Hey Instagrammers. So we’re going to talk about another crucial part of your profile. That’s the profile photo. So where does the profile photo fall in the order of importance?
Well, I’d say it’s probably only second to the combination of your username and your profile name and well obviously your content (number one to all of that). But when we’re talking about the five or six things we have to optimize and your profile page I’ll probably put it at, like number two.
It’s important because it sets the stage for your account. A great looking profile primes people to think that this is a high quality account. Don’t be surprised if people follow you just for having a great profile shot. That actually does happen quite a bit. Great shot = I’ll follow you. Some of you may even look at your actual photos.
But if you’re a branded company, then I’d say, it really has less to do with your profile quality simply because, I don’t know what people really expect you to put besides your company name or just your logo. So in the case of business, people just subconsciously check off that, hey it’s not a pixel sized photo of a naked mole rat or a middle finger so we’re pretty much good. Regardless, Put some thought and effort into this. So you know what that being said, how exactly do you rock a profile photo and profile photo game of instagram.
Well first thing you need understand is how it technically works. So where exactly are you going to see the profile photo. Well you never used Instagram, I will tell you. One is on the profile page in the top left. Duh! But also you have a tiny thumbnail version of it in comments, and then again you might see it on the top of your profile, but on web and on Web, it’s a different size.
Right so your
your mobile profile and
then you have your comment miniature thumbnail.
Mobile phones and tablets always show the logo the same size but web essentially upgrades it.
So here’s the rule
110 pixels by 110 pixels is what you see on mobile.
180 by 180 is what you see on web.
So that means we should use a photo that is 180 by 180 pixels.
You really don’t want your photo to look pixelated or rasterized, if you’re fancy on web browsers, because a significant amount of the traffic actually is on web browsers.
Now we’ve covered the size and gotten that down, what do we need to say about shape. Well as the more astute in this Instagram Blog Course noticed, it’s a circle.
Now do you want to upload a photo that is a circle then? Well No. If you do that, and essentially the Internet explodes and it’s kind of like dividing by zero. It creates a black hole.
You can’t do it and it’s irresponsible to even try. So you upload a square photo. Yes a square. Who said rectangle? Screw You! You need a square. Luckily any time you upload a photo for your profile picture Instagram inside of the app actually help you crop it.
So it’s really not that big of a deal. Now everything else I can give you is in the form of wisdomly and wizardly advice really is just going to come down to what type of account you have or you’re going for at least. If you’re a company or a brand and you’re just making a profile for an extension to that, then it’s relatively simple. You put your logo on really not kidding on this one.
Your main goal is to provide something that’s consistent with your name and account. If someone expects to see something more than you want to meet that expectation with regards to logos there are a couple of tips though. If you can use the symbol of your logo and not the text. The symbol (if you don’t actually know what I’m talking about) is the graphic that generally accompanies the name of your company or often is just by itself right.
Nike is a swoosh
Puma’s is like a housecat and
Adidas is, I honestly don’t know what the hell Adidas is,
The reason we prefer to use a symbol is that the user can already see who you are by virtue of your account name and user name, so it’s kind of redundant. If you don’t have a symbol in your logo, it’s perfectly fine. A lot of people don’t. Then you have to use what’s called Logo Type. Logo type is your name but it’s in a stylized way.
So some companies don’t have symbols they just have their name, but it’s all funky. For example of this might be like;
Underarmour’s logo. It’s like a ‘U’ and in ‘A’, kind of mixed together.
There’s also this one, if you look at H&M. Literally just H&M. That’s their logo but it’s written funky and it’s in red.
Now if you don’t even have that, then just trying to put the most simple and uncluttered version of your logo you can. Sometimes we just don’t have non-text logos or the text we have is really similar to what you would just get if you typed it into a Word doc. That’s fine.
What you can do though is just go for the shortest thing you can.
You really just have to make do with what you have and keep in mind it’s going to be viewed in a circle. OK here’s an example of a company that didn’t do anything. This is foundr (minus the e at the end) and they do really well on Instagram. I mean they did a decent job with their logo, given the circumstances, not ideal, but they don’t have a symbol logo and that is technically their logo type.
So your logo? Well that’s boring right. How exactly can you stand out. Well, there’s two ways that I’ve seen that seem to work. The first one is to use the background of the page or the circle outline of your image in your logo. Let’s look at wework for example.
Wework as they do rentals for co-working spaces that are hip and cool all over the world. Here are what they did is they made a concentric circle inside of the gray line that automatically shows whenever you put a profile photo. So it looks like the image edge is actually part of the logo itself. Nicely done.
So nice. I almost want to pay $45 a day to use their co-working spaces. I say “almost” because $45 a day for cucumber water, kind of stupid.
But with that logo.Mmm…..I don’t know.
All right now here’s another one – WalMart. And yes, I know they are the Fortune 500 equivalent of the death star but their logo works White on White stands to highlight the actual color and the logo.
Here’s another one. TheOnion – I don’t know if you’ve ever read the onion, they are hilarious. They kind of do the same thing. They use the white background to blend in the page.
You know you get extra points for? Extra points if you can actually get your logo to work with that red and magenta circle, that shows around your profile when you have a story posted. But that is boss mode, and trust me we’ll get into the whole story’s thing later on.
I’ve only seen a couple accounts ever do it well.
Now if you want to spice it up a little more try using the inverse of your logo. Some branding experts would disagree that you should ever do this but I personally think it spices things up and people still recognize who you are. Look at Tinders website, and then look at the profile photo they have for example. They inverted their colors. Cool.
But what if you’re just a person and not a brand then. Again pretty straightforward as to your options. You, (get this) want to show your face. Not only do you want to show your face. You want to show a good photo of your face. OK here’s the thing with personal accounts your face conveys your personality way more than your body or your clothes.
We are social animals. We get a lot more information off of the face than we do with your testicles. So first thing, don’t go for a body shot. Show your face as much as you can.
The second thing you should do is make sure that you have a high resolution image. Those preferably shot professionally and that essentially means that shot with a good camera, light and someone who knows what they’re doing.
I don’t generally mean like, you know the hostage photos you took, standing next to a wall for your work lanyard. I mean like a professional headshot, like for instance, what did you use for your LinkedIn photo. I’m not saying use Linkedin’s photo because sometimes those are really too stuffy, but you want one that’s as high quality as possible.
If you’re Photoshopped from like an iPhone it’s fine, but it’s not great. You’re not really doing yourself justice. Remember this like when the first things people see. No matter what apple says, photos taken from an iPhone and photos of me with an actual person who knows what they are doing with the camera went from potato face to glorious magnificence.
Now a nice camera will shoot at a high resolution and that means crisper images. Now why is that exactly you ask, considering that it’s going to be 180 by 180 pixels no matter what.
Well a nice camera actually will easily triple the pixels in the same space. So when Instagram downsizes it on their servers, their servers can pick the best pixels in the photo, and that’s actually why it ends up being sharper.
I know, if you shoot something in a low resolution it just doesn’t have as much to work with.
You also make sure your photo doesn’t have a bunch of noise in the background. Now when I say noise, I mean basically things to look at. Visual noise. Seriously, have you seen how small the thumbnails are on the Instagram app, especially in the comments.
You won’t be able to see any of that and it’ll actually just make your image look like a smudge on the screen. You could either show them one thing (your face) or nothing. Try to show them more than one thing, they’ll see nothing, because nothing is essentially what you get when you have two visual noise on the image.
Use a plain background photo. And if you’re really nice, I might show you how to use Photoshop to remove your background manually. It’s brutal what you can do it.
OK and last up if you are a themed account. Again it’s one of those counts of just post photos on a theme and then only kind of adjacent supports your business or your industry. Well you kind of have the same options.
You can use a logo or just use the best photo you have from what you think will be your content. If you’re a comedy account, well you can get away with anything. Really get away with the lower resolution photo click for Jerry from the Tom and Jerry cartoon series.
But if you’re not a colony count, then really the same rules apply. Keep it simple and then keep it high resolution. If you can make it blend well with the container line or the background, well extra points.
The only other tip I can give you is since you have a more wide open canvas to work with, make something colorful. Seriously color should never be underestimated. Why? It’s because of your comment thumbnail. You’re going to get a lot of viewers that click through your comments to your page because that’s a big part of growing your account.
What stands out when you’re scrolling through 100 comments. Well something that’s crisp and has colors in it. Personally I like deep reds like Airbnb. Another example is thoughtbot. Red for whatever reason kind of always stands out, especially in white and gray which is what the tax in the background is.
Green works as well but only if you use it as an overwhelming color or it’s a shade that you don’t always see. Again dark green actually kind of blends in a little bit more.
All right guys that is really it for now. To quickly summarize this blog post;
Remember we shoot for a square image.
It’s a 180 by 180 pixels and,
you want a simple symbol logo as a brand or a professional shot of your face if you’re a human person.
Themed accounts can really do whatever they want.
My suggestion is to go for something that’s colorful and then matches your content. Next blog post, I’ll show you how you can put up your photo, what to do if you have no editing tools or motivation in life. And then finally if you do want to get professional designer, professional photos done, what exactly are your options.
For now, let’s jump to the comments section and see your logos.