Over the weekend I took a trip through Facebook to look at the various Facebook profile photos that my friends and their friends had posted. The profile photo is probably the single most important component for personal expression. That’s why studying our profile photos will often reveal what is most important to us. Below is a list of 30 profile photos styles that you’ll find most often when exploring your Facebook friends list.
1. The Modified Cartoon Portrait
These were probably popularized by the classic Obama icon that was circulating prior to the inauguration last year. There were millions of Obama supporters that decided to change their profile photo to the Obama-like design but there continues to be many others that create similar cartoon-like modifications. I’m not sure of the filters in Photoshop that were used to generate these effects but they’re definitely interesting. The most creative individuals come up with their own unique designs.
2. The Reflective Sunglasses
I found at least three friends that had used this shot. The reflective sunglasses shot is a clear shot of the individual who’s profile it is and included in the photo is the reflection of the scene that individual is looking at. The reflection helps to provide some context of where the user had their profile photo taken. It’s an eye-catching shot, and one that countless Facebook users have used for their profile.
3. The Just Married Shot
Typically found right after a couple has been married, this photo will show a husband and wife posing for the camera, or the wife and father. While every couple is different and the pose may change from one couple to another, this photo expresses one of the major stages in our lives. Given the average age of a Facebook user, I’d guess that there are millions of users with the “I’m Married” shot as their profile photo.
4. I’ve Got a Mac, or the Photo Booth Warhol Shot
Right after a person purchases a Mac, one of the first things they explore is the applications and the one which tends to draw their attention most is the application that lets them make funny photos. One of the photos that’s often used is the four-color Andy Warhol photo. It’s one of the biggest time wasters of any Mac owner and many Facebook users are indeed Mac owners.
5. I’m A Photographer Shot
Photographers are proud about their hobby. The most avid photographers will post a photo of themselves with a camera in front of their face. Ironically, this shot breaks all sort of rules about portrait photos including the one which says good portraits include the a full shot of the subject’s face. There are no rules about Facebook photos though so feel free to post anything as your profile picture!
6. I’m a Family Man
The next stage in life after getting married is having children and there is no lack of Facebook users with children. This photo is with the father and his child or children. It emphasizes his dedication to his children and also displays a softer side of the individual. There are plenty of Facebook users with children and that means there are also a lot of family men on the site.
7. The Where’s Waldo Shot
Sometimes we become part of a movement which is much bigger then ourselves. Sometimes it’s a political movement (as mentioned later in this list) and other times its part of a large event. While participating in a large event, some Facebook users will post a photo of themselves buried among the crowd. It’s pretty much impossible to find the person unless you are them and you were at the event and know where you were standing. That’s why I call this one the “Where’s Waldo” shot.
8. Last Name Sign Shot
There are multiple variants of the last name sign shot. Some people post a photo of a celebrity wearing a shirt with their last name (as shown in the photo above). Others will stumble upon a street sign while traveling abroad. Some also post photos of the names of restaurant signs in foreign countries that resemble their last name. Whatever variant of the photo your friend is using, there is a good chance that you’ve seen someone that’s posted a photo like this.
9. I Love My Pet Photo
Whether you are into rabbits, dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, or any other domestic pet, if you have a pet, you’ve probably posted a photo of it. My sister currently has a photo of her with her dog, and another one of my friends has posted a picture with their parrot (as shown above). No matter what type of pet users have, the pet is often a big part of our lives which justifies displaying it as our profile photo.
10. I’m On A Boat or Plane
If you haven’t seen it already, you should probably see the “I’m On a Boat” video. While most people haven’t been on a yacht like the one in the “I’m On a Boat” video, many people enjoy the experience of traveling on a unique boat or plane. One of my friends, as pictured above, had a picture of himself sitting on what appears to be a plane for carrying paratroopers. Whether you are traveling by boat or plane, make sure you post the experience to your Facebook profile.
11. This Is Not Me Cartoon Photo
I don’t know why people do this but they’ll post the photo of an obscure cartoon photo. Ultimately I get the idea that the cartoon they are posting should theoretically share similar personality traits but shouldn’t your profile photo be of yourself?
12. The I’m Not Richie Rich Shot
While many of us aspire to be rich, that’s all that it currently is: aspirations. In order to share those aspirations with others we will post photos of the object that we would like to acquire one day. It’s the Facebook equivalent of vision boards. We all have hopes and dreams but displaying objects of our desire doesn’t make it easy for people to find you. Unless of course you have a distinct name or no other people with your name have posted similar objects.
13. The Personal Branding Master
People that are focused on their personal brand will post photos of themselves during moments of authority. Most often this a photo of themselves speaking at an event or just speaking in general to a group of people. I have to say that I currently fall into this category. That’s because I have tons of friends on Facebook that are affiliated with me through my professional life, not through my personal life.
14. The College Poster Photo
Remember how college students have posters of different things all over their door room wall? I know I definitely had a few. Some people will post the various types of shots that you can make with a little bit of alcohol, others will pay homage to their beer addiction. I remember having a photo of an island in some unknown location. There are countless posters out there and Facebook profiles are a great place to post them.
15. I’ve Got a Boyfriend/Girlfriend Photo
Facebook relationships can be an extremely complex thing. One of the things that many new couples do is post a photo of themselves together as a form of a public announcement to solidify the relationship. Let’s be honest though, it’s not just new boyfriends and girlfriends that post the photos. Many husbands an wives do the exact same thing. For this one I decided to pick on those with recently commenced relationships.
16. Change the World Photo
Some Facebook users try to change the world through their Facebook photo. Whether it’s to make a statement about a war that’s taking place somewhere or to speak out against a current policy, the photos make a statement and bring awareness to others that view their profile.
17. Sky Backdrop Headshot
I found numerous friends that had posted of themselves in the midst of some activity with the sky as the backdrop. Let’s be honest, the sky does serve as a nice backdrop. It’s a common occurrence though and coming up with a truly unique Facebook photo can be extremely challenging. The other problem with a sky backdrop is that it gives us no reference of the person’s location for the most part. While not a huge problem, it’s always nice to have some sort of context within a Facebook profile photo.
18. The Tourist Landmark Photo
You would think that people would stop taking photos of themselves directly in front of a famous landmark. Surprisingly they don’t. It’s as if someone in the future will disagree with them when they claim that they’ve actually been somewhere in world. For those moments, these individuals will have their tourist landmark shot as proof of their presence.
19. Personal Paradise
We each have our own vision of a perfect setting. For some it’s sitting on a hammock overlooking a Brazilian beach. Others may prefer to be hiking up Mt. Everest. Whatever your personal paradise is, it is something that is unique to each of us and when you arrive to your personal paradise, the best thing to do is to take a photo as a memory of that experience.
A small percentage of the world is fortunate enough to say that they’ve visited their personal paradise but for those that have, it often serves as their Facebook profile photo.
20. The Joke Photo
Not to be confused with the jokester photo which illustrates an individual who is expressing that humor is one of their greatest personality traits, the joke photo is just that: a joke. There are countless jokes which makes this photo such a unique one. I thought the one that I pictured above was extremely creative when I stumbled across it.
21. In A Mirror Shot
Made popular on MySpace, photographs taken through a mirror have become a standard for Facebook profile photos. There are many versions of this photo but no matter how it’s taken, it is always taken in a mirror. Some of the most popular mirror photo shots are done in an individual’s bathroom because that’s the most common location of a mirror. Mirrors are also often used as a substitute for the next photo in the list: the extended arm shot.
22. The New Toy Shot
Who doesn’t love the new car or motorcycle they just got? Typically after we throw down a lot of cash for an expensive ride, we like to post a photo of ourselves with it. There are also those that still like to pose with their vehicle despite it being new because they spend a lot of time with it. No matter what your reason for doing it is, there are a lot of Facebook users that post a photo of themselves with their new toy.
23. The Middle Finger Shot
I have no idea why, but among the younger generations there is always a photo of someone showing their middle finger. The longer the finger is extended, the better. This is the ultimate way of saying “I don’t give a shit what you think.” It most definitely gets the point across although I can’t recommend using this shot if you are looking to attract a lot of new friends.
24. This is My Baby!
Rather than posting a photo of themselves, many Facebook users will post a picture of their children. I understand, you love your child and they are the most important thing in your life. It’s hard to find someone though if you are searching through Facebook and a photo of their child keeps showing up though. Fortunately, if you share many friends in common with that individual though, there is a good chance that you will know that it’s them even though it’s a photo of their child. Who can blame the person if their kid is adorable though!
25. Me As a Baby
For those without a baby of their own, some users like to post a photo of themselves as a baby. While they most likely won’t post the most embarrassing baby photos, these photos tend to get a decent response from friends. I would argue that most people that choose to post their baby photos are female as baby photos are typically perceived as “cute”, something that most guys don’t want to be perceived as. Despite that there are still a few guys that post their baby photos but I’d count them as a rare occurrence.
26. The Jokester Photo
Some people just like playing around and for those individuals there is the jokester photo. When humor is an individual’s strongest personality trait, they’ll often times put a funny photo to cheer up your day. Facebook profile photos can make you laugh and these people will try their hardest to put a smile on your face.
27. Here You Go Shot
Some photographers enjoy the foreground/background dynamic and will take advantage of it by letting the subject offer a gift to the viewer. In the case of the photo above, that gift is a nice cold glass of beer but there are many variants of the “Here You Go” shot.
28. On Vacation Photo
Many people just don’t want to be at work. For those individuals they post pictures of the vacation they just went on or the vacation that they’d like to be on. It’s not a photo of the person but instead a photo of the vacation scene which is very similar to the “personal paradise” photo.
29. Professional Headshot
For those of you who are actors, professional headshots are practically a necessity for maximizing your odds of getting another gig. Professional headshots are useful for getting a job and Facebook is great for increasing your reach. If you are looking to act or model, then setting your picture as a professional headshot is not a bad idea.
30. This is Me Shot
This is by far the most popular Facebook profile photo. It also happens to be a classic portrait photo. The picture is head on and you can see every aspect of their face, from ear to ear and from chin to forehead. You can clearly see who the person is. There is nothing more simple, and nothing more human than the this me shot.