It’s hard to look your best on LinkedIn. Even if you had the budget for a photographer, being photographed can be an uncomfortable, stressful process. It can seem almost impossible to relax when you’re being scrutinised by a stranger, unnaturally lit under painfully glaring lights and being asked to “look natural”.
If you want to get more out of your amateur photographer, here are some helpful tips:
Tip #1 – Face The 60% Rule
Your face should ideally take up about 60% of the frame – you want to be prominent and clearly visible but not intrusive.
Tip #2 – No Distracting Backgrounds
Every bit of information in the photograph communicates something about you. You want to stay on-brand (or at the very least brand agnostic) and not send the wrong messages to what will by definition be a diverse audience.
Common backgrounds to stay away from include:holiday destinations (unless you are a travel agent)restaurants (unless you work in hospitality)random / unrelated outdoor locations (unless you are a palaeontologist / archeologist)
The best place to be shot is your place of work. Ideally, the background is both an identifiable professional space (like the office or conference room where you meet most of your clients). If you are a business owner you could always include your brand colours but it should not be loud and distract from your personal brand.
Tip #3 – Capture How You Look TODAY
While you may have looked your best 5-years ago, you have changed.
Maybe your hair is a different colour, or you’ve grown a beard. Maybe you’ve changed your diet and have been exercising into a new look. Or maybe those extra kilos have added to your natural radiance. :)
Whatever the changes have been, having an up-to-date photograph is important because when a LinkedIn introduction finally leads to that first face-to-face meeting, you don’t want the other party to be surprised. Consistency in the experience breeds trust and confidence. It gives the impression that you are comfortable with who you are and exudes confidence – all attractive and baseline positive qualities to kick off any new business relationship or collaboration.
Tip #4 – Don’t Dress Your Best
You may look sharp in a suit, but you want to be honest, identifiable and approachable. You want to look professional but relaxed. The solution: dress as you do every day.
Think about what you regularly wear to work. How do you dress for your long-time clients and colleagues? What would you wear to catch-up for a meeting with a LinkedIn connection? The mantra here is to keep it real, respectful and relaxed.
Tip #5 – Smile With Your Eyes
While you may be a no nonsense person, you have a LinkedIn profile because you want to build connections and professional relationships. To this end, a warm, welcoming and light expression can go a long way. No over-eager grinning necessary – you don’t have to bare any teeth. But a gentle radiant smile can make a big difference.
Tip #6 – Show That You Care
Just as dressing appropriately for an event is a way to show your respect to the host, you want your profile picture to communicate that you do care, pay attention to detail and make an effort. These are 3 ways you can express this:
a. Just You Please
Some profile pictures are obviously cut-outs from group shots and other shoulders and half-cut-heads are sometimes visible. Your profile picture should be about you and you alone.
b. No Selfies
If no one is available to help, please use a tripod.
c. Size Matters
Prioritise clarity. LinkedIn recommends the use of high resolution photographs (400px x 400px).
Good luck with that profile picture – I’m sure it will be amazing! If you need help with your LinkedIn profile page, do check out my post on – How to improve your LinkedIn profile page?