Ten tips for perfecting your profile picture
Hello! Look at you. Do I want to work with you? People will decide in a flash, based solely on your LinkedIn profile picture.
A less than professional image makes people question your value, commitment and attention to detail.
You’ve crafted perfect words to tell your career story, but you’re illustrating it with a snap from your cousin’s wedding three years ago. Or worse, a selfie! And it’s sabotaging your personal brand.
Invest in a professional portrait to position yourself ahead of the pack.
“Oh but Jade, I hate photos of me!” I get it. Few people love being photographed. But everyone deserves and appreciates a great picture of themselves. It is possible to capture your authentic and most attractive self in an image. Promise. It’s my gift.
Don’t wait for your feature article in BRW before you have a professional photographer create portraits of you. Proactively position yourself today for the work you want by presenting yourself accordingly.
- Set clear intentions
Tell me, in three words, what do you want your profile picture to communicate? Then we can create images that clearly demonstrate these qualities.
- No pandas. No monsters. No deer.
Lighting is everything! Nothing matters more in a photograph. Rely on the ceiling lights in the office and you’ll have black shadow panda eyes. Shoot outside in your lunch hour and you’ll be squinting and wrinkly. On camera flash creates the deer-in-headlights look. And the reflection from your screen gives a ghoulish effect. No wonder you rarely love snaps of yourself! A professional photographer can find or create flattering light in any setting. And it makes the world of difference. When in doubt, face a window inside or find open shade outdoors.
- Dress cool
Cool coloured clothing (black, white, blue, green etc) helps your face to feature in photographs. Warmer colours (pink, red, yellow etc) really ‘pop’ in images and can be distracting. Also, avoid logos and text on clothing or people will spend unnecessary attention reading it. Wear sleeves and avoid woollen scarves. Out of season outfits create disconnect, and ideally you want images you can use year round.
- Busy is bad
Make your face the focus. Avoid busy backgrounds, bold jewellery or props that compete with you for attention. Be the only person in the image. And not by just cropping out your partner, bestie or child from the shot (the left behind limbs look creepy). Save the family snaps for Facebook and the selfies for Instagram. Your LinkedIn profile is selling your unique individual offer. Minimise distractions from that message.
- Don’t say cheese
Fake smiles are not endearing. Work with a photographer you trust to put you at ease for expressions that are natural, genuine and beautiful.
- Details matter
Zits, stray hairs, shaving cuts and makeup flaws are distracting and unnecessary. They can be easily fixed by a professional photographer. Not doing so makes you look lazy and messy.
- Not too hot please
At the risk of sounding like a nana… LinkedIn is not Tinder. Desirable is not the aim. Approachable, yes. Trustworthy, yes. Professional, yes. But not sexy. Save the girlish head tilt and pouting for eHarmony.
- Angle for awesomeness
Shoot from just above the eyeline to magic away a double chin, but too high has a belittling effect and can make you look cartoonish. Shoot from just below to indicate strength, but too low and you’ll look like a footy player. A professional photographer knows how to position you, and their camera, for the best effect.
- Equipment is irrelevant
So your partner/colleage/uncle has a fancy camera. I have a kitchen too, but I am no chef. Equipment is irrelevant. An accredited professional photographer will take a better image using your phone than Uncle Bob can with his expensive DSLR camera. Guaranteed.
- Keep it current
If your hair is a different color, you’ve lost or gained more than a few kilos, or you just don’t usually wear those curls and red lippy, then your profile pic is false advertising. Be recognisable. LinkedIn is a tool for connection. Avoid surprising disconnect between the person on screen and in person. I update my profile pic annually. Just to keep it fresh.
Jade Wisely is contemporary portrait photographer helping professionals to build their brand. She creates portraits with personality by putting people at ease. Jade spent two decades in corporates as a communications expert, before combining those skills with her love of image making. Read more About Jade.