The Anatomy of a LinkedIn Photo
March 26th, 2019
Recently Fun Enterprises offered LinkedIn Photos at a local conference. This is one of our newer programs that has grown in popularity. People love that they can quickly get a professional headshot taken by a trained photographer. It’s a great program to offer in professional settings, like conferences and tradeshows, as well as on-campus programs for soon-to-be-grads who are ready to start job searching.
But I’m not writing this blog to rave about our program. At that local conference we offered professional photo services for the first few days of the conference, but unfortunately we were not able to have our set up available on the last day. We had been posting about the free service on our social media accounts, and shortly after our final photo session ended an individual at the conference tweeted at us. Not only did she post that she thought it was a great initiative, but also asked if we would be offering headshots the next day of the conference. Immediately I felt terrible. I hated having to respond that unfortunately we would not be there the next day, and despite her friendly reply, I still felt horrible that I couldn’t do more for her.
Cue this blog! I wanted to provide a resource for our clients and social media followers that helped them take their own professional photo if they miss us as an event or simply need a new photo stat. Below you’ll find some of my top tricks for taking a great professional headshot at home with your own camera or even a good smartphone:
1.Lighting is key
I cannot stress this enough – the lighting of any photo shoot can make or break the final images. Try to avoid harsh florescent lights or rooms that are too dark. Natural light is always best, so if you can take your photo outdoors or near a window (NOT with your back to the window as this will cause the background to be too bright). A caveat to this, however, is that you don’t want your natural light to be too bright. This will result in some dark shadows across sections of your face. For best results find a good shady spot outdoors or take photos on an overcast day.
2.Pay attention to your neckline
I understand wanting to wear your favorite top in your photo, but keep in mind that your headshot is typically only shoulders up. I often see the issue that an individual will be wearing a v-neck or scoop-neck top, and although the neckline is completely appropriate in person, in the photo the top is completely out of the shot and you are left with a floating head or a person that looks – well – naked. And even if you aren’t going to have a job where you need to dress business professional every day, you should still try to impress with your headshot. You don’t necessarily need to wear a blazer or a shirt and tie, but keep even a casual look clean and polished.
3.Review your background
Nothing is worse than taking the perfect photo of you – great smile, eyes open, hair in place – and then notice the guy walking past your left ear in the background. Take a look at your photos to make sure there is nothing unexpected in the background, or try the bokeh effect on newer phones.
4.Leave some space
Though you most likely will be cropping your photo to shoulders and above for your LinkedIn profile, when taking your photo ask the photographer to back up a bit. You want to leave enough room so that you can be flexible when setting your crop. LinkedIn will also force your photo into a circular crop, so you want to be able to have room to move your photo around so it fits the space correctly.
5.Skip the filter
You would be surprised by how many LinkedIn photos I see that are clearly a selfie run through Instagram or Snapchat for a filtered effect. While these filters can have beautiful results for your other social media platforms, your professional headshot should be posted #nofilter.
I have horrible posture. Always have, and unfortunately, always will. I can remember growing up, every time my mom would walk by she would tap on my back and say “shoulders” to remind me to stand up straight. Every time I take a LinkedIn photo I hear that in my head. When taking your photo, first take a deep breath, roll your shoulders back, and slightly lift your chin. A strong posture in your photo will exude confidence and tell your future employer you are ready to take on any task.
I hope that when we post this blog the individual who inspired it sees it and has a friend nearby to be her stand-in photographer. If not, I hope to meet her some day soon at an upcoming conference during a LinkedIn Photo session!