Taking Your Own Professional Profile Picture - dummies

Taking Your Own Professional Profile Picture

By Donna Serdula

Part of LinkedIn Profile Optimization For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Your LinkedIn profile picture is your face to the world. It’s important that it presents you looking your very best. When possible, have your profile picture taken by a professional photographer to take advantage of her professional equipment and years of experience and training. However, if working with a professional photographer is outside of your current budget, here are tips for taking a great professional-looking picture yourself.

  1. Enlist a friend to take the photo.
    Even if you have a tripod and camera with a timer, it’s best to have friend assist you. It’s easy to get overly stressed when all the responsibility is on you to look good and capture the right image. Working with a friend minimizes this stress and allows you to concentrate on posing and smiling.
  2. Your phone’s camera works just as well as a digital camera.
    If you don’t have a digital camera, don’t despair! The cameras embedded into smartphones are great and take high-quality images. Whatever you do, don’t take your picture in “selfie” mode. The camera on the outside of the phone typically produces higher-quality images than the selfie camera located above the screen.
  3. Dress for success.
    Just because you are taking the photo yourself doesn’t mean you should skimp on your outfit or grooming. You want to dress professionally. Make sure your hair is combed and styled. Pretend as if you are going in for a job interview or meeting with a top client.
  4. Use lots and lots of light.
    Position yourself near a window where there is natural light. You can also move some lamps into the room to get even more light, just keep them outside of the frame.
  5. Fill the frame.
    Have your friend stand 5 to 10 feet away, holding the camera around face level. The frame of the image should consist of some space above your head, your entire head, shoulders, and just a little bit of your torso. Remember, the image will get cropped later into a square, so it’s important you have some image space to spare for cropping.
  6. Say “cheese!”
    Smile! As your friend starts to snap your picture, smile as warmly and confidently as possible. Think happy thoughts. Have your smile engage your entire face so that your eyes crinkle and your cheeks rise.
  7. There’s no such thing as too many pictures.
    It takes a lot of pictures to get that one, single, great shot. Don’t expect to hit upon the best image in one or two clicks. Your friend may need to take 50 or more pictures to get the best image. The reason is twofold: Your friend is most likely not a professional photographer and you are not a professional model. It takes time to get comfortable and to start feeling at ease.
  8. Edit to make the image even more perfect.
    Once you have that great shot, it’s time to edit and crop. There are numerous online image editors you can use, and most computers are preloaded with imaging apps. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and color. Crop the image so that it’s a perfect square. The image should consist of your face and a sliver of your shoulders. This is a headshot, so no elbows, knees, or feet!