LinkedIn Headshots: 11 Tips When Taking a Professional Profile Picture

Ivan Martinez
Corporate photographer with expertise in business headshots, events, commercial, and construction photography.
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Whether you are an employee, entrepreneur or interested in developing your personal brand, LinkedIn is one of the leading platforms to offer and show your services.

With that in mind, what is the first thing that anyone sees when entering your profile? Your profile picture, a headshot photo of yourself. It is the first impression that potential clients, employers and recruiters will get of you, so you want that photo to show you as a competitive, intelligent and capable professional.

The following are some tips on how to pose for headshots, what to wear and how to make the perfect session to pimp up your LinkedIn profile picture. Let's dive right in!

11 Tips for Taking a Professional LinkedIn Profile Photo

If you have a LinkedIn profile, your number one concern should be to have the most appealing presence in the media. 

Ensuring that the little round image that hangs beside your name is as professional as possible might seem like an insignificant detail, but studies imply that a flattering profile pic makes your profile 14 times more attractive.

Your profile picture is the first thing people will notice when navigating through your page. In the world of networking, your face is like real estate! So, to help your profile stand out, here are some LinkedIn headshot photo tips:

Pick a Photo that Looks like You

When picking a professional photo for your profile, you need to stay true to yourself. It is really easy to tell when someone is pretending to be something they are not, not to mention that it is a lame thing to do.

Your best bet is to choose a pic that really represents who you are and not something that you are trying hard to be.

Use a High-quality Image

Always make sure that your photo looks sharp and clean. The ideal size for a LinkedIn profile picture is 400 x 400 pixels, a format that allows you to include high resolution images,maximum file size is 8MB. Linkedin recommends that the photo you use does not requires much cropping

In fact, if you are going through your photos and are finding it hard to choose one, make it easier by instantly discarding those that look blurry.

Make Sure Your Face Stands Out

Recruiters that enter your profile want to see what you look like. It is necessary that the photo you choose to represent you is a close up shot, we recommend that your face takes up at least 60% of the frame and that there are not a lot of empty spaces.

Also, keep in mind that a busy or too bright of a background may distract viewers from the main focus of the image: your face.

Be the Only Person in the Picture

Maybe this is something obvious for most people, but using a group photo instead of one where you are the only one in it can make it difficult for viewers to tell which person is you.

Cropping group photos is also a bad decision, because there can always be a hand or shoulder that somehow made it through the cut.

Dress for the Job You Want

You may be wondering what to wear for Professional Headshots. Best answer? Put on an outfit that represents what you tend to use in your everyday work life, but also try to be coherent with the market you are trying to reach. If you are looking for an office job in a big company, try to fit in with what is expected from the people working in it.

Think about using solid colors, as these tend to make a shot look better by color blocking your outfit and attracting more attention to you.

Take the Photo in Soft, Natural Light 

This is something that any professional photographer should dominate. A picture of you standing under harsh artificial lights might not provide the best look for a person striving for a professional and serious image.

Natural light can produce the best effect for this kind of photos, however it does not compare to having a headshot done in studio, where a photographer is able to control light and create the possible set up. If you are not able to do your headshot in a stuido and your only option is using natural light then try going out on an overcast day, locate yourself in a place where you are not getting hit by direct sunlight, and that should be enough. A professional photographer should be able to help you find or create the best possible light for your headshot

Use Filters Wisely

Conveying the correct mood is a key aspect when processing your profile picture. LinkedIn offers six filters for your pic, all of which inspire different feels.

If you are not sure about which filter to choose, ask for your photographer's opinion or have her edit the photo herself. No filters are also not a bad idea; if the decision is too difficult, you can still play with the saturation, brightness, contrast and vignette of the photo.

Keep Your LinkedIn Headshot Up-to-date

You might not look the same way you did three years ago, so do not fail to update your profile pic every two to three years or sooner if you make a drastic change of your appearance.

Pick an Industry-appropriate Backdrop

Be aware of your company's industry when deciding which backdrop to use for your pic. For example, darker backgrounds are commonly used for lawyers headshots and other related jobs, while doctor headshots or people with technology-based employment usually lean towards lighter settings.

Supplement Your LinkedIn Profile Photo with a Cool Cover Photo

Setting you apart with a fresh and unique background photo of a city skyline or something related to your industry is always a good call. If crafting one with a professional photographer is out of your interest, you can purchase a stock photo, with the risk of not being the only one who might be using it.

Hire a Professional Photographer

This one should be a no-brainer at this point. Your image is your brand, that is why employing the service of a true and seasoned artist to capture your best look on a personal photoshoot is highly recommended, a hundred times better than taking a selfie or having a friend take a photo of you.

What Should You Avoid in Linkedin Headshots?

That's it for the do's, know let's take a look at the don'ts for any headshot photography. It is important to understand that there are some misconceptions about certain practices, so we will make it clear by listing the things that will surely hinder your headshot session:

Stop the Selfie

We know that taking a photo with your phone is tempting, especially if it is an iPhone with a good camera, for example. It is an inexpensive and valid way to pimp up your social media profiles, but for LinkedIn it is highly suggested that you stay away from the classic selfie.

Too Much Editing

Profile pictures should look as natural as possible, that means going easy with photoshop. Retouching should mainly be used to eliminate distracting elements from the image, over-editing is a sure way to ruin the picture look.

Don’t Use Images You Taken at Social Gatherings with Others

LinkedIn is not Instagram. People there prefer not to see pictures of you celebrating with your family or having a picnic with friends, instead try to put images where you are the only focus.

Don’t Use a Logo in Place of Your Face

Leave the logos for industry profiles. Even if you love your job, your company and its image, nothing conveys that feeling better than a photo of you smiling at the camera.

Don’t Use Images with Multiple People

You can love to be accompanied, but do not show it in your LinkedIn profile pic. Your profile is yours and yours only, you do not share it with other people, so you should be the only person who is viewed.

Don’t Leave It Blank

A profile with no picture is often seen as shady and less real. This can also be taken as a sign of laziness or unfamiliarity with the platform.

LinkedIn Photo Examples

Let's take a look at some examples of a great LinkedIn headshot to make your profile views more valuable:

LinkedIn Photo Example #1

As you can see, the eye level of the businessman portrayed is cropped about 2/3rds height in the shot.

LinkedIn Photo Example #2

There are a lot of possible hairstyles that can work wonders for your picture look. In this case, the woman's haircut inspires elegance and confidence.

Linkedin Photo Example of haircut that inspires elegance

LinkedIn Photo Example #3

Making eye contact with the camera might not be mandatory if your headshot photographer can achieve cool looking effects like these. You can also note that the man's honest and attractive facial expression is the icing on the cake for a superb shot.

Example LinkedIn Photo with honest facial expression

LinkedIn Photo Example #4

You see it now? It's not imperative to pull off the typical suit and tie to look professional. Just put on a fitting outfit and strike your most fresh pose.

Linkedin Photo Example with fresh outfit and pose

Are you interested in a professional headshot session? My name is Ivan Martinez and I have over 36 years of experience in the field.

I have worked with hundreds of clients, and one thing I have learned throughout the years is that everyone is unique. So I take the time to answer their questions and help them through the process. 

It doesn't matter if it's your first time, if you are interested in hiring me to create your headshot, you can reach me at [email protected] or by phone at 602-708-0136. Take a look at my business headshots packages!

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Stand Out with a Headshot That Truly Represents You.
As a professional headshot photographer, I’ll make sure to reflect the best version of you.