Why a Stranger should choose your profile photo

April 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Why a Stranger should choose your profile photo


Photographer Burleigh HeadsPhotographer Burleigh Heads

Photographer Burleigh Heads

In these days that seem to race past, we live in a digital whirly bird. Where every image is carefully edited and scrutinised before being uploaded. We want our On-line self to reflect the best version of our Real Life self, right? 

But, what if we are not so great at selecting the best images of ourselves as we think we are?


Photographer Burleigh HeadsPhotographer Burleigh Heads

Photographer Burleigh Heads


The EXPERTS say:

A study led by Dr David White, a psychologist from UNSW, looked into how our self-selected profile pictures are practically perceived by people scrolling through our social platforms.

“Selecting profile pictures for social, romantic and professional sites is a common task in the digital age, and choosing the right image can be critical,” David says of the study’s aims. “We make inferences about an individual’s character and personality within a split second of seeing a photograph of their face. These first impressions can influence important decisions such as whether someone wants to befriend you, date you or employ you.”


Considering 1.8 billion people worldwide have an active Facebook account, and further, that employers tend to check social channels when considering a candidate for a job, it’s a fair consideration to look into how best to select the correct profile picture to represent us digitally.

“We make inferences about an individual’s character within a split second of seeing a photograph of their face. These first impressions can influence whether someone wants to befriend you, date you or employ you.”

Across the 600 participants, the study uncovered that self-selected images weren’t received as well as images that had been selected by strangers.


“Our study shows for the first time that people select more flattering profile images for complete strangers than they do for themselves,” David confirms.


Photographer Burleigh HeadsPhotographer Burleigh HeadsEmbargoed to 0001 Friday November 27
Undated file handout photo from 'Dove' of model from their advertising campaign that used "real" women for its promotions and not airbrushed models. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday November 26, 2009. Women are suffering poor self-esteem because of advertising campaigns which use airbrushing techniques to portray "unattainable perfection", a survey claimed today.
Images of models which have been digitally altered are causing more than two thirds of women to suffer low confidence about their bodies, the study by beauty brand Dove has found. See PA story CONSUMER Airbrush. Photo credit should read: Dove/PA Wire


In a recent Dove ad, an FBI forensic artist sketched a series of women based purely on the way they described themselves and again as others described them. The artist could only hear their voices, not see their faces. 

video about the experiment, which has been viewed on YouTube more than 22 million times and counting, revealed stark difference between the way the women saw themselves and the way others saw them. Across the board, the self-described portraits were the least attractive -- suggesting, according to the Dove marketing team, that we are all more beautiful than we think we are. 


Photographer Burleigh HeadsPhotographer Burleigh Heads


So, why can't we see ourselves as we really are? 

Over the course of our lives, experts said, our sense of self-image develops through a complicated interplay between cultural ideals, life experiences and accumulated comments by others. The result is, inevitably, a distortion of reality. 

"You could look at a photograph, taken by Megan Rizzo a Photographer Burleigh Heads and you would always be able to pick yourself out because we all have internal representations of what we look like," said David Schlundt, a psychologist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. 


"But all of your experiences, all the teasing you went through as a child, all the self-consciousness you had as a teenager, and all the worrying about whether you would be accepted as good enough or attractive enough are called forth in" how people think of themselves, Schlundt said. "It's not a perceptual thing. It's a combination of emotion, meaning and experience that builds up over our lifetime and gets packaged into a self-schema." 


The bulk of research on self-perception has focused not on facial features but on body image, but the two are related. And research suggests that culture plays a major role in what we consider beautiful and how we think we stack up to others, said Rachel Salk, a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. 


"Women are socialized in Western societies to believe their bodies are never thin enough," Salk said, adding that men are not immune from body dissatisfaction. "We know it is a normative experience. The majority of women feel that way. They almost feel like they should feel that way." 

Media clearly has a profound influence. In a notorious study of Fiji by Harvard Medical School psychologist Anne Becker, the introduction of western television shows to the Pacific island induced a rapid shift from idealizing full-bodied women to a desire for thinness among girls. The result was a dramatic increase in eating disorders. 


"What we always push for is appreciating one's body for its functionality," Salk said. "If women can learn to appreciate their bodies for what they do, whether it be running or having a baby, it may help women be less critical of their bodies."


I would love to hear your thoughts. You can comment below.


So, maybe it’s time you employ a stranger or your barista to choose your lead image, or better still, trust me, your photographer, Megan Rizzo, Just as Tiffany did recently.


Old Hollywood sixties photoshoot


What Women Shouldn't Wear after Age 40



Megan Rizzo is the owner and head photographer here at Studio Fascino on the Gold Coast, Australia.


You can find out more here in The Studio Fascino Portrait Magazine: CLICK


And you can view the Portrait Galleries here: CLICK


Exist in Photographs











No comments posted.