The Power of the Profile Pic

sacramento-headshot-woman-photography by Rachel Sima Photography

In the era of social media the Profile Pic looms largest of all. It is the contextual frame around our entire work history on Linked-In, the sole criterion of our desirability on Tinder, and the purest incarnation of our curated Facebook presentation. In one study, Ok Cupid aggregated 11.4 million opinions on what makes a photo of a person appealing to others by asking participants to decide “who would [they] rather go on a date with?” In this experiment, the same subject appeared in different types of photos (iphone, DSLR, etc.)

The study found resounding evidence that participants interest in the same subjects varied widely based on:

1. The class and quality of the camera they were photographed with

2. The photographer’s use of good lighting technique

3.  Shallow depth of field (when the subject is in focus and the background is blurry.)


To summarize, the study found that people expected to prefer people who had been professionally photographed. This, of course, defies logic. It’s the primitive brain’s preference for aesthetics over everything. Yet another example, in a sea of examples, that we’re wired to see “pretty” as “good,” even when that means passing judgement on a person based on the class of camera on which they were photographed. Let’s, for a moment, push the ethical problems to the side and ask this: knowing this information, what can you do with it? The answer, writ in bold across the cover of Yesterday’s News is, get professional head shots.

Researchers out of Princeton University found that people make enduring judgments about the trustworthiness, competence, and like-ability of another within a fraction of a second after seeing someone’s face. The tradition of our primary financial investment in our appearance being high heels, a luxury vehicle or a tailored suit jacket is outdated. The scientific research suggests that we adjust to an era where the arena of our first, and therefore most crucial, presentation lies: our photograph.

This fall, I’ll be announcing two dates for Headshot Mini Sessions. That means, for less than the cost of a new dress from Anthropologie, you can walk away with a series of gorgeous professional headshots. Subscribe below to be first to know when the Headshot Mini Sessions dates are announced!