I Like Your Photo

Made by mmzucker

In this project, I focused on the number of likes on Facebook profile photos and how that number might correlate to the style and content of the photo.

Created: September 13th, 2015


For this project, I thought about profile photos on Facebook and how my friends and followers choose to represent themselves. Because people often compare the number of “likes” on content and often times use this number as a measure of popularity, I wanted to the focus of my project to be on likes.

Before I began studying these photos, I hypothesized that profile photos that were edited and photographed by another person would be more probable to get more likes. Additionally, I had a feeling that women’s profile photos would also have more likes than men’s.

On Saturday afternoon, I began compiling images. I started by creating a blank Photoshop document, then scrolled down my newsfeed to find profile photos. When someone liked, commented on, tagged or shared content, including photos, articles, or brands, I pulled the profile photo and pasted it into the Photoshop doc. 

Because Facebook posts often include multiple people, I streamlined the process of collecting photos by limiting my exploration to the first person mentioned in the post. This also helped to expand the range of Facebook profiles. 

 For example, when this post appeared on my newsfeed advertising a company, I went to Andrew's profile and pasted his profile photo to my document. 


Or in this post, I looked at Alexis's profile photo. 


When I pasted the photo into my Photoshop document, the number of likes on it became the percentage the photo was expanded or reduced. For example, if a photo had 90 likes on it, then the photo was made 90% smaller using a tool on Photoshop. 

The photos were then arranged by size which helped to compare them and make observations on what commonalities these 78 photos had. 


In arranging the photos so that the more liked ones are more visible, this compilation helps to model how Facebook works in that content with more likes are viewed while things with little likes become irrelevant. When I looked at the photos together, the first thing I noticed were the backgrounds. It seemed that photos with cleaner backgrounds were more likely to get a lot of likes because they are visually appealing. Similarly, photos that look like they have been edited to change the lighting were definitely more liked than photos than photos that did not have obvious edits. I think this is because the edits made the photos more aesthetically pleasing and implied that the person put care into making it.

While the aesthetic appeal of the photos seemed to be the biggest difference between the more liked photos, I think the majority of photos on Facebook are liked to give validation to the person, and not because the photo itself is inherently better. Judging by the apparent randomness of pattern of likes on the photos, I do think that the photos in this collection had a lot of likes because the people themselves were appealing. 

Share this Project


In this project, I focused on the number of likes on Facebook profile photos and how that number might correlate to the style and content of the photo.