How to Create the Perfect Instagram Profile Picture (8 Do’s and Don’ts)

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Get a Good Instagram Profile Picture

Planning and perfecting your Instagram profile picture may seem like a lot of work, but trust us – it pays off.

Your profile pic is your calling card and the first thing Instagram users look at when visiting your profile. So, it’s important to get it right!

We’re here to help. In this article, you’ll find:

  • How to Change Your Profile Picture on Instagram
  • 8 Rules to Live By For the Best Instagram Profile Pictures
    • Personal Photo or Brand Photo?
    • How to Format Your Photos
    • How to Make Your Brand Stand Out

You’ll find all of that and more below! Read on for the 8 must-know rules of Instagram profile photos.

Instagram Profile Picture Size and Dimensions

Before you begin planning your Instagram profile pic, knowing Instagram profile picture dimensions is crucial. You want your photo as clear and high quality as possible!

The profile photo displays 110 x 110 pixels on mobile devices, and 180 x 180 pixels on desktop.

It also displays as a circle, so you’ll want to upload a square photo with a 1:1 aspect ratio. A photo of 200 x 200 pixels is a safe size to upload for clear quality. 

How to Change Your Profile Picture on Instagram

These are the steps you take to add a new shot, or to change your Instagram profile picture!

  • Open Instagram app
  • Navigate to your Instagram profile
  • Click Edit Profile (under your Instagram bio)
  • Tap Change Profile Photo

Here, you have some options for changing your profile photo. You can:

  • Opt to remove your current profile picture
  • Import a photo from Facebook to use
  • Take a photo on your mobile device’s camera
  • Choose from your camera roll

As you select your desired photo, you’ll see a circle cropping overlay on the screen. Move the picture around and zoom in until it’s centered the way you want it, then click Done!

[sc name=’instagram-boilerplate’]

8 Rules to Live By For the Best Instagram Profile Pictures

These are Tailwind’s expert tips for choosing cute Instagram profile pictures that work with your brand and Instagram aesthetic!

These tips are good to keep in mind for profile pictures on any social media platforms. In fact, you should consider using the same profile picture for all of your branded social media networks.

1. DO Decide Between a Personal Photo or a Brand Logo 

First, you’ll need to decide whether a photo of yourself or a brand logo or icon makes the most sense for your Instagram account.

Some things to consider:

A logo makes sense for business accounts with multiple owners or employees. It’s also easily recognizable in the feed and in Instagram Stories to your loyal followers!

logo as instagram profile photo

Types of businesses that benefit from a logo profile image: 

  • Retail
  • Media
  • Professional Services

A personal photo makes sense for a brand or business built around just yourself.

Types of businesses that benefit from a photo profile image: 

  • Bloggers
  • Lifestyle photographers
  • Influencers
  • Solopreneurs

2. DON’T Use an Off-Center Photo 

Playful angles and creative shots work great in your regular Instagram photos but can make cropping and centering your profile pic difficult.

Remember, you’ll need to upload a 1:1 square that is then cropped into a circle for your Instagram profile picture.

To get an eye-catching profile shot, you’ll want the focus of your photo (whether it’s a headshot or a logo) to be centered and as large as possible in that limited space.

3. DO Choose a Photo with Good Lighting and Clear Contrast

Muted, subtle shades in Instagram profile pictures can be hard to make out in a thumbnail unless there’s a clear difference between the background and the subject. 

You can use all white, all black, or any color that your outfit (and you) pop against!

high contrast profile photo on instagram

4. DON’T Choose a Trendy Photo You’ll Have to Update Frequently

With Instagram challenges taking off, it seems like theming your profile photo after seasons, holidays or current events is a good way to get in on the fun.

However, in the long run, this just means you’ll be switching out your photo more frequently. Who has time for that?

Followers also can identify your brand from your profile pic, so changing it often can cause followers to get confused and not view as many of your stories, etc.

Stick with a photo or a logo that’s timeless, and requires updating only every once and a while.

5. DO Take Your Aesthetic and Profession Into Account

A picture is worth a thousand words, and your profile picture is your first calling card to new and potential followers. 

Make sure it clearly conveys the aesthetic of your Instagram posts and Instagram Stories and communicates what you do! 

For example, photographers might hold a camera as a prop, or a baking blogger might hold a mixing bowl or a scrumptious dessert.

photographer holds camera in profile photo

Your Instagram profile photo color palette should also match the brand colors that show up most prominently in your feed. You can even add an extra snap to your profile by changing your Instagram bio fonts and keeping them aligned with your brand too!

6. DON’T Use a Full Body Photo

Refresher: your profile pic is a 110 x 110 circle on mobile, and a 180 x 180 circle on desktop. In the feed, it’s a tiny 40 x 40 circle!

That’s a small space, and it makes the full body and distance shots almost impossible to make out. 

So when you take your profile picture, focus on framing your head and shoulders in the shot.

head and shoulders profile photo

Pro tip: If you’re using a logo and your brand name is particularly long, think about using initials or a recognizable icon in your signature brand Instagram color palette to save space and create a recognizable detail.

7. DO Crop and Resize Your Photo Before Uploading

You can save yourself a lot of headaches by preparing your photos before you upload them.

Crop your photo into a square (and resize if necessary.) 200 x 200 works great! We wouldn’t suggest over 500 x 500 at max, as IG will compress the image.

By doing this, you can double-check centering and framing to ensure important details aren’t lost when your new profile picture displays in the Instagram circle frame.

8. DON’T Take Only One Shot

You may be tempted to call it one and done, but take at least 5-10 different options for your profile photo. Test different props, expressions, and poses to find what brings your personal branding on Instagram to life.

Plus, if you don’t want to use the same photo across all your social media channels, you can use some of these other shots!

Just remember to make sure your profile pic doesn’t clash with cover photos on your other social media channels (think LinkedIn and Facebook!)

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