going to wonder whose picture is featured as your profile.

Additional Advice from Dr. Spiegel

Boy making silly grin

In addition to his user-friendly tips on how to make your Facebook profile photo look as amazing as possible, Dr. Spiegel has some extra words of wisdom to share with social media stalwarts which may surprise you. According to Dr. Spiegel, not all Facebook profile pics have to be pretty and posed. You don't have to channel your inner Cindy Crawford or Tom Cruise; rather, it's more important that you add a personal touch to your profile picture. If you are known for being a wild and crazy guy or you have a comical streak, then feel free to show off a bit of your personality in your photo. Also, keep in mind that Facebook is not a place that requires posting legal photo identification. Instead, it's a fun place to share personal aspects of your life with friends and family. If you enjoy using a silly photo or a cartoon avatar as your representation, then go ahead and express yourself.

How to Take Great Facebook Photos