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15 Tips for Taking a Professional LinkedIn Profile Photo

May 22, 2023 by

You’re scrolling through your LinkedIn feed, seeking opportunities, connections, and a chance to showcase your professional prowess.

Suddenly, you come across a captivating profile picture that effortlessly captures attention and exudes confidence.

At that moment, you realize the power of a compelling LinkedIn headshot.

In this article, we will delve into 15 invaluable tips that will transform your LinkedIn headshot into a magnetic asset, leaving a lasting impact and boosting your professional image.

Get ready to put your best face forward and unlock the potential that lies within that small square photo.

We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section):

Table of Contents

What is a LinkedIn Headshot?

LinkedIn headshots are profile pictures used for business. They are essentially regular headshots just with a more professional feel.

LinkedIn headshots are similar to business headshots.

LinkedIn has about 810 million members and LinkedIn status messages and updates can be permanently attached to your photo, so choose wisely!

Every company wants to hire people with an attractive resume and likable personality. Your LinkedIn headshot should convey a professional or friendly attitude.

You can find or create a headshot using just about any camera, from the one on your phone to your DSLR camera.

linkedin headshot example

15 Tips for Your LinkedIn Headshot

1. You Can Keep it Natural

Keep it simple with natural light. Take your headshot in front of a window or use natural lighting instead of professional lighting equipment, like flash photography. T

his will keep the photo looking more natural rather than staged. Although there is nothing wrong with wanting a studio style headshot, it just isn’t 100% necessary for LinkedIn.

2. Plain Background

A plain background is best for LinkedIn photos. You want to make sure that your photo is the focus, which means that you should remove any distractions.

Take the photo against a simple white or light-colored wall; this will help keep the focus on you rather than the objects around you.

author headshot example
Simple Background

3. Edit Out Imperfections

Edit out imperfections. Make sure to remove blemishes like acne and scars, or anything else that could make your picture look less flattering.

4. Look Natural and Relaxed

Keep it cool as the kids say.

Look natural and relaxed. You don’t want to try too hard, nor do you want to be too serious for the wrong job!

5. Watch the Glasses

If you wear glasses 24/7, then wear glasses in your photo. If you only wear glasses sometimes, then don’t wear glasses in your photo.

While they can reflect part of your personality, they often distract from your face.

But the biggest problem with glasses is the glare they can create in the image.

If you have an experience headshot photographer, they can remedy this glare, but it’d be better overall just to avoid wearing glasses if you don’t wear them 24/7.

6. Ditch the Selfie

Ditch the selfie. While selfies can be great for social media sites like Instagram, don’t use one for LinkedIn headshots.

selfie example
Ditch the selfie

When taking a headshot yourself, make sure that it is free of shadows and bright enough for others to see your face clearly.

If you don’t have anyone else to take the photo, use an app with a timer option so that you can adjust all of the settings yourself.

7. Avoid Blurry and Low-Quality

Don’t choose a blurry or low-quality picture. People will be able to see every flaw and mistake, and it may make you look less professional.

8. Keep Eyes Open and Lively

Keep your eyes open, and look lively. Maybe you have experienced this — but if you are sleepy it is easy for your eyes to feel “droopy.”

You don’t want this in your profile photo. Also, a photo of you with your eyes closed or looking away from the camera will not look good so remember to keep them open (obviously) and try to look lively.

If you are feeling sleepy before the shoot, drink some coffee or maybe splash some cold water on your face!

9. Smile Naturally

Make sure to choose a picture where you are smiling naturally rather than tilting your head to the side or opening your mouth wide.

linkedin headshot natural smile
Smile naturally LinkedIn

10. Avoid Props

Keep it simple with no props. While you can have small, subtle objects in the background for visual interest, avoid any large or distracting items that would take away from your face.

11. Avoid Sunglasses

Avoid sunglasses unless they are part of a costume or accessory, like a graduation gown.

12. One For All

Since you are getting your headshot taken, take one headshot that you would be happy with using for all of your online profiles as well as social media sites.

Just remember though, you can often use your LinkedIn headshot for social media sites, but you may not be able to use the headshot you have on Instagram for your LinkedIn profile unless it is professional looking.

13. Keep Photo Up to Date

As your image changes over time, these changes should be reflected in your professional photos.

Make sure to keep your headshot up-to-date by either getting a new one taken every few years.

This can also help if you are looking to change careers or have your photo taken for a completely different purpose, like an article or event.

14. Avoid Bright Colors and Flashy Logos

Stay away from bright colors and flashy logos.

Your LinkedIn headshot should not be too distracting because people will want to focus on you and what you look like rather than the background (unless it is part of your job).

15. Avoid Too Much Editing and Retouching

Avoid too much editing and skin retouching. While you can remove blemishes and red eyes, avoid making your photo look too airbrushed or artificial.

bad headshot over edited (1)
Overedited airbrushed look

People are looking for a professional headshot, not something that looks too fake or Photoshopped.

LinkedIn photos should be high-quality pictures of professionals who are interesting to look at, so make sure to take the time to find the perfect shot for your page.

How Does a LinkedIn Headshot Differ From a Regular Headshot?

While a LinkedIn headshot is similar to a regular headshot, it differs in the way that your picture represents you as a professional.

LinkedIn headshots should be more on the formal side, compared to casual social media photos.

When uploading a photo for your LinkedIn account, make sure it reflects how you look and present yourself at work.

How Long Does it Take to Create a LinkedIn Headshot?

Creating your LinkedIn headshot should take about an hour. Once you have chosen what photo you want to use, edit it accordingly.

Make sure that everything in the picture looks professional and that there are no distractions. Then just choose the right background, crop your image properly, and you’re all done!

How to Take a LinkedIn Headshot

linkedin headshots

With attention to detail and a focus on presenting yourself in the best light, your LinkedIn headshot can significantly enhance your online presence and make a lasting impression. Here are 5 steps to take a LinkedIn headshot.

Tools

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Lighting Equipment
  • Background
  • Reflector or Diffuser
  • Editing Software
  • Mirror
  • Dressing and Grooming Essentials

Instructions

  1. Plan Your Setup and Equipment: Choose a location with good natural light or set up artificial lighting if needed. Ensure the area is well-organized and free from distractions. Use a quality camera, such as a DSLR or a high-resolution smartphone camera, and a tripod to keep the camera steady.
  2. Dress Professionally: Wear attire that aligns with your industry and professional image. Opt for solid colors or subtle patterns that complement your skin tone and enhance your features. Avoid overly casual or flashy outfits that may divert attention from your face.
  3. Set Up the Composition: Position yourself in front of a clean and neutral background. Frame the shot as a head and shoulders portrait, leaving some space around your face. Use the rule of thirds by placing your eyes slightly above the horizontal midpoint of the frame.
  4. Lighting and Exposure: Take advantage of natural light by positioning yourself near a large window or shooting outdoors during an overcast day. Avoid harsh shadows by diffusing the light with a sheer curtain or using a reflector. If using artificial lighting, ensure it's soft and evenly illuminates your face.
  5. Pose and Expression: Maintain good posture and a confident yet approachable expression. Relax your shoulders, elongate your neck, and make eye contact with the camera. Smile genuinely to convey warmth and friendliness. Experiment with different angles and expressions to find the most flattering look for you.

Why is Having a Good LinkedIn Headshot Important?

A LinkedIn headshot, or at least a good one, is important because it represents how you look and act in your professional life.

A great headshot should reflect your personality, while also portraying the right kind of attitude for your chosen career path.

linkedin headshot example of woman

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best pose for LinkedIn photo?

The best pose for a LinkedIn photo is a natural and professional-looking head and shoulder shot. Maintain good posture, make eye contact with the camera, and wear a genuine smile to convey approachability and confidence. Avoid overly casual poses or distracting elements that may detract from your professional image.

What color is best for LinkedIn headshot?

When choosing colors for your LinkedIn headshot, it’s best to opt for neutral or muted tones that complement your complexion. Solid colors such as shades of blue, gray, or earth tones tend to work well as they convey professionalism and don’t distract from your face. Avoid loud or vibrant colors that may overshadow your presence in the photo.

What backgrounds look best on LinkedIn headshot?

For a LinkedIn headshot, it’s recommended to choose a simple and clean background that doesn’t distract from your face. Solid-colored backgrounds like white, gray, or a muted tone tend to work well, or you can opt for a blurred background to maintain focus on your face while adding a touch of depth. Avoid busy or cluttered backgrounds that can take away attention from you.