Treating your profile photo as part of your brand

By |2014-08-26T20:59:45+00:00Aug 26th, 2014|

While it may sound vain, I’ve always felt that your profile photo is just as important as your logo when it comes to representing your personal brand. In all the years that I’ve been a photographer with a website and a social media presence, I’ve only had four profile photos including this one. To that end, I’ve also only had four main logos to graphically represent my personal brand.

I totally get the idea that some users have where they leverage frequent profile photo changes to convey their own brand – maybe it’s quirky or frenetic – and it works for them. However, there is something to be said about consistency and allowing your viewers to learn and immediately associate the little avatar that scrolls through their stream with you.

Aside from wanting to have my profile photo capture the essence of who I am, I also want to make sure that contains identifiable colors and patterns. To that end, I made sure to downsize the photo to a 30×30 pixel square and audit whether there it was easily identifiable. After all, one of my main goals when I post new content is for you to instantly know that it’s from me simply by glancing at my avatar.

I take everything that I associate with my name extremely seriously and choosing my profile photo is no exception. And with that, I want to send tons of thanks, kisses and hugs to my wife, Nicole, for being so gracious to take this photo of me. I couldn’t have asked for a more accomplished photographer to take it.

53 Comments

  1. Kathy Porupski August 26, 2014 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Great profile pic Brian Matiash… :)

  2. Thomas Hawk August 26, 2014 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    totally agree. :)

  3. Todd Sipes August 26, 2014 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    True. But I also like to be a human with an evolving profile.

  4. Barry Blanchard August 26, 2014 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    Brian Matiash I agree. Besides, its good to see your smiling face nephew.

  5. Brian Matiash August 26, 2014 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Not sure how treating your profile photo as part of your personal brand has anything to do with preventing you from being a human with an evolving profile, Todd….

  6. Kelly-Shane Fuller August 26, 2014 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    There’s no knife in the photo, how am I going to know its you if I’m not worried about you cutting me?!

  7. Brian Matiash August 26, 2014 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    Kelly-Shane The knife is in my hand below the frame. It’s cuttin’ time! :)

  8. Kelly-Shane Fuller August 26, 2014 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    Ahh, sneaky… And you’re so smiley about it.

  9. Brian Matiash August 26, 2014 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    Heh, Thomas Hawk – that profile photo goes wayyyyyyyy back. ;)

  10. Brian Matiash August 26, 2014 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    Hugs, Uncle Barry!

  11. Barry Blanchard August 26, 2014 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    I’m keeping mine for a bit. It’s as cool as Robert Scoble’s… almost. :D

  12. Robert Scoble August 26, 2014 at 9:21 pm - Reply
  13. Brian Matiash August 26, 2014 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Nothing beats the Scoble shower scene w/Glass profile photo. Nothing.

  14. Todd Sipes August 26, 2014 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    People evolve. I’m not the same person I was 5 years ago. I like my profile photo to reflect that evolution. Nothing wrong with either; to each their own.

  15. Robert Scoble August 26, 2014 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    My profile photo is better than yours. Keep trying.

  16. Robert Scoble August 26, 2014 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    :-)

  17. Brian Matiash August 26, 2014 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    I’m still totally lost by the point you’re trying to make, Todd. Regardless, I still love ya.

  18. Todd Sipes August 26, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Nobody’s will ever be as good as yours, Robert; it was taken by the master himself (bravo, Mr. Hawk)!

  19. Brian Matiash August 26, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    It’s part of Google lore now, Robert. :)

  20. Mandy Sloan August 26, 2014 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    I have had a million and 5 profile photos! To be fair I stuck with my last one for a pretty long time and the only reason I changed to this one is because I look so stinkin happy in it! I’ll probably switch back to the one of me laying in cameras at some point! Brad and I worked too hard on that one to let it just fade away!

  21. Robert Scoble August 26, 2014 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    Exactly! :-) And it was made at first light on January 1,2012 at top of Glacier Point in Yosemite with Scott Jarvie behind Thomas. Hard to beat that!

  22. Todd Sipes August 26, 2014 at 9:36 pm - Reply

    Brian – You want your photo to represent your brand and stay the same. I want mine to change and evolve as I do. That’s all. Always love.

  23. Erika Ruth Thornes August 26, 2014 at 9:36 pm - Reply

    I cycle through a few, but I don’t get my photo taken often. I need to be in front of the camera to get profile photos, and I’m not one for selfies, no matter how much I try. I think it is good to have a few. I sometimes pop up something different, but then go back to one of my standards. But, I get your point on branding.

  24. Brian Matiash August 26, 2014 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    Todd Still so confused. My photo, logo and brand do evolve – hence today’s most recent change. While I may not change them as often as you, that certainly doesn’t mean that it hasn’t or doesn’t evolve. Mwah.

  25. Scott Jarvie August 26, 2014 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    And sometimes the brand you want to convey is fun and quirky and ever exploring and ever trying new things. Therefore I find sticking with one profile to be very terrible idea for myself.

    Besides I’m still trying to find the one that will attract the lady folk. haha

  26. Brian Matiash August 26, 2014 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    Scott Exactly. Just as I wrote in my main post. Minus the part of attracting the lady folk but that certainly never hurts to keep in consideration. ;)

  27. Robert Scoble August 26, 2014 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    Scott lady folk? I don’t think you have a problem in that department!

  28. Dave Cox August 26, 2014 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    Agree! I stick to the one profile pic myself… I think it’s the creepy neck beard Scott ;-)

  29. Scott Jarvie August 26, 2014 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    Brian Matiash haha i thought I read it all… but glad you mentioned that part.

    Glad you guys have some excuse to do the one profile thing. Otherwise i’d just think it’s pure boringness.

    Robert Scoble haha i don’t know what you’re talking about. Oh wait… I can see the confusion. I did say lady folk… it should have been singular and capitalized. haha

  30. Amy Heiden August 26, 2014 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    What’s a profile photo? ;-)

    Ok let’s be serious…I see both sides, because having a photo that represents “you” across all social media sites so that’s it’s recognizable is definitely beneficial in many regards. That being said, I like taking photos of myself in the funky, unique places I visit (and I also have ADD) so I often change my profile photo to reflect the new things I’ve been exploring. I don’t have the same photo across all social media sites though, which I’m sure is definitely confusing.

  31. Todd Sipes August 26, 2014 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    What Amy said. And I’m certainly no social media mogul so I don’t take it all that seriously.

  32. Scott Wyden Kivowitz August 27, 2014 at 4:59 am - Reply

    Nicely said my friend. Awesome photo as well!

  33. Reichlyn Aguilar August 27, 2014 at 5:04 am - Reply

    Love this shot, Bri. So professional!

  34. Carolyn Klein Lagattuta August 27, 2014 at 7:19 am - Reply

    Great shot!

  35. Brian Bonham August 27, 2014 at 7:31 am - Reply

    I’m a fan of the profile pic in which you can recognize the person when you meet them on the street. I’ve been to a lot of photowalks and public gatherings since the advent of social media and always appreciate when I can spot a person I know from their profile pic.

  36. Colby Brown August 27, 2014 at 7:44 am - Reply

    That’s it Brian Bonham…I am forever wearing a wig for my future profile pics so I can go incognito for photo walks from now on :)

  37. Todd Sipes August 27, 2014 at 7:45 am - Reply

    Not everyone can nail a “blue steel” pose like you, Brian.

  38. Colby Brown August 27, 2014 at 7:47 am - Reply

    Another idea would be to get tattoos of my sponsors on the small of my back…that way I don’t have to keep showing photos of their products on social media. I can just squat down to take a photo and BAM….there they are :)

  39. Brian Bonham August 27, 2014 at 7:47 am - Reply

    Todd I tried for the shit-eating grin but I just can’t pull it off.

  40. Brian Bonham August 27, 2014 at 7:48 am - Reply

    Great idea Colby as long as you keep the g-string tucked in the pants.

  41. Colby Brown August 27, 2014 at 7:48 am - Reply

    I promise nothing Brian Bonham. That thing has a mind of its own

  42. Todd Sipes August 27, 2014 at 7:50 am - Reply

    Tramp-stamp sponsorship. I think you’re on to something, Colby.

  43. Amy Heiden August 27, 2014 at 8:04 am - Reply

    I hear tramp stamps while twerking are all the new rage Colby!

  44. Colby Brown August 27, 2014 at 8:17 am - Reply

    booom Amy Heiden! Next Denver photo walk here I come!

  45. Todd Sipes August 27, 2014 at 8:22 am - Reply

    Amy – better work on that Coast flashlight tramp stamp

  46. Joe Ercoli August 27, 2014 at 8:27 am - Reply

    LOL, I remember the night we met, Brian, and we recognized each other from our profile pics.

  47. Maki Silberberg August 27, 2014 at 8:35 am - Reply

    I was gonna write something to the effect of agreeing and then got distracted by the thought of Colby Brown’s tramp stamps and twerking. Giggle.

  48. Colby Brown August 27, 2014 at 8:36 am - Reply

    Mission accomplished Maki Silberberg. My goal each week is to make sure I can side track atleast two of Brian Matiash public posts into a different direction.

    It takes skill to move the conversation from branding and social platform profile photos to tramp stamps and twerking….but it isn’t impossible ;)

  49. Maki Silberberg August 27, 2014 at 8:44 am - Reply

    You got #madskillz Colby *grin*

  50. Kenji Kwok August 27, 2014 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    Brilliant Tip, Brian! Thank you for sharing. ☺️

  51. Gordon Laing August 28, 2014 at 3:09 am - Reply

    Nice photo Brian Matiash – as a camera geek, I can’t help but try and identify the gear in the image and wonder if it was a deliberate choice to convey a sense of seriousness or brand loyalty. Is there a reason why you chose to pose with a big lens? I know from experience that it does, for better or worse, identify you as a ‘serious’ photographer, but I wondered what your feeling was. My profile pic also has a white lens, although I chose a pose where the brand was not obvious -most assume it’s Canon, but it’s actually Konica Minolta, pre Sony! I am also thinking about personal brand right now as I’m having some new business cards printed. I’m toying with Cameralabs on one side and me on the other with my social links. What do you think?

  52. Brian Matiash August 28, 2014 at 10:49 am - Reply

    Gordon The inclusion of the 70-400mm lens was 100% purely due to the fact that it was what I was shooting with the entire time we were at these falls. I had visited this area just two weeks prior and shot primarily with my 16-35 and 24-70 lenses. So, for this shoot, I wanted to focus on isolating specifics parts of the creek and waterfall. It actually wasn’t until the end of our shoot that Nicole offered to take sample headshots for me. In fact, the thought of which lens I had on didn’t come into play for either of us.

    I totally see the point you’re trying to make but, at least in this case, it doesn’t apply at all. In fact, if I had put more thought into it at the time, it’d probably be easier to compose the photo if I had a smaller lens on but ultimately, I’m really happy with how it turned out.

  53. olivierjules August 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    great pic!

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