LinkedIn is a social networking platform that is designed to help professionals build their network and find opportunities for career growth. This is what sets LinkedIn apart from other social networking sites. Here, first impressions matter a lot more.
Your profile photo is the first thing people see when they visit your profile. Before they read the details of your profile, they will see that one image. But don’t worry: you can use this to your advantage. In fact, you can increase your response and referral rates by investing in a high quality profile picture.
There is a misconception that because LinkedIn is a professional networking site, you need to look serious in your photo. But your goal is to project an image that is friendly, likable, and trustworthy. These are attributes that are crucial to getting prospects to engage with you. So don’t be afraid to flash a natural smile.
Here we will talk about a few other helpful tips for taking a good LinkedIn photo that will improve your engagements and help you expand your network.
Taking a Good Photo for LinkedIn
Your profile picture is a key element of your LinkedIn presence. That is why it is highly recommended that you hire a professional photographer to take your picture. But if you don’t have the budget, there are ways to take a good profile photo for LinkedIn yourself. The camera on your smartphone will do the trick—you just have to follow a few important rules.
Preparing the Subject
In this case, the subject is you, and you need to prepare before you get your picture taken. Aside from a natural smile, you also need to prepare the right clothes.
Your best bet is to choose what you would normally wear to work. Since every workplace has a different vibe when it comes to the dress code, this is your opportunity to show off your brand. The clothing options are very flexible, but try to be as presentable as possible. You don’t want to be over or underdressed. Solid colors tend to do best on camera. Avoid distracting patterns.
As for your expression, your profile picture should reflect your brand. If you’re trying to project a serious vibe, then it is okay to look serious. Just remember that you’re not forbidden from smiling simply because you’re on LinkedIn. If your brand has a warm and friendly vibe, then try to project that through your expression.
Generally speaking, smiling can help put profile visitors at ease because it makes you look more approachable.
A study of 800 profile pictures found that people view you as more likeable, competent, and even influential if you smile in your pic. Consider practicing in front of a mirror to see which expression you like best. What matters most is that you are doing what feels natural to you.
You also have to be the only person in the picture. If you post a group photo, other people have to guess which one you are. It also makes you look less professional. Cropping a group photo isn’t the best solution because they might see a random hand or shoulder popping into the frame.
If you really want to show off your team through your LinkedIn profile, you can put that picture on your profile banner instead.
Setting Up the Perfect Shot
While it’s fine to use your phone for the picture, avoid using a selfie. Front cameras on most phones produce a lower quality image than the rear camera. Instead, have your picture taken by a friend or coworker. It only takes a minute and it makes a big difference.
When taking your picture, make sure your face fills at least 60 percent of the space. You want to be the subject of your photo. Unlike other social networking platforms where you can use a picture of yourself standing atop a mountain peak, you want your face to be fully visible in your LinkedIn profile.
On that note, avoid distracting backgrounds. The location of your picture matters. You don’t want anything in the background taking the attention away from your face. A simple background will ensure that you are the focal point of your LinkedIn photo.
We recommend taking the picture outside in nature or against a painted wall, so that you can keep things simple without being boring. You don’t necessarily have to be standing in a white, empty space.
Go for the Natural Approach
Taking your picture outside offers another advantage: it gives you lots of natural lighting. Lighting can completely change the look and feel of your photo. Standing in front of harsh fluorescent lighting can create shadows and unnatural colors on your face.
Natural light usually produces the best effect. Choose a slightly shady area, or anywhere that’s out of direct sunlight so the lighting doesn’t make you look too shiny. You can also stand indoors and use light from a nearby window to illuminate your face and give your skin a natural glow.
If you do want to use filters on the final photo, don’t go over the top with it. Consider what kind of mood you want to convey, again taking into consideration the vibe of your brand. Don’t be afraid to play around to see which filter looks best. Even if you don’t want to apply a filter, you can still adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.
Make Sure the Photo Looks Like You
This is a very important tip. Keep your profile photo updated so that it reflects what you look like at the moment. It should give people an idea of what you would look like if they met you tomorrow. Do not use a picture that was taken 10 years ago.
If you do change your appearance drastically, consider taking a fresh picture to keep connections in the loop.
Upload a High Resolution Image
The final tip is to upload a high resolution image. The ideal size for your LinkedIn profile picture is 400 x 400 pixels. Larger file sizes can work up to a maximum of 8MB. Just avoid small, low-resolution images.
You’ll know that you have to use a different picture if you upload one and it looks blurry. Your profile picture is your first step to building your personal brand on LinkedIn. It is worth investing in a professional photo, but you can also follow the tips above to get a great-looking LinkedIn picture all by yourself.