Secrets From A Photographer: 5 Tips for a Great LinkedIn Profile Picture
Your profile photo on LinkedIn matters for your personal brand.
It’s not the most important element —you’ll always have to provide and share valuable content.
But it’s still your brand.
For me, this means that your headshot is your first chance to communicate that you are approachable, likeable, and trustworthy.
Recently, my colleagues at Strands complimented the professional quality of my LinkedIn profile picture, which prompted me to ask my photographer, Stephanie Marie, for photography tips for a great LinkedIn headshot and share them with you.
5 Tips for a Great LinkedIn Profile Picture
Here are Stephanie’s five tips to get the best LinkedIn profile photo:
1. YOUR LOOK
Before you get in front of the camera, think about your appearance.
You want to look professional and should strive to create a clean, classic look. You want to look clean and polished.
If you’re a man, this means being well groomed. If you’re a woman, have a nice simple hairstyle and keep your makeup looking natural.
In terms of outfits, pick one that matches with the level of professionalism of the job you are seeking.
For men, I recommend wearing a well-tailored suit with a tie. For women, I recommend wearing a nice blouse with or without a blazer. If you choose not to wear a blazer, just make sure the outfit is business-oriented. If you are going to pair jewelry with your outfit, chose simple elegant pieces.
For both women and men, stick with neutrals, navy, and greys.
Stay away from anything that has bold or distracting patterns or colors.
2. THE LOCATION
Where you take your headshot will make or break your picture.
You want a location that will give you a simple background.
This could be a neutral colored wall in your home or outside against a stone or brick wall or in front of a few bushes or trees. You don’t want your background to be too busy or distracting.
You also want to find good light.
If you are taking your picture inside, avoid dark areas and try shooting an area in your home that gets a lot of natural light, like by a window.
If you’re outside, avoid shooting in direct sun and look for shaded areas. Avoid areas that cast harsh shadows/highlights, uneven or dappled light, and dark areas.
3. YOUR ATTITUDE
Just like in an interview, you want to appear confident.
When you go to take your headshot, don’t think of it as a chore and try to have fun with it!
Have a confident attitude, relax and make sure to smile.
4. THE POSE
Keep the pose simple and natural.
I would recommend angling yourself 45° away from the camera. But try a variety of poses and angles. You never know what pose or angle you will like the best or find the most flattering.
Keep a good posture, sit up/stand up straight and remember to relax, especially in your shoulders and hands. Keep your chin out and down, and as mentioned in tip #3, smile!
If you aren’t going to get headshots taken by a professional, make sure the person you choose to snap that camera can help direct you.
5. THE PICTURE
When taking the actual picture, keep two things in mind.
One, create separation from your background. This simply means don’t stand directly up against the background. Creating separation will give your picture some depth and make you stand out.
Two, think about where you’re cropping. Don’t crop at an awkward spot. Typically, a headshot is closer-up. Consider cropping slightly below the hip or a little above the elbow. Also, consider leaving extra space to crop in your photo editor. You may need your profile picture to be certain dimensions.
I recommend taking a variety of images at different distances, so you have options to work with.
Bringing It All Together
I love LinkedIn because it’s a great way of expanding your network through connections, groups, and conversations.
Whether in search results, at the top of your profile page, in comments, in "People Similar to" suggestions, and more, your profile photo appears all over the place.
If nothing else, that’s a huge opportunity to make a great first impression with a good headshot.
This was the first and only time I had professional photos taken, and I did love every minute of it.
Cheers to a better personal branding! 🙂