We never publish anything in the magazine that doesn’t get us talking in the ELLE offices. So when it came time to compile our ultimate tips for the How to Look Good on Facebook feature in the August issue, we knew we had some digging to do.
After all, it’s only fair to show how far we’ve come—and to explain what in the world we were thinking. Cue spurts of gathering around computers to squeal at each others’ pre-ELLE depictions, and plenty of ‘I can’t believe I ever wore that!’ exclamations.
‘I had some strong looks back in 2007,’ Fashion Production & Bookings Assistant Dan Robson says. ‘The first was taken in Boombox so it was the place for it, more was more, but I've a much more laid back style now.... even if the pose/pout is much the same.’
Themes quickly emerged. Photos taken en route to glitter-strewn student parties, portraits hinting at a life of (unlikely) glamour, and travel snaps from exotic destinations characterise our earliest profile images. A few hint at future careers, as with Travel Assistant Sara D’Souza’s string of photos from backpacking trips in Australia and India. ‘I’m not sure how much looking good came into either of them, but they sure were fun,’ she says.
These days, we do have advantages in the pursuit of the perfect profile pic, namely in the form of our weekly What ELLE Wears photo shoots. When it’s time to freshen up a Facebook profile, many an ELLE editor makes the blog her first stop. But the appeal of these professional shots is often their unstudied feel.
‘I'm not bothered about what people think of my profile and just bung on whatever grabs me there and then—it’s much more spontaneous,’ says Andrew Falconer, managing editor of ELLE and ELLE Decoration. ‘My current pic was taken by the lovely Stephanie Smith at this year's ELLE Style Awards and despite my formalwear it feels candid and honest.’
As in any social media, authenticity is key. If anything, despite the professional help, our attitudes have grown more relaxed since Facebook’s early days.
‘My first Facebook picture is probably more considered and crafted than my most recent,’ says Sophie Gridley, junior sub-editor. ‘Note the make-up (shock!), high-end branding, and eveningwear (sort of). Now? I haven't changed my picture in a year and in it I'm pulling a silly face.
‘But it was taken on my birthday and it reminds me of a happy evening.... In real life I'm more likely to be the person laughing and pulling a silly face than the person posing with the Moët—and so it must be on Facebook.’
Learn more about how to put your best face forward on social media in the August issue, on newsstands now, or download the digital edition through the Apple Newsstand. Subscribe here.