LinkedIn Photo Tips: Sizes, Cropping, Posing, Smiling and What To Wear

How Often Should You Update Your LinkedIn Headshot?

A LinkedIn headshot should be updated roughly every 3-5 years (give or take), sometimes more often than than if there is a significant change of appearance, change in job/industry or if you find a really good photographer who can capture exactly what you are looking for.

Your headshot should reflect what you would like like if someone met you in person. It should also be something you are proud of and would use publicly if asked to provide for a speaking engagement, press release or other time sensitive purpose. It should also be used so people can more easily recognize you out and about which can be good for networking, sales, partnerships or more.

A good time to update your headshot is before you plan to go on the job hunt. With that said, if you looking to minimize your new look, there are tips to manage settings as well updating the headshot at specific times during the day, week, year. Additionally, another good time to update your headshot is when you start a new job. Some companies will take you photo for badges, directories etc. so this is a good time to get your headshot if you can.

LinkedIn Headshot Dimensions, Sizes and Cropping

A LinkedIn headshot photo has a circular crop for photos and the minimum size is 400 pixels by 400 pixels. I usually recommend clients stay at or slightly above unless they want a giant blown up photo viewable by the public (600px by 600px is the max I recommend). More about LinkedIn photo sizes here in their help section.

Because of this crop, not all photos can easily be formatted to fit a LinkedIn profile. Often times users have a portrait oriented headshot that is too narrow and is cropped on the left and right hand sides leaving users to either crop the photo closer than desired or add some white space to the sides. For this reason I always provide various crops for clients for versatility. If possible try to fill in the empty spaces with a photo editing tool (can easily be done for most neutral backgrounds).

Most headshots are cropped slightly above the chest and below the shoulders so that you take up around 60%-70% of the space in the frame. Exceptions to this general rule of thumb would be a speaker photos, stylists, wellness, fitness or environmental photos (those that rely on backgrounds i.e. offices, place of business). 

Linkedin Background Images

As for LinkedIn cover photos (also known as background photos), logos, check out the LinkedIn guide for minimum and recommended sizes. I often recommend using a photo that is relevant to location (particularly for big cities) such as a city skyline or something related to your industry. I would recommend using a stock image site to get ideas as well as looking at other professionals in your field on Linkedin to see if something strikes your interest.

What Should I Wear In My LinkedIn Headshot

Wardrobe is key in a headshot even though most headshots only feature a sliver of the outfit, attire. The main thing to look out for is not to clash clothing colors with your skin tone nor background. Stay away from loud patterns. White shirts should be avoided unless couple with a tie or jacket, scarf or cardigan. Turtlenecks and shiny clothing is generally a no-no. When in doubt, send a snapshot of the outfits you are considering to your photographer if he/she offers specific recommendations. Most photographers do not consult on specifics of your wardrobe but if they do, take advantage of it. Some general inspiration can be found on these Pinterest boards for men and for women.

The other thing to consider is your industry and company. Most tech companies are relaxed and more casual than most industries but your attire should still be clean, have a good fit and still be professional. When in doubt, review colleagues in positions you are aiming for – dress for the position you want, not the one you are in.

Clothing Style, Wardrobe, Accessories, Fit For Headshots

Make sure your wardrobe is fitted to your body-type and not too bulky nor too tight. Your clothing should be free of wrinkles and stains. For the most part, shoulders should be covered, low/plunging necklines avoided, bulky necklaces avoided, makeup should be kept at a minimum (what you would wear to the office, not what you would wear for a night out). 

Being professional is always key but you can add some flair and individuality with your haircut, necklace, eyeglasses, piercings (studs or small earrings are best), facial hair, background, color of clothing etc. Wardrobes should exemplify what you are trying to sell – creativity, professionalism, approachability, power or knowledge. 

Posing and Smiling

Headshots are typically take at eye level of the individual and not significantly above or below that level. Subjects should be pulled into the frame by placing weight on the balls of their feet and not arching back as if trying to take a selfie. You can do this by stepping on the edge of a curb, wearing heels or bending ever so slightly at the waist (less than 5 degrees). As for angles, you should not have to turn your torso and shoulders more than 15-25 degrees away from / toward the camera. You should practice your headshot by rotating your torso and face in 5 degree increments to the left and right.

Smiling too much may not work for your profession but it can for others. Similarly looking too professional and stern can appear unapproachable, self-absorbed. A small smirk, a light contained smile, a slight squint is all it takes to get a get shot. Having your eyes too wide open or too closed seems like you are too eager or too intense. Finding that sweet spot in the middle is recommended.

What To Avoid

One common mistake people make is copying a headshot they have seen from someone in a different field i.e. modeling, fashion, acting headshots, creative fields etc. Save these for your personal photos. Your headshot should fit your industry and company. 

Also, excessive photoshopping, skin softening and filters are a big no no. I can’t tell you how many times I had trouble finding someone in the office, networking event or meeting because their headshot was altered beyond recognition. Photos like this signal insecurity, lack of emotion.

For more general headshot tips, read this post: https://eddie-hernandez.com/how-to-take-a-headshot/