The Tao of Genlighten Profile Photos

Posted On: April 18th, 2010 | Posted by: Dean

When a new user registers on Genlighten, the first thing I do is take a look at their profile page. Have they added a profile photo? If they have, I get excited! It’s usually a sign that they intend to offer lookups themselves or that they plan to be part of our community long-term.

In this post, I want to focus on the impact profile photos can have, as well as options beyond the traditional “headshot”.

Why Bother With a Profile Photo?

I can understand the anxiety that comes with selecting a profile photo or avatar. You might struggle deciding how to represent yourself, and wonder what others will think of you as a result. Nonetheless, it’s worth it!

If you plan to offer lookups through Genlighten, you should really consider adding a photo to your profile. Here’s why:

  • Potential clients will sense an intriguing personality behind the qualifications you list
  • You can make a statement about the kind of lookups you like to do or your motivation in doing them
  • Depending on the image you choose, you can convey friendliness, reliability, or a sense of fun!
  • Going to the effort of completing your profile says something about the effort you’ll put into your lookups.

Even if you mainly plan to order lookups from our providers rather than offer them yourself, it’s still makes sense to upload a photo:

  • When the provider has a visual sense of who you are, the quality of the service you receive may subtly improve
  • If you come across happy or intriguing in your photo, providers might take on a difficult request from you that they would otherwise decline.
  • Adding an image indicates your long-term investment in the site, which makes you more attractive as a potential client.

OK, ok, I’m sold. What are my options?

Here’s a list of potential profile photo types, along with examples from providers and clients on Genlighten:

pamela_pollard_profile_photoTraditional headshot — by far the most popular choice on the site

jane_schapka_profile_photo“Professional” photo — it helps to know a professional photographer, or a friend with a strong sense of composition

steven_wright_profile_photo“Old” photo — for a genealogy enthusiast, this seems a natural choice

timothy_young_avatarGraphical image — these can create a whimsical touch or signify your “brand”

cewolbert_profile_imageNon-Headshot Photo — here the idea is to show yourself doing something interesting, perhaps genealogy-related, perhaps not

chigen1Novel Composition or Design — something demonstrating your creativity, sense of humor, or both

thekingbug_profile_imageLocation-specific photo — perhaps of a landmark, landscape, or local artifact

Adding a photo to your profile takes just a minute

Just click on “Profile” (in the upper-right-hand corner of any page on the site) then click the red “Edit My Profile” link.  Click the “Browse” button and you’re on your way. A square, high-resolution image that’s 180 x 180 pixels works best. Feel free to contact us at support[at]genlighten.com if you need help.

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