1. Computing

Facebook Profile Pictures Tutorial

Choosing, Sizing, Uploading your Profile Pic to Facebook

By

Singer Adele's profile pic on Facebook

Singer Adele's Facebook profile pic; black and white profile picture is inset into larger Timeline color cover photo

© Adele
Facebook Profile pictures are the relatively small images that appears inset into the bottom left side of the cover photo on each user's profile page or Timeline area. A tiny thumbnail of your Facebook profile photo also appears beside your status updates and any comments or activity notices about you in the news feeds and tickers of your friends.

This profile photo is public by default for all users. Learn more about how to keep other photos you post to the network private in this article about settings for keeping Facebook photos private.

Facebook Profile Picture Dimensions

These profile images need to be at least 180 pixels wide. They work best if the original image size uploaded is at least 200 pixels wide. The dimensions of profile pictures don't have to be exact, you can crop them once you upload an image, but make sure the original is 200 pixels wide.

Adding or Changing Facebook Profile Pics

You can easily add or change the pic for your Facebook profile by going to your Timeline page and rolling your mouse over the existing profile image that is inset at the bottom left of your Timeline Photo.

Click "Edit Profile Picture" next to the tiny pencil icon that will appear. A drop down menu will appear with four options: take photo, upload photo, edit thumbnail and remove.

The first two are what you want--you can take a new photo of yourself with the camera on your computer, or choose "upload" and navigate to a photo on your computer. Instructions for each of those two options will appear.

Alternatively, you can choose a new profile photo from ones that you have saved in your Facebook photos area, or even one that another user has uploaded. Simply navigate to the photo and look for the "Options"button in the menu that appears below the photo. Click "Options" and then " Make Profile Picture."

Facebook also gives you the option to edit the thumbnail profile pic of you that appears throughout the network. Just mouse over your profile picture and select "Change Picture" when it appears. A new option will be "edit thumbnail," which shows you your existing thumbnail. If you click on the image you can select what part you want to be the new thumbnail.

Facebook saves an archive of all your old profile pictures even after you change them, so you can always restore one and make it your profile image again. To do so, click on your current profile photo and the "profile pictures" album will be an option.

Types of Facebook Profile Pictures

There are almost as many different types of Facebook profile pics as there are Facebook users, but some popular trends do emerge:
  • Mirror Shots - The original trendy profile image, less popular now, was the mirror shot. People stood in front of a camera and snapped a picture of themselves. This was popular back on MySpace in the heyday of MySpace. When mobile phone cameras added a little button to turn the camera around to snap a pic of yourself, the mirror trick was no longer necessary. People still do it, though.
  • Family People like to show off their children and significant others by displaying a picture taken with them. Typically, this is a kind of fake Kodak moment shot.
  • Pets Ok, maybe you don't have kids or are tired of showing them off. Lots of people put their beloved dogs and cats up as their profile pic. This might be cute for a while but it gets old fast.
  • Cartoons - Cartoon characters are a popular profile picture trick. You can either adopt a real cartoon character or turn an image of yourself into a cartoon-like image using filters.
  • Cause/Activism - People often display a logo for a favorite social cause or political movement as their profile picture. The idea is to advertise on behalf of your favorite cause. This one can be very annoying to your friends, so use with caution.
  • Duck shot -- People pucker up their lips into a funny duck face for all kinds of reasons. Some think it looks funny, maybe others want to suggest they have luscious lips like a super model, still others might do it to hide or distort their real face. Whatever the reason, this is a dopey trend.
  • The Eyes Have It -- Cropping out your face below your eyes is an artsy, trendy way to depict yourself. The look is kind of creepy but occasionally cool.

More Facebook Photo Tutorials

Facebook Cover Photos

General Facebook Photos Guide

Facebook Help Pages for Photos

  1. About.com
  2. Computing
  3. Social Media
  4. Facebook
  5. Basic Tutorials
  6. Facebook Photos
  7. How to Make a Facebook Profile Picture

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.