How To Take A LinkedIn Photo, LinkedIn Headshot Tips, What To Wear, Linkedin Profile Picture Posing Guide;Linkedin Headshots Men, Women

LinkedIn is one of the most heavily trafficked website on the planet. As a marketing and research tool, it is often times the default method for recruiting, competitive intelligence, finding a professional, evaluating possible employers, prospecting clients and partnerships as well as a screening tool for online dating.

Linkedin Profile Picture Tips: Users with profile photos receive up to 21 times profile views than those without photos

Professional Linkedin Photos: Why A Good Linkedin Photo Is Important

When it comes to first impressions, it’s important to have the best Linkedin headshots to represent you. Below are tips on how to pose for a Linkedin headshot, what to wear for a Linkedin headshot, and how to take a headshot for Linkedin profiles – all from a professional Linkedin headshot photographer.

These will help you obtain the best Linkedin profile pictures for your online presence.

My photos have shown up on the September issue of Vogue magazine as well as BBC, NPR, Time Magazine & more.

Related read: How To Pose For A Headshot


What Makes A Good Linkedin Headshot? How To Take A Good Linkedin Photo?

A good Linkedin headshot is one that is a flattering and accurate representation of you, your brand and your reputation. It conveys certain aspects of your profession and industry. Beyond that, it is well-lit, professional and sharp.

A good professional Linkedin photo does not have to be professional but it should be genuine, authentic.

It should look like you if someone were to meet you today and easily recognize you by your photo. It shouldn’t be outdated or photoshopped to the point where someone would give pause and wonder how old is this photo and is this really you?

Related read: Headshot Background Examples, Ideas, Tips


How Often Should To Update LinkedIn Headshot? Signs To Update Your Linkedin Photo

A LinkedIn headshot should be updated roughly every 2-3 years (give or take), sometimes more often than if there is a significant change of appearance, change in job/industry or if you find a fantastic photographer who can capture exactly what you are looking for.

Your headshot should reflect what you would 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 are 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.

There is nothing worst than a terrible headshot. Avoid bad headshots that sabotage your professionalism, reputation, appearance, credibility and approachability.


Do You Need a Professional Headshot For Linkedin? Linkedin Profile Photo Ideas

The first thing you should ask yourself is Do I even need a headshot? Some professions don’t benefit as much from others when it comes to headshots. Individuals who are not customer facing or rarely change jobs in their careers often fit this mold (doctors, nurses, academia, teachers and many blue collar jobs).

With that said, you never know when layoffs can occur, when you might be pursued by a competitor, have a career change, need a photo for press purposes or will be searched for when using dating apps.

Obtaining a headshot on short notice can be a stressful process (haircut, wardrobe styling, posing, facial hair, securing a photographer etc. takes time).

Some people are good at taking a photo of themselves via a selfie stick, timer but most folks need help to take a good photo. For one, taking a photo too close to the subject can distort the person making them appear wider, bigger.

Taking a photo of yourself is challenging – lighting, background, unbiased feedback are a few of the advantages a professional brings to the table. Selfies can appear unprofessional and that is the last thing you want to convey on a professional networking platform.

Best Linkedin Profile Pictures, Woman, Man; Creative Linkedin Headshots, Poses

Professional Photos, Professional Headshots, Men, Women, San Francisco Bay Area, Headshots San Francisco, Linkedin

Linkedin Photo Tips: Linkedin Profile Photo Dimensions, Sizes & Cropping 

A LinkedIn headshot photo has a circular crop for photos and the minimum size is 400px by 400px. I usually recommend clients stay at or slightly above (500 to 600 pixels) with their Linkedin image dimensions.

Anything bigger with the Linkedin headshot dimensions is usually too big and will take up too much of one’s screen, reveal less than flattering detail and increases opportunity for theft, misuse etc. 

Due to LinkedIn’s circular crop, not all photos can easily be formatted to fit a LinkedIn profile. Often times users have a portrait oriented headshot (photos taller than they are wider by a factor of 2-3x) that is too tall and narrow and ends up being cropped too closely on the left and/or right sides resulting in the face taking up too much of the space provided.

I typically recommend heads and top of shoulders should occupy around 70% of the frame. Anymore is too close and anything smaller is too distant and small for traditional headshots.

When taking photos for clients, I always provide various options for crops for clients to accommodate various needs (websites, press releases, social media etc.). 


How To Crop, Resize a Photo For LinkedIn Profile Picture, Linkedin Professional Photos

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).

Depending on the background, a good photo editor might be able to fill in extra space to allow for a square/circular crop. This might be a quick fix or it can be rather challenging, it all depends on the detail, blur and noise of the background in question.

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 Cover Image Tips, Sizes & More

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, Linkedin Headshot Outfit Ideas, Examples

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.

See: Men’s Outfits For Headshots  |  Women’s Outfits For Headshots (Accessories, Jewelry & More)


Best Linkedin Photos: Professional Headshots For Linkedin – Good LinkedIn Profile Picture

San Francisco Image Consultant For Men, Women, Wardrobe, Outfit, Style, Fashion, | Professional Headshots


Clothing Style, Wardrobe, Accessories, Colors, Fit For LinkedIn 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. 

I am a big fan of jewel tones and pastels. This might not be appropriate for industries like investment banking, government jobs etc. so look for examples in your organization, leadership and competitor profiles. If wearing white, beware of glare in your photos that might blow out the color and reveal too much shine.


Posing and Smiling Tips for LinkedIn Headshots, Professional LinkedIn Photos

Headshots are typically taken 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, What Not To Wear, Bad Headshots, Good vs Bad Linkedin Photos

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. Not all headshots translate across industries and professions. Look at others in your company, competitors, or those that are well known in companies and positions you seek.

For women’s wardrobe tips read this guide. For men’s clothing tips, be sure to read this guide.

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 or at least will cause some confusion.

Cliche bad photos include cropped photos from a social event, casual photo taken with uneven lighting, dark, blurry and distant photos. Avoid these at all costs. Also, photos cropped too close and show a floating head (photo cropped at the neck or higher) are generally not advised.

When it comes to wardrobe, avoid spaghetti straps, tan lines, wrinkled shirts and blouses. Use collar stays or starch so the collars on your shirt are stiff. Avoid colors that are too similar to your skin tone i.e. if you are a little pale, avoid white shirts unless wearing a sweater, cardigan or blazer over it.

Professional Linkedin Photos, Female Best Linkedin Headshots, Linkedin Profile Photo Ideas


Can I Take My Own Headshots? Can I Turn A Photo Into A Headshot? 

Yes, you absolutely can but most people who attempt to do this do a poor job. Whether it’s unflattering selfies, angles, lighting or lack or sufficient camera quality to convey professionalism and reputation.

-Using a phone with a good camera i.e. Apple iPhone 7 and above or Google Pixel 2 and above is suffice.

-Be sure to use the back-facing camera and not the front-facing camera on phones (back cameras are better quality).

-Use a selfie stick or tripod to create distance (photos taken too close distort your face and make you look wider).

-Take photos at or slightly above eye level (too low and unflattering angles display excess skin between the neck and chin; too high and it is unprofessional and misleading tactic used in dating app photos).

-Use even lighting i.e. indoors by the window with indirect light or outdoors in the shadows (tall buildings with tall shadows). Lighting during golden hour (~1 hour after sunrise, before sunset) is usually best (softest light).

-Body and face should face the camera (don’t rotate more than 20 degrees away from the camera). Too much rotation is modeling-esque.

-Don’t lean away from the camera as it exposes the area by the neck and chin. Lean forward slightly by placing the weight on the balls of your feet.


Can I Use A Selfie For A Headshot? Is A Selfie Ok For LinkedIn Profile Picture? 

Unless you work for a selfie stick company or a company like GoPro where selfies and self-recording videos is your business, the answer is no.

Selfies suggest a lack of seriousness and professionalism. At the very least use a time and or tripod for photos if you are taking your own photo but a good headshot is a great value if you are looking to land your next job. First impressions are everything.


How Much Do Headshots Cost? Why Are Headshots So Expensive? 

How much does a professional headshot cost? I get this question a lot. This will depend on a myriad of factors including how far the photographer has to travel to you, the amount of time spent on the photoshoot, amount of time editing, location scouting and research to develop a custom photo.

You are not paying for the time of the shoot alone but rather expertise to know what looks great, take photos in an efficient manner and in cases like mine, wardrobe review, formatting photos for various outlets in terms of size, orientations and website page load speeds.

How much should headshots cost should also depend on location and cost of living for the professional.

If you want to reduce your costs, find someone local, use a generic background, and trust the person with little to no experience knows not only what makes for a good photo but knows how to coordinate your wardrobe with your background and skin tone and hair color and can give you guidance on grooming, makeup, jewelry, posing as well as know which photos are optimal for your industry.

Headshot costs can range from $200 to $500 or more depending on the number of outfits, number of photos, editing time, preparation, location scouting, particulars (research, planning), location, time to travel and turnaround time.


Should Headshots Be In Color? Black and White Headshots? 

Black and white profile pictures are ok for corporate websites to create consistency but individual photos for websites and Linkedin should be in color to represent personality, wardrobe etc.

Most people who use them do so because their company took their headshots and wanted some uniformity across their staff in their photos and employees.

Most people on dating sites change their color photos to black and white to make themselves more attractive but this little dirty secret is obvious now and suggests you are trying to hide something if it is not necessary for the aesthetics of a website or branding.


Headshots On White Backgrounds For Headshots? Linkedin Headshot Backgrounds

Usually, these are a bit plain, the same philosophy can be applied as to corporate headshots taken in black and white – more so done for consistency but they lack individuality, character, personality. This is true for solid color backgrounds (particularly studio shots).

I like some texture, color and distinct backgrounds in headshots. Environmental portraits are great especially if they capture your place of business, industry or work product.

Related read: Linkedin Headshot Backgrounds


Studio vs Outdoor Headshots: What Photo Should I Use For Linkedin

One of the most popular questions when it comes to headshots is which is better? Studio vs outdoor headshots and natural vs studio lights. Studio shots are limited by the background – they are rather cliche and seem all to similar.

Outdoor portraits and headshots offer more versatility but are harder to take because of harsh sun, wind and location scouting. Studio shots provide consistency whereas outdoor and natural light headshots provide uniqueness which is ideal for branding and creativity.

San Francisco Image Consultant For Men, Women | Professional Headshots


Should You Smile For A LinkedIn Photo, Headshot? Linkedin Headshots Women, Men

Generally speaking, it depends on what you want to communicate.

Most executives and famous business people opt for the more serious facial expressions, but most people want something approachable so a small smile is suffice but unless you are an actor, you may want to avoid open mouth smiles that are a bit excessive too wide open.


Can You Hide Your Profile Picture On LinkedIn?

Yes, you can hide it from non-connections if you adjust your settings. You can select to show it to connections only, 3rd degrees of separation, all Linkedin members, or the entire public.


Online Dating and LinkedIn Photos

If you happen to be on dating apps, you should expect matches and future dates to Google you at some point, even if briefly.

The rise of scams and catfishing has led to an increase in users conducting quick backgrounds checks on Facebook, Instagram, Google and LinkedIn to verify identities, employment status, age, looks, relationship status and more.

LinkedIn provides a quick easy way for people to get a closeup look at their possible match and date but also verify looks, approximate age, employment status and more.

Having a LinkedIn profile and headshot is not a guarantee (photos can be outdated and photoshopped) but they are another data point when evaluating suitors in a rather anonymous vacuum that is online dating.


Where To Get Headshots For LinkedIn, How Do You Get A Professional Headshot On LinkedIn

Try recommendations from friends, look at Google/Yelp but make sure the photographers have a good selection of photos, styles that match what you seek.

Make sure services cover editing for Linkedin, size adjustments etc. Similarly, contact HR at your company and see if they offer headshot services or ask when headshot day is.

You can also try Linkedin’s Profinder service for people in your area or just browse headshot images in your areas to see which photos grab your attention. Linkedin headshots can range from $50 to $500 or more depending on what you seek, what you want to convey, how professional you want to appear.

Update 7/1/2020 #OpenToWork Photo Frame – Linkedin released a photoframe (Open To Work) for those seeking jobs. You can enable this function already in your settings but now Linkedin has made it more visible within your photo.

Image Consultant: Wardrobe, Social Skills & Lifestyle

Eddie is an image consultant in San Francisco with clients in NYC, LA, and beyond. He assists clients w/ fashion sense, social skills, hobbies & interests, etiquette, being more approachable around others & making friends.

About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie is a professional photographer in SF w/ clients internationally. He balances approachability & professionalism, focusing on wardrobes, appearance, location scouting.