10 Tips for a Perfect LinkedIn Profile Picture

By Donna Serdula

Say “Cheese!” Your LinkedIn profile picture is your face to the world. Don’t settle for an “in the car” selfie. Every reader of your profile inspects your image. Make sure what they see aligns with your brand and portrays you in the best light. Here are ten tips that will help take your so-so profile picture to amazing heights.

Hire a Professional Photographer

There are zillions of photographers out there offering affordable options.

Do an Internet search for: Photography [Your Town], [Your State]

For example, Photography Delran, NJ

This produces a listing of all photographers in your local area. Review the list, visit their websites, and check out their portfolios. Call those photographers who feel right to you. Ask for pricing. You’ll find that most photographers want your business and will work with you to make your session affordable to you.

In case your Internet search fails you, here are a few online photographer directories to help you search for photographers by location:

Use Lots of Light

Whether or not you utilize a professional photographer, there should be lots of light where the picture is being taken. Good lighting is what takes a profile picture from mediocre to great. When lighting is adjusted and applied properly, almost everyone looks better.

Photographs shot in a professional studio often look better than shots taken in a person’s office or outside in nature. The reason for this is a professional studio has professional lighting that can be manipulated. When given the option of having your photo taken in a studio or at your home or office, go with the studio. The end result will look much better.

Use a Nondescript Background

The background in your profile picture should be nondescript and plain. You are the focus of the photograph. The background image should never detract from you or provoke questions or judgment in the viewer’s mind.

If you have a friend taking a picture of you, find a bare wall. If working with a professional photographer, find a backdrop that is plain. Pass by the bamboo trees, clouds, and laser-light shows.

Dress to Impress

Choose a professional outfit — clothes that you would wear to a job interview or to a business meeting. Make sure the clothes fit you well in your shoulder and neck area. The image is cropped, so the top area of the outfit matters the most.

Choosing the right color for your clothing is important. Whatever you do, don’t choose a color that is close to the color of your skin. If your clothes too closely match the color of your skin, they can overpower the face and wash you out. Dark colors are usually a safe choice: Dark gray, black, navy blue, green, burgundy, rust, and brown typically work well.

In addition, when choosing your outfit, stay away from bold prints with stripes, plaids, checks, or polka dots. Remember, it’s not your clothes but your face that is the focus of the photograph. Choose understated clothes to keep your face the focus of the picture.

Adjust Yourself

Before the photographer starts clicking, look in the mirror. Is your collar straight? Is your necklace clasp behind your neck? Are the backs of your earrings on tight? Is everything smooth and nice?

Keep the Camera Close to Eye Level

When working with a photographer, he or she might get on a chair or stoop down a bit to get the right angle. In many situations, this is absolutely fine. However, for a profile picture the camera should be close to eye level. An image captured at too high of a level makes you look submissive and small. Too low of an angle and you’ll look looming and overly dominant. Meet your viewer on equal ground by keeping the level of the image steady.

If the photographer appears to be using too much of an angle, ask to see the pictures on the camera’s back screen. If it appears that the angle is too great, tell the photographer that you would like to take a few images with him or her at ground level. Remember, you are the boss.

Say No to the Mug Shot

With the camera close to eye level, position yourself at a slight angle from the camera lens. You don’t want your body to be perfectly square with the camera because the resulting images will have the quality of a mug shot, driver’s license photo, or passport picture.

The best thing to do is turn your shoulders so that they are at an angle to the camera.

Crinkle, Smile, and Jut

A genuine smile engages the full face and causes the eyes to wrinkle at the edges. To look genuine, give a big smile that crinkles your eyes. Don’t worry about crow’s feet — it’s more important the image looks authentic and real.

As you smile, push your face out, jutting your jaw forward. This might feel weird, but it accentuates your jawline, tightening it and reducing any double chin.

Two videos by the famous photographer Peter Hurley reveal his secrets and offer advice on how to look more photogenic in portraits. They are found on his website .

Use Photoshop Lightly

You’ve selected your favorite picture and now the photographer will go to work using Photoshop to make you look like an alien. Sadly, most images are over-Photoshopped. The eye crinkles are erased and all lines and definition deleted. You look at the image, and it kinda looks like you, but not really.

Instead, use Photoshop to freshen you, smooth hair flyaways, and remove any temporary blemishes. When Photoshop is used too heavily, the resulting image doesn’t look authentic or real.

Accept yourself as you are and don’t erase your features — people gravitate to authenticity and the genuine.

Crop Your Image

The headshot is called a headshot for a reason — it should only contain your head. Your profile picture should present your full face and a sliver of your shoulders.

Crop out your ankles, knees, torso, elbows, and chest. The image should span from the top of your head to the bottom of your tie knot or clavicle.

The reason to zoom in is that it brings you closer to your viewer. Plus, that’s a nice professional picture you just took — show it off!