21 Tips for Creating a Better Profile Photo

Dana Corriel, MD lists 21 ways you can improve your photo to optimize your social media profile. Part of a series of articles on how to optimize presence.

August 29, 2023

Don’t Just Say Cheese

Believe it or not, you no longer need to rely on the expertise of an expensive photographer to create a photo good enough to display on your social media profile that’s scroll-stopping.

You can stop scroll-traffic by simply implementing a few basic rules.

As promised in my 28 Ways to Improve LinkedIn Presence as a Doctor, which you can read here, I’m hereby expanding on idea #2, which was to “add a professional profile picture: Choose a high-quality, friendly, and approachable photo that reflects your personality”.

For those of you looking to up-leveling your photo, here are 20 different considerations for enhancing your picture for a professional profile photo:


  1. Study other’s headshots to see what qualities you like or dislike. You can use our Doctor Directory, where each doctor has a unique profile built for them, with a headshot representing it.
  2. Good Lighting: Ensure the photo is well-lit, preferably using natural light or a soft, diffused light source.
  3. Clear and Sharp Focus: Ensure the photo is in focus and sharp, avoiding any blurriness.
  4. Proper Composition: Use the rule of thirds to compose the photo, placing the subject off-center for a more visually appealing result.
  5. Simple Background: Choose a clean and uncluttered background that doesn’t distract from the subject.
  6. Professional Attire: Dress in appropriate and professional attire that aligns with your industry and the image you want to convey.
  7. Grooming: Pay attention to grooming details, such as neat hair, well-groomed facial hair, and appropriate makeup.
  8. Confident Expression: Exude confidence and approachability through a genuine smile or a composed, professional expression.
  9. Eye Contact: Make sure your eyes are focused and engaging, looking directly at the camera. This doesn’t have to be set in stone, of course. If you’re going for a more casual vibe in your online profile, or building a brand around artistic expression, then you can certainly get creative here.
  10. Natural Pose: Keep your body posture relaxed and natural, avoiding stiff or awkward positions.
  11. Head and Shoulders Shot: Opt for a head and shoulders shot that allows your face to be the main focus of the photo.
  12. Neutral Color Palette: Choose clothing and background colors that are neutral and harmonious, avoiding distracting or clashing colors.
  13. High-Quality Resolution: Use a high-resolution photo to ensure clarity and detail.
  14. Crop and Frame: Adjust the cropping and framing to ensure the photo is properly centered and highlights your face.
  15. Image Balance: Achieve a balanced composition by considering the visual weight of elements within the photo.
  16. Post-Processing: Enhance the photo using photo editing software to adjust brightness, contrast, and color balance if necessary.
  17. Authenticity: Capture your true personality and portray yourself authentically in the photo.
  18. Consistency: Ensure your profile photo is consistent across different platforms to establish a recognizable personal brand.
  19. Professional Photographer: Consider hiring a professional photographer who specializes in portrait photography for optimal results.
  20. Feedback: Seek feedback from trusted colleagues or friends to get their perspective on the photo and make improvements if needed.
  21. Regular Updates: Keep your profile photo up to date to reflect your current appearance and ensure relevancy.


Now, I know that this is a lot to take in. Especially since we’re doctors, after all, and not full-time artists.

The key is to take things on in baby steps, and not allow yourself to get overwhelmed.


Authenticity: Capture your true personality and portray yourself authentically in the photo. Click To Tweet


I hope that this helps you. It is just a small part of what I teach, a small part of marketing ourselves as thought leaders. Because most of you have day jobs, you can slowly grow “on the side” and watch as your dreams (of writing a book, or landing lucrative speaking gigs, or expanding your practice, etc) can slowly take shape.

Speaking of side ventures, you can join our newest interactive space for free, if you’re a doctor on Facebook, right here, in our Doctor Side Ventures.

You can also up-level your online presence by joining as a NETWORK member, and using the unique perks SoMeDocs offers, including our PODS.

By considering these tips, above, you can enhance your professional profile photo and present yourself in the best possible light.

Now go snap those shots!

Dana Corriel, MD

Dana Corriel, MD

“I haven’t LEFT medicine, I’m simply taking time to tackle its issues from a different angle. I’m stepping out of the traditional medicine box.”

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email opmed@doximity.com. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Find out what we’re looking for here and submit your writing, or send us a pitch.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.


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