Your LinkedIn profile photo is one of the first things people notice when they click through your profile. It’s imperative that you pick the right one.
That small round image is your chance to make a striking first impression on potential clients and business partners.
Hiring a professional photographer to assist you with headshots is highly recommended if you’re serious about building a powerful personal brand. Not only do they have the right equipment, but a bit of editing can help enhance your best features.
Already have a few headshots on file that you’re considering using? Here are some tips to help you choose the best image for your profile.
Make sure it’s a recent photo.
The photo you use on your LinkedIn profile needs to look like you. If you’re using a photo from 10 years ago, potential clients might not recognize you when they meet you. It’s a good rule of thumb to update your headshots, at least, every two years, or sooner if you experience noteable changes to your appearance.
Keep the quality high.
Your LinkedIn profile picture needs to be at least 400 x 400 pixels. Low-resolution images don’t create a good first impression, so it’s recommended that you get assistance from a professional photographer.
Only include yourself.
Building a personal brand is all about you, so it’s not best practice to include others in your profile picture. It’s also not ideal to crop a group photo – it hardly ever looks professional.
Your face should be the main focus.
If you’re considering using an image that incorporates most of your body, think again. The profile photo is a tiny space and the goal is to introduce the viewer to what you look like. You want to create recognition. A significant portion of that photo should be your face; there’s just not enough space there to show off your outfit too.
Consider your expression.
Your profile photo should represent who you are as a person. It’s ok to have a professional expression instead of a quirky smile, but try not to look overly serious.
Choose the right outfit.
The clothing in your photo should be what you wear to work on an average day. You can’t wear hiking gear when you want to attract corporate clients, but if you’re a fitness instructor, a suit doesn’t portray the right image either.
If you really know what you are doing, natural lighting can be very flattering, but it takes work to get it just right. Overhead artificial lighting can be too harsh on your skin, making you look pale or shiny. And don’t even think about using the flash on your cell phone; those things create the harshest light imaginable. Professional off-camera lighting is your best bet for creating a flattering look.
Think twice about the background.
The background you use matters too. A clean white background can wash you out, depending on your profile. A busy background can be too distracting and take the focus off your face. Whatever you do, don’t put your back up against a plain white or beige wall either; if that’s all you have, do stand 5-10 feet from that wall when taking your photos.
Hire a branding photographer
Whether you use them on linked in or your business cards, headshots aren’t just any old photo. They aren’t a snapshot of a moment you want to remember; they have a job. Your headshots must show your professionalism, personality, and likeability all at once. It’s a tough job that the average person needs to prepare for. As a financial planner, you wouldn’t make your own suit because there’s a good chance that it won’t create the image that you want to portray. Then why would you try to create your headshot yourself that does just as much to tell your story as your suit does? If you don’t know where to start, reach out to C. Eaton Photography for a free consulatation.
By following these basic guidelines, you can instantly make your profile stand out. Remember to choose the right cover photo too.