Say Cheese: 5 Best Practices for a Flawless LinkedIn Photo

By Melissa Duko, December 22, 2016

Let’s face it: we’re a judgmental society. You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but we all do it. The first time we lay eyes on someone, we immediately form an opinion. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad.

When you’re the face of a small business, you want that first impression to be a good one. It may be shallow, but your physical appearance plays a major role in how potential customers will respect you.

Taking a professional LinkedIn photo can be intimidating, but don’t worry. Here are some best practices to ensure your headshot is always the best version of you.

1. Use a Current Photo 

Headshots more than two-years old need updating. When a photo is older than a couple years, it  can be problematic for one simple reason: you no longer look the same.

Unless you’re Beyonce, we all age. Plus since that last photo, you’ve probably changed your haircut, haircolor, maybe your entire face (ahem Kylie).

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Source: Blesmagazine

You want clients and colleagues to be able to recognize you, should you meet face-to-face. Make it a point to update your headshot annually.

(Editor’s note: If you’re going to invest in some plastic surgery, might as well invest in some new high quality photos, too.)

2. Refrain From Imitating Celebs 

Celebs can get away with a lot of things: multiple marriages, meltdowns, and over-the-top photos. In the real world, the latter doesn’t work for ‘Average Joe’ professionals.

While it may be tempting, avoid these celebrity photo faux pas:  

Selfies. Yes, cars have great lighting. But if we can see the seatbelt in your selfie, we’re issuing you a “headshot ticket.”

Duckface. Popularized by the Kardashians, duckface is a great way to make cheekbones pop. But you can also do that with contouring. So, relax your lips and save the quacking for your personal Instagram and Snapchat.

Group Shots. You aren’t Vince from Entourage; ditch the group photos. Your headshot should be exactly what it is, a photo of your head... alone.


Source: Unreality Mag

Skimpy Clothing. Photos of scantily clad women and men are fine on the red carpet, but have no place on LinkedIn. Its users find it vulgar. Remember the networking site isn’t Tinder. Folks aren’t going to swipe right, they’re going to delete your connection.

3. Pick Flattering Lighting and a Solid Backdrop

When someone like Kim Kardashian, who has perfect bone-structure and a beauty team, still uses selfie lighting filters, that’s our cue to seek good lighting, too.

Related Posts: 5 Steps to Branding Like a Kardashian

Good lighting can make a world of difference. If you don’t have access to professional lighting and backdrops, here are a few tips and tricks.

Stay Away from Direct Sunlight. Bright light like direct sunlight can be harsh. If you’re shooting indoors, avoid standing near windows where the sun shines in. If shooting outside, find an “open shade,” which is a spot between sun and shade.


Source: Pinterest

Use a Solid Backdrop. A solid-colored, light backdrop is ideal for headshot photos. Look for a wall or large object that fulfills these requirements and stand in front of it.

Steer Clear of Fluorescent Lighting. Mariah Carey refuses to be photographed under fluorescent lighting without sunglasses, and you should, too. The “abusive overhead lighting” (as Mariah calls it) is universally unflattering.

4. Keep Clothing Simple and Classic

All eyes are supposed to be on your face, not your flashy ensemble. When selecting an outfit, avoid bright colors, loud patterns, busy textures, and obnoxious logos. Instead gravitate toward a neutral color palette.

Also steer clear of black and white, which can make you look like a disembodied ‘80s Sears Portrait Studio Picture.


Source: Pinterest

Related Posts: Understanding Millennials: How to Make Them Love Your Brand

For those on a budget, you don’t have to go out and buy a brand new head-to-toe outfit. Your headshot is technically from the mid-chest up. Just make sure what’s in the frame of the picture is classy (and keep the Uggs out of sight).

5. Practice Posing in Front of a Mirror

Smiling doesn’t come naturally for many of us. So, it may be helpful to try practicing beforehand in front of the mirror.


Source: Tumbler

By practicing, it’ll look less like grimacing and more natural in front of the camera.

No one likes getting their picture taken (unless they’re a narcissist). By following these five recommendations, the process will be a little less painful. And hopefully the end result will be a flattering photo that you’ll cherish for the next two years.

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Melissa Duko

Melissa Duko

Melissa Duko is the Senior Editor and Digital Specialist for eZanga and its ad fraud management platform, Anura. She brings to her role more than a decade of journalism and editing experience. A graduate of the University of Delaware, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, concentration business and technical writing, minor Art History. She also has a Master of Science in professional writing for the public and private sector from Towson University. She isn’t afraid to admit that her love for Starbucks is at gold member status. (Since 2011!) More Articles by Melissa Duko