Identify a Person Character using his/her Facebook Profile Picture

Sunday 15 July 2012 4 comments

Identify a Person Character using his/her Facebook Profile Picture
Your Facebook profile photo can say a lot about you and also about others, 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.

While people think that the photo they choose is some sort of individual statement, they're usually wrong. Here are the 10 most misguided approaches that people take when picking out a profile photo. Each sends out all sorts of information that the person may not have intended. And while there are some sub-genres and lesser known variations, most of the pictures on the social networking behemoth fall into one of these categories.

The Portrait

How to Spot It: A clear photo of the subject from the waist (or higher) up and includes the entire face.
What It Says About You: That you are a normal, well-adjusted adult who is confident in your appearance. Basically, you're pretty boring. However, if it is a headshot, author photo, or other promotional material, it means you are a narcissistic careerist. If it is a self portrait, you are slightly annoying. If the photo is of you in your bathing suit, you are probably hot and insecure.

The Far and Away

How to Spot It: The subject is so far from the camera that you can discern there is a person in the frame, but can't pick out any details of his face or appearance.
What It Says About You: You are a private person who doesn't want any old gawker knowing what the hell you look like. You are probably slightly shy and reserved until people get to know you. Either that or you got fat or had a botched Lasik surgery and you don't want the mean girls from college knowing about your gut/lazy eye.

The Up Close and Impersonal

How to Spot It: The subject is so close to the camera that you can only see part of her face or appearance.
What It Says About You: You want people to think that you don't want to be recognized on Facebook, but you really do and you mask that in pseudo artiness. You had an imperfection when you were younger (lazy eye, acne, stutter, irredeemably bad haircut) and still haven't gotten over being teased. Now you're the kind of person who is alone at parties not because you're shy, but because once people talk to you, they get annoyed.

The Scrapbook Photo

How to Spot It: A picture of the subject when he was in his childhood, whether a candid shot or a school picture he made his mother dig out of a box in her attic.
What It Says About You: You are the type of person who thinks that everything in the past is better than it is now. You still listen to the same music, wear the same clothes, and love the same things you did back in high school/college, and you'll probably never change. You haven't amounted to much, and you looked much better as a child.

The Pet Show

How to Spot It: A photo of the subject's pet, usually without the subject.
What It Says About You: It depends on what kind of animal it is. Cat: You are a woman without a boyfriend. Dog: You are a gay without a boyfriend or Michael Vick. Snake: You are a teenage boy or death metal devotee. Fish: You watch too much The Real World. Dolphin: You have a tramp stamp. Gerbil or Hamster: You are Richard Gere. Unicorn: You are awesome. Rabbit: Who has rabbits as pets? You are a freak!

Family Photo

How to Spot It: A photo of the subject's children and/or baby usually without the subject.
What It Says About You: The only thing you have accomplished in your adult life is having children. You used to be fun and fabulous and have lots of friends, but now all you can talk about is play dates, potty training, and Dora the Explorer. But don't worry, being a mother/father is the most important job there is. No really. We mean that. Yup, totally.

The Wedding Photo

How to Spot It: Man, woman, dress, tux—you know, the usual. Even if it's a gay wedding, you know a wedding picture when you see it.
What It Says About You: You want everyone to think that you are a grown-up. You have settled down to a life of calm normalcy and Family Guy reruns. You're not playing the field and slutting it up anymore. No, you are married! Also, you are entirely defined by your relationship and don't have any friends of your own anymore. You probably spent too much on the ceremony and your mother-in-law hates you.

The Pop Culture Reference

How to Spot It: This comes in many forms: a picture of a fictional character, concert, a movie poster, a book cover, reality star, musical act, or a celebrity. Basically it is anyone who is not the subject. Even if done ironically, it's all the same.
What It Says About You: You have no personality of your own. You define yourself (and others) completely by their entertainment choices, whether they be television, music, sci-fi, literary, or otherwise. Talking to you like reading a list of movie quotes from an IMDb page and you are full of useless knowledge on your favorite subjects. You own at least two T-shirts with stupid slogans on them.

The Art Portfolio

How to Spot It: A photo that somehow tries to be artistic and usually fails. This can contain the subject or not. It is often in black and white.
What It Says About You: You tell people that you are an actor, writer, photographer, or artist, but you are really a waiter, blogger, bartender, Whole Foods checkout person, or trust fund baby. Unless you have a trust fund, you will probably never make more per year than the cost of the liberal arts college you attended. You are also at risk for herpes.

The Party Picture


How to Spot It: The subject, often with someone else, clearly at a party. She may be holding a drink, drinking a drink, smoking a bong, holding a joint, playing beer pong, dancing on a banquette, or giving duck lips and gang signs.
What It Says About You: You are young and stupid and will be fired from at least one job for something you posted on Facebook. You are susceptible to peer pressure and have used a bathroom stall for something other than peeing at least three times in the past year. You will one day regret this picture and replace it with a wedding picture, and then pictures of your children.

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.

The slogan

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.

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+ comments + 4 comments

20 August 2013 at 18:14

i feel as if this whole article is biased.

4 December 2013 at 06:28

i actually really enjoyed this article

22 March 2014 at 00:59

Are all of these articles written by the same person? No author listed on the page, and no sources sited. Entertaining read, but I wouldn't take any of this stuff as fact.

13 November 2014 at 07:02

Thanks for sharing...58eveningdress.

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