Your Facebook profile photo can say a lot about you, whether you realise it or not. While you may think you are innocently choosing a picture that best reflects the 'you' of that particular moment, you are actually communicating an awful lot to people that stumble upon your profile. Much of which you might not actually want to communicate at all. Below are a selection of the most popular profile photo types and what they say about the person. *
You change it more than once per day
These people are probably under the age of 18, female and also may have too much time on their hands. They see their Facebook profile photo as a way to express themselves to their friends while showing them how good they look, how many different outfits they have and all the amazing ways they are having fun and socialising. Don't be surprised if you find people blocking you however, to free up their newsfeeds from updates about you changing your picture.
The couple shot
There are a few variations of the couple shot. If many of your friends are in the 25-35 age range, the chances are you will have to sit through a few variations of shots from their wedding day (which will have been preceded by shots of stag/hen dos), which can last for up to a year after the actual wedding. People who opt for the couple shot for their Facebook profile photo are undoubtedly trying to communicate the happiness of their coupledom to their friends, opting for this over their own personal identity. Also common is the couple holiday shot, which does the simultaneous job of showing your friends you are united as a couple, while also enjoying fabulous holidays together. Quadruple the smugness of this person if their couple shot features them being kissed on the cheek/lips by their partner.
The matching profile and cover photo
If you are combining your cover photo with your profile photo found on Facebook Timeline to make up a complete, quirky image, the chances are you work in social media and/or have too much time on your hands. A small percentage of your friends will appreciate the concept and may even try to match you in the geekiness stakes, while the majority will likely make fun of you while telling you that your job consists of going on Facebook all day long. Users who opt for this profile image will also probably have the words 'ninja' somewhere in their profile description.
Choosing a profile picture that is simply a slogan (in the form of text, a tshirt, funny poster image, hand-written note etc.) says quite a lot about the person. The slogans may vary from being political, ironic, humorous or likely also geeky. It sets a tone about your Facebook profile but the impact may be lost to your Facebook friends, or new friends, who will wonder why you are so against showing a picture of yourself on your profile.
The action shot
A classic profile photo that may consist of you mid star-jump, diving into a pool or running on the beach. It shows your friends that you're able to have a good time and are fun. This is a classic shot in particular for students, who may also be going through the inevitable 'experimental photography' stage with their friends, where not only does every situation have to be accompanied by photos, but where they will also start to get a bit 'arty'.
The arty shot
The arty profile shot can contain anything from silhouettes, random pieces of fruit, half/quarter of a face, a close-up of an eye, elongated shadows, or an actual piece of art which the person in the photo may be stood next to, imitating or reflecting it. This person has likely been on Facebook for quite some time and is able to show their friends that they have extended beyond using their profile photo purely for vanity purposes and are now able to express themselves and their creativity emotionally. Expect black and white photos to also feature heavily in this person's profile overall.
The friend shot
If you go for a group shot as your profile photo, while of course you genuinely like your friends and like to be reminded of the good times you had together, there is undoubtedly an element of bluster here, as you want the rest of your friends to know just what good friends you have and how much you have a good time together. Harsh but true.
The celebrity picture
A trickier one as this can go one of three ways. If the person has a picture of a celebrity as their profile photo, this may just be a leftover from the celebrity photo meme of last year, showing that they don't really use Facebook all that much and haven't gotten around to changing it yet (parents may feature in this category). If this isn't the case, and someone has gone for a flattering celebrity photo look-alike, they are likely hiding their vanity under a thin veil of humour. If they have gone for an unflattering celebrity look-alike, they are so proud of their actual looks that they are able to send themselves up with an unflattering profile photo.
If the profile photo has had any sort of effect laid on it, such as a filter with Instagram, see the entry above 'matching profile and cover photo'.
The handheld shot
If the person's profile photo features themselves taking the picture, likely with a phone in their hand while standing in front of a mirror, the chances are that they looked so good at that particular moment but without someone on hand that they couldn't let the opportunity pass. This may also fall into the 'arty shot' category. You can tell which one it is by how good they look in the photo itself.
The DJ shot
Don't be fooled by someone whose profile shot features them DJ'ing. They are probably not an actual DJ but did it a friend's birthday party once. Nine times out of ten this shot will feature them holding the headphones in place with one shoulder while their spare hand is spinning the record.
*Please note that this is based on complete conjecture, personal opinion and has no scientific basis whatsoever.