To go along with my last post about profiles, I thought it could be helpful to pick apart the things that my wife and I considered with our own profile pictures (we have been through the process twice). We went with a very large adoption agency where there were close to 1,000 profiles listed, but we were lucky and were chosen relatively quickly for both of our adoptions.

These are the things that we told ourselves when we made decisions about our first profile picture, before we had any children.

First, the setting is interesting. Being on the rocks is more interesting than being on the couch. Next, we wanted our picture to say something about us. We wanted our picture to say, “We aren’t people that just sit around; we do interesting things.” My wife chose her favorite hobby and I chose mine and we captured that. The fact that we’re both holding something makes the picture interesting. We’re not just another pair of faces. Hobbies say that we’re interesting people. And, believe it or not, this was one of the biggest factors in our getting chosen so quickly. When we asked the birth mother who chose us about why she chose us, she told us that she typed in just two keywords for the search- “music, photography”. She then browsed the pictures that came up with those key words and our picture stood out to her enough for her to click on our profile. The rest is history.

As far as the red polka-dot border. Well, like I said in my last blog post, we aren’t afraid of the word “corny.” We know that’s corny. We also know that red polka-dots stand out.

Polka-dots may be a little too much for a lot of people, but colorful borders never hurt when you’re trying to catch someone’s eye, especially since very few people do it.

We cropped the picture square to maximize the visible size. We cropped the picture as close as we could to our faces while still being able to have my guitar and my wife’s camera included in the picture.

Our second adoption picture: Obviously, we didn’t go with the same idea as the first. We aren’t holding anything that catches your eye. Still, this picture stands out. We chose the snowy setting because that catches your eye. We chose the yellow backdrop because that catches your eye. And obviously, we chose to do it as a puzzle to make our picture unique and interesting, hoping that people would want to click on it to see it bigger.

Again, we aren’t scared of being corny. Corny is okay. Boring is bad. We put the corny caption to accompany our picture that said, “Are you the next piece to our family’s puzzle?” or something like that. And when we were chosen by a birth mother, we laughed and laughed about how corny the puzzle thing was. Still, it caught her eye enough to click on it and she chose us.

Again, the picture is cropped square and is as close as we could get it without losing what we wanted in the picture. We would have zoomed in even closer, but when we tried it that way, the puzzle pieces took parts of our face, and we didn’t like that, so we zoomed out enough to do puzzle pieces from other areas.

So those are the main things we considered with our profile pictures. Here are some things I notice with other couple’s profiles:

Some bad things: For heaven’s sake, check out your profile after it’s posted. Otherwise, how are you to know that something is obviously wrong with it? I see one where the picture is sideways. I see one where the mother of the family is not in the main picture, but she’s in the other pictures once you click on their profile. I see one where there is a date on the bottom right corner that says the year 2006! What are these people thinking?

Some good things: One family (two kids) are rough-housing, in a fun way. It doesn’t show one of the boy’s faces because he’s got his back to the camera as he grabs onto dad, but this picture says “fun” and “close-knit.” One couple (no kids) is riding a tandem bike together. This made them small in their picture, since it’s a full body shot, but the bike grabs your attention and it says “fun and close-knit.” One family has lots of kids, and they posed their picture together. The family is small in the picture because there are so many of them, but they are in front of a beautiful fall background, with many colorful leaves that grab your eye. One couple wrote a small caption on the bottom of their picture. This isn’t something I did on mine but probably would in the future because, even though it’s small and you can’t read it on the front page, it catches your curiosity enough to make you actually want to click on the profile to see it large enough to read it. Words make you curious. Lots of families have their dogs in the picture. Lots of birth parents love dogs, and it spices up the picture.

Go through the profiles of the people on your agency’s website. Take notice of the ones that quickly catch your eye and ask yourself why they catch your attention. Keep those things in mind and take the time to get your picture exactly how you want it. If you don’t take the time to get someone’s attention, what makes you think they’ll take the time to look at you?

Click here for part 1.