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5 Essential Tips for Great Profile Pictures


First impressions are important. On Encore, the photo of you which clients see first, on your profile or job application, is your profile picture. This image needs to convey that you are a trustworthy, professional musician and if it isn’t, you might be losing out on bookings. 

But don’t worry – after sifting through hundreds of profile pictures, we’ve put together 5 simple steps for improving your photo that’ll help you make that all-important brilliant first impression with clients.

1. Book a professional photo shoot

Professionally shot photos are now so commonplace that it’s a necessary part of your online promo kit if you want to give yourself the best chance of winning gigs.

The falling price of high-quality cameras and the rise of cheap photography services like Splento means that you no longer need deep pockets to get excellently shot photos. Read more about why professional photography is important for musicians here

  • Do: Invest in a professional photo shoot including headshots, full body shots, and cover photo-style shots. Go into your photo shoot with a clear idea of the images you want to get out of it. Get more ideas here.
  • Don’t: Upload a photo which is blurry, low resolution, or shot on a phone camera. If a client sees an unprofessional photo, they’ll assume you’re an unprofessional musician.
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Blurry photos are much less likely to attract clients


2. Follow photography best practices

Even with a professional photographer on hand, it’s worth understanding some of the most commonly accepted practices for taking great photographs. Before you go to a photo shoot, make a list of the shots you’d like your photographer to capture, and research a few locations which match your brand aesthetics.

  • Do: Use natural light if possible; consider photo composition using the Rule of Thirds; avoid cluttered or distracting backgrounds.
  • Don’t: Say goodbye to that cute photo with your cat – if there’s anything which distracts from you as a musician in your photo, it needs to go.
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Avoid cluttered backgrounds which draw the viewer’s eye away from the subject

3. Show off your musicianship

If you can, make it clear in your profile picture that you are a musician. Clients will be sifting through tens of musicians from Encore, and elsewhere to find the perfect match for their event. If you can reinforce your capability as a musician in your photo, you’re more likely to attract their attention and cut across the noise.

  • Do: Show that you are a musician in your profile picture e.g. by including your instrument or a musical backdrop.
  • Don’t: Use photos which shows you in a situation unrelated to your work as a musician e.g. holiday photos, Facebook photos. We’d also recommend that groups choose photos which show them as people rather than logos.
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This guitarist misses an opportunity to convey his musicianship quickly to the client by not including his instrument in the photo


4. Dress to impress

Your profile picture, Encore profile, and in fact your whole online presence as a musician should contribute to building a single coherent brand. Your outfit should be part of that brand. If you’re a classy, upmarket act you’ll want to get on your glad-rags, if you’re a rustic folk duo, reach for your dungarees.

  • Do: carefully consider what you wear in your promo shots – your clothes are an extension of your musical brand.
  • Don’t: wear anything which doesn’t contribute to the aesthetic your trying to create. You might know you look great in hot pants and a baseball cap, but if you’re an opera singer it’s probably not the look you should go for.


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Bagpipers are one of the best examples of musicians who incorporate their outfit into their musical brand


5. Say cheese!

Imagine you’re meeting a client face-to-face. If you’re hoping to work with them, then the first thing you’d probably do is greet them with a smile.

You should think of your profile picture the same way. When engaging with clients online, a smile goes a long way towards increasing the chances that they’ll think you’re likeable and trustworthy, and ultimately book you for a gig. If you’ve got the gnashers for it, some research suggests that smiling while showing your teeth is more likely to increase your likeability than a non-toothy grin.

There is one important, but more risky exception to the smile rule: when you don’t want to prioritise the promotion of trust and likeability in your photos. This may be the case if you’re a wacky, unique group where extroverted, fun expressions are what your clients want to see, or a gritty, edgy band where giving off a strong attitude is more important than likeability. Be aware though, that by not smiling naturally, you may sacrifice the likelihood that a client will view your profile picture as likeable and trustworthy.

  • Do: If in doubt, go for a photo with natural, toothy smile.
  • Don’t: Use a photo which doesn’t display your face.


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Not showing your face or smiling limits the chances of a client trusting your online profile

Do you need a new profile picture?

Have a look at your profile picture.

Does it follow all 5 of our tips? If not, we’d strongly recommend investing in a photo shoot and getting some new shots that will promote your musical brand and increase your chance of winning gigs. We recommend Splento, who offer on-demand photo shoot from £69.

Profile picture dimensions

Make sure your image in a JPEG format with minimum dimensions of 360px by 360px. Be aware that only the top two-thirds of your profile picture is displayed on your listing in search results.

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Here’s some inspiration from Encore members who we think knock it out of the park with their profile pictures!

Other helpful articles


Jonny Venvell

Jonny is Encore's Head of Artist Relations.

He's responsible for supporting and helping musicians on the platform and writes most of the musician-facing articles on the blog. He can usually be found singing in choirs, drumming in bands, or nodding meaningfully to particularly good chords in London's jazz bars.

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