How to Create The Perfect Instagram Profile Picture

Creating an aesthetically perfect Instagram profile is more than just a hobby. For some people, it’s a lifestyle. For others, it’s their entire career. There are themes for Instagram feeds. Color schemes, composition, the way you edit your photos – these are all integral to creating a cohesive Instagram look.

But people often forget that your Instagram profile is more than your bio and your posts.  When somebody clicks on your profile, your posts are halfway down the page! And if you like a picture, the first thing somebody sees when they click is not your carefully crafted bio.

It’s your Instagram profile picture.  

So many of us forget about the perfect profile picture, preferring to focus on our feed. But the profile picture is an important part of your Instagram profile that shouldn’t be overlooked. Read on to find out the steps to creating the perfect Instagram profile picture.  

Why Your Instagram Profile Picture Matters More Than You Think

Your Instagram profile picture is the first thing people will see when you like a picture, or watch their story, or send them a message. So it’s important that you have an eye-catching one.

Think of it like food. Let’s say you go into a bakery and are looking at cakes behind a glass display, with no flavors listed. You’re going to pick the cake that looks most appetizing. It’s much the same with your profile photo.

You want your Instagram profile picture to stand out from others. It should grab attention right when people see it.  

What Makes An Instagram Profile Picture Stand Out

You know what you want your Instagram profile picture to reflect. Maybe you even have a few ideas of exactly the type of pictures you want in that little frame.

But how do you make your Instagram profile both professional and unique?

The best Instagram profile pictures are part of a cohesive branding image. But remember that your brand is yours, and should reflect a healthy dose of your personality. Whether that’s with bright colors or classy, understated black-and-white photos, make sure your followers know who you are!

Keeping Your Instagram Profile Picture Coherent With Your Brand

Of course, the kind of attention you’re aiming for will be different based on your content. And your profile picture should reflect the heart and soul of your brand!

If you’re a travel account focused on adventure, a picture of you (literally) on top of the world while paragliding or on a mountain with an astounding view will make an Instagram user want to check you out.

For fashion bloggers, a stylish photo of yourself wearing the latest trends in a glamorous background could be the key to a great Instagram profile photo. Alternatively, a picture of you somewhere like fashion week shows your active involvement.

Freddy Cousin-Brown, a fashion Youtuber known for her love of all things girly and pink, knocks it out of the park with this profile picture.

The Instagram profile picture of Freddy Cousin-Brown

The peek over the trendy glasses shows off her style, her aesthetic, and a playful personality all in one. It’s also edited in the same way as the rest of her feed. Freddy’s Instagram profile picture is branded, enticing, and aesthetically coherent.

Freddy Cousin Brown's Instagram feed

For musicians, show a picture of you playing your instrument. Bonus points if it’s at some kind of live show. For artists, show a picture of yourself painting, drawing, or sculpting, or an example of your work.

Look at Chris Simpson, a popular web artist’s Instagram profile picture. The clever, funny drawing plays on his name, and showcases his art style. Understated, simple humor is what you’ll get here, as evidenced by the profile picture. 

Chris Simpson's Instagram Profile Picture

Your Instagram profile photo is your initial point of contact for new followers. Remember to keep it relevant to the content you produce on your Instagram account.

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Using Space Effectively With Your Instagram Profile Picture

But my Instagram profile picture is so tiny! You say. To this I say, remember that good things often come in small packages.

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Creating an eye-catching Instagram profile picture doesn’t have to be difficult. Most of us didn’t go to art or photography school. We don’t know what comprises the perfect composition or the best lighting.

To use your space well, it’s usually best that your picture is front and center. The focus of your profile photo should be the focus of your account. 

Interior designer Ashley Whittaker shows off her style and her decorating skills in her Instagram profile picture.

 

Some people deviate to great effectiveness. But before you deviate, be sure that that’s what you want in your brand!

Russian actress Svetlana Ivanova breaks the rules to intentional effect. The off-center, black and white image of her face is something her fans will be familiar with, and reflects her classy, cultural, public image.

 

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Color Is Your Advantage in Your Instagram Profile Picture

It’s no secret that we tend to like bright colors. An appealing color scheme can make or break an entire PR campaign. Because the Instagram Profile Picture is such a small space, using color (or the lack of it) can solidify a branding image.

Using bright colors in your Instagram profile picture grabs attention immediately. But that doesn’t meant that the colors should be overpowering. Popular fashion and interiors blogger Kate Spiers has a mostly white composition, which makes her face stand out even more.

 

 

 

Another handywoman and interior design miracle worker, Mr. Kate, utilizes color in a similar effect with her pink hair and bright, turquoise earrings – which perfectly sum up her bubbly and silly personality.

Mr. Kate's Profile Photo

 

But the lack of color can also create a lasting effect. Consider this silhouette shot from the full-time traveling Blank family. The sunset in the background makes the family aspect stand out, and shows us what kind of content and images followers will see on their Instagram.

 

Being Consistent With Your Instagram Profile Picture

Considering that Instagram is the first point of contact for many to another business, such as Youtube or Facebook marketing, your Instagram profile picture should be recognizable to any crossover followers.

While it doesn’t necessarily have to be the same photo, make sure your Instagram profile picture is at least similar to your profile pictures on other sites.

Case Study: Zoella

Let’s take a look at the queen of UK beauty YouTubers, Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella. She’s got a personal account, an account for her lifestyle brand, and a brand account for Zoella.

On Zoe’s personal account, her face and signature style welcome followers with the editing aesthetic they know and love. Zoe is particularly known for her long vlogs that show off every aspect of her life. Because she’s a Youtuber, her face and her brand are inseparable. 

 

Zoe Sugg's Instagram Profile Picture

 


Zoe’s Instagram profile picture also matches up with her highlights covers, which advertise some of those very things found in her vlogs. The color scheme and editing style stays consistent: bright, fun, but not overdone. 

 

On the Zoella account, her Zoella brand image takes the center. The simple black Z over a colorful background and border is bold, eye-catching, and consistent with the rest of her branding image, without being too busy.

The Zoella Instagram Profile Picture and Highlights

The highlights also reflect her brand.

Lastly, the Zoella lifestyle account showcases Zoe’s product range and her face at the same time within a bright, professional background.

 

An Instagram Profile Picture Is Powerful

Your Instagram profile picture is a small space, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked! Using colors and space effectively to showcase your brand can be what takes your Instagram profile from good to great.

Having a solid idea of what you and your brand represent will aid you in creating an Instagram profile picture that everybody will want to click on. Your profile picture is the face you show to the world, so remember to put your best side forward.

That one perfect shot could change everything.

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By Victoria Hendersen

Victoria is an American expatriate currently based in St. Petersburg, Russia. Originally from Santa Cruz, California, she lived in Bordeaux, France before relocation to Russia's cultural capital. Victoria holds a BFA in Film and Media Studies from UC Irvine.

She works as a copywriter and translator. An experienced travel blogger and vlogger, her main drive in life is discovering the jewels of lesser traveled cities. You can keep up with her travels on Instagram at @village_witch.

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