If you are one of the 810 million professionals on LinkedIn, chances are you have one of the following headshots on your profile:
- Holiday Image (often with partner removed)
- Webcam image
- Wedding Image
- No image at all!!!! (The biggest no, no.)
- Or if you are lucky, a Professional Headshot that conveys your personality and brand
So many new and existing contacts will seek you out on LinkedIn and like it or not, many will form an opinion of you based on your headshot alone. You may be amazing at what you do but it’s often your profile image that everyone will look at before reading about your experience.
In this article, we will outline a few points to consider before you upload that new LinkedIn Profile Picture or choose a LinkedIn Photographer.
Do you need a professional LinkedIn Photographer?
Of course, we would love to say that you need a professional headshot and that you should come to one of our lovely studios.
However, you can of course use any image as your LinkedIn profile. We would recommend avoiding images of you on holiday even if you do have an amazing tan. You also may look great at a recent wedding but the flowers will give you away.
We have seen images of people receiving awards, presenting on panels, etc, and while these do add gravitas, it’s often hard to feel a connection.
The best option is a nice clear head and shoulders shot, dressed as you would be for work while looking down the lens. This can be taken by a professional headshot photographer or simply you and your iPhone.
How to take your own LinkedIn Headshot with a smartphone (or any camera)
Having a good camera does not guarantee great images no more than having an old iPhone 7 like I have will only produce bad images. There is so much more to taking a great LinkedIn Headshot than the camera so it is possible to get a great shot with equipment that you probably already own.
Follow these simple steps to get a new LinkedIn headshot:
- Find a big light source like a window or open door that does not have direct light coming in (the general rule in photography is the bigger the light source, the softer the light. You don’t want to stand in harsh sunlight and take the image).
- Face the window/door opening ensuring you are about two feet from the window or door frame. Preferably have someone take the image for you so they are not too close (The focal length of smartphones can give you a more rounded look if the cameras are too close).
- Turn off any overhead lights to reduce shine on the forehead.
- Don’t stand square on but turn your shoulders slightly left or right while your face points straight at the camera
- Look down the lens! People want to feel a connection with you.
- It will feel a bit odd but push your forehead a little towards the camera and drop the chin (and rest of the face) down slightly. This will increase the shadow underneath the jaw and enhance your amazing jawline!
- Don’t crop too tight, the aperture on profile images on LinkedIn is round so leave some space around your head or it may look like you are peering through a porthole!
- Be careful with filters! We all want to look good in the images but don’t go too crazy with filters or you may look a little odd, to say the least!
What background works best for LinkedIn Headshots?
There are two main background types when it comes to professional headshots. Solid colours such as white or grey are very popular as it is easy to have continuity across a brand.
Environmental headshots are very popular as they can appear to be warmer and more welcoming. There is no right or wrong choice on this, it really is what suits you and your brand.
Just be careful with environmental images that there is not a plant, light, or something else growing out of your head! If you are standing in front of your company branding, ensure you are not editing any wording to sound rude (We have seen it happen!!!).
What size should your LinkedIn Profile Photo be?
This may change occasionally but as of April 2022, LinkedIn gives the following information about the size of your profile image.
- Maximum file size is 8MB.
- Profile photo: Pixel size is between 400 (w) x 400 (h) pixels and 7680 (w) x 4320 (h) pixels.
- We recommend adding a photo that won’t require much cropping. You can adjust the photo after it has been uploaded.
- Background photo: Recommended pixel dimensions are 1584 (w) x 396 (h) pixels. Learn more about adding or editing background photos.
- File type must be PNG or JPG. Note: We don’t support GIFs.
When we photograph headshots for LinkedIn, we use a 45-megapixel camera which typically produces images that are way too big for LinkedIn. We also create a web-sized image that is ideal in size while maintaining the quality. If you have a file that’s too big, here are two suggestions:
- Use an online service such as https://imageresize.org/ where you can upload your headshot and use the online service to resize it for free!! We have an article on using this service HERE
- If the file size is under 7680 pixels wide but the file size is over 8Mb, use the amazing https://tinypng.com/ service. Simply upload your image and they will create a new version that is much smaller yet with the quality intact
How to upload your LinkedIn Profile Picture
Whether you are uploading your LinkedIn profile for the first time or changing it constantly, the system is very straightforward. You can change it from a laptop or your phone in a very similar way.
To change your LinkedIn Profile photo, first, go to your main profile page and click on either your current headshot or the holding image.
Once you click your profile image, you should get a screen like the above. Click on “Add photo”
On the next screen, you can either use your webcam (please don’t) or choose to upload a photo.
If you choose to upload your photo, your file manager will open. Navigate t the chosen image and confirm. The above is from a Mac but will be similar on a PC.
Once you upload your image, you have the open to crop and reposition. Don’t crop in too much or it can look like you are staring through a porthole!
Should you use colour or Black & White in your LinkedIn Profile?
Many believe that they look better in Black and White. Skins tones can appear more even, redness is all but gone and blemishes can disappear. If your image is not professionally shot and edited, it may be a good solution. However, colour profile images have a warmth and approachability that can be lost in monochrome images.
What to wear for LinkedIn profile photos
The general advice that we give all our clients is to dress how they would for work. Or at least the interview for their job.
If you never wear a tie in the office then don’t wear one in your LinkedIn headshot (fewer and fewer people are wearing them now even in the most traditional of jobs).
Clothing reflects you, your brand, and your personality so it’s worth spending some time choosing the right outfits(s) for your shoot. For the majority of headshots, it’s only your top half you need to worry about.
For most headshots, we would recommend avoiding too many distracting patterns, graphics, branded logos (Nike, etc), or super vibrant colours. Wear what you feel represents you and you, your profession, and your company.
If you are unsure, try a few changes of clothing. A classic white shirt is always a great starting point. Consider a formal and casual look for more variety.
Do remember to iron any clothing that you may wear for a shoot and have them hung up. We have had people arrive with bin bags full of clothes and wrinkles that don’t look good in a professional image!
Remember, if you are part of a larger group such as a company. It may be worth coordinating a look. This doesn’t have to be any more complex than that the men all wear jackets and ties (or not).
Typically, makeup for headshots is very natural and light. A headshot should be a true representation of who you are so usually best to keep it looking natural.
Hair and Facial Hair:
Throughout a shoot, feel free to change your hair. Bring any accessories you like. If you have long hair, start with it down and then put it up throughout the shoot.
Photoshop is a wonderful thing but spending a bit of time on your skin the day before a shoot will work wonders! Try to avoid alcohol the night before as well as salty and fried foods. Boring as it may seem, water really helps your skin to look great! Don’t stress about a last-minute breakout – we can remove any unwanted blemishes (and even brighten your teeth) in the retouching process.
If you wear glasses on a daily basis, by all means, wear them in the shoot. We can ensure that there are no reflections from our lights and you can of course have some shots without them on as well for variety.
For earrings, necklaces, etc. keep it simple so as not to be too distracting in the image. Of course, you want your personality to come out but just keep in mind that the headshot is about you!
How to pose for LinkedIn Photos
We covered this a bit earlier in the article but here are some do’s and don’ts for posing in your headshots.
Do look down the lens. You would typically make eye contact in a face to face conversation so we try and emulate a similar level of connection in your headshot
Do turn your shoulders slightly to the left or right. Otherwise, it can look like a mugshot!
Do lean in towards the camera, bringing the face towards the camera and chin slightly down to create a great jawline.
Do button your jacket. Depending on the fit and style of the jacket, you can close one, two, or even all the buttons (yes I know the bottom button should never be closed). Whatever works to ensure the jacket looks right in the images.
Do smile if you want, but a gentle “I don’t hate working here” expression will more the work. Few people volunteer a big beaming smile.
Do stand-up if you are wearing a jacket. Otherwise, it can lose shape and all that work in the gym can go unnoticed!
Don’t stand like it’s a free-kick with your hands protecting yourself.
Don’t look off into the far beyond, connect with the camera and those looking at your profile image
Don’t sit back in your chair (I would always recommend standing) it will ruin the line of whatever you are wearing. If you do sit for any photos, always sit on the edge of the chair and keep your back straight.
How to choose a LinkedIn Photographer?
As many compare going to a headshot photographer on the same level as root canal, choosing the right photographer for you can be essential in getting the right image that you can use so many years to come. A simple search on Google for “LinkedIn Photographers” will typically return a wide range of potential candidates. Just be aware that not all photographers are created equal. Here are some points to consider:
Choose a specialist in headshot photography. There are many photographers that are ‘general practitioners’ in that they will shoot weddings, portraits, cars, horses, and anything else they can. There is a HUGE difference between creating amazing wedding images and capturing an impactful LinkedIn Headshot.
Call and have a chat with our photographer or see if there are any videos of them in action. You want a headshot photographer that you can feel comfortable with. A few minutes on the phone should give you a great idea of how they will be with you during the session.
Choose a headshot photographer that either has a studio or can come to you. There are many photographers that photograph outdoors. Unfortunately, it can be very hard to create great headshots when you are fighting the elements. From harsh sun to wind and rain through to controlling the light. Outdoor headshot sessions may sound nice but there is a reason for having a studio set up (mobile or permanent) that can control the elements to produce the best shots.
How much do LinkedIn Photographers charge?
Business headshots are not a passport photo for the same price as a pizza and take 30 seconds. Nor are they exquisite portraits that you will hand down through the generations. Your LinkedIn profile image will typically last a few years so you want to make sure you are happy with it. In London, you could spend close to a thousand pounds on your profile image. However, there are many more cost-effective solutions than that.
So here is our headshot pricing:
We have to mention how we charge as LinkedIn Photographers. After all, it’s what we specialise in from our studios in London, Birmingham, and Bristol as well as on-site.
We created our pricing to be as straightforward as possible. From a quick 15-minute session with one retouched image through to extended sessions that will give you enough images to fill your social feed for months! Take a look at the table below and find a service that suits you best. If you have any questions, call Helen on 07810 004451 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you found this article useful. If you have any questions about LinkedIn Headshots or any other style or corporate photography, call us on 07810 004451 or email email@example.com