David Sdika

LinkedIn picture: how to create the perfect portrait !

Your LinkedIn picture is a key part of your online career development strategy. The quality of your portrait will make you stand out to potential employers. How do you take a good, professional photo? Whether it’s your expression, posture, background or choice of clothing, here are our tips for mastering the art of LinkedIn picture.

A LinkedIn profile picture ? Definitely !

Don’t even think about it. Including a photo on your LinkedIn profile is a must. The web is a visual world full of images and illustrations. While text is a rich medium in terms of information and a great source of legitimacy, the picture is unbeatable in terms of attractiveness. Do you have a LinkedIn profile? That means you’re looking to make a name for yourself in your industry, so forget about being anonymous. Use your image to boost the dynamism of your professional network. Your face is your most authentic and selling brand.

Example of a LinkedIn profile showing a young man smiling on the picture.

Why do you need to “exist” on LinkedIn ?

LinkedIn is THE professional network on the web. With a reputation for seriousness and professionalism, LinkedIn is now the first choice of employers and job seekers. In this age of powerful and ubiquitous technology, having an online resume is becoming essential. With just a few clicks, your professional profile will be visible to thousands of professionals from all over the world. LinkedIn is a high-potential tool for developing your career.

How to stand out on LinkedIn ?

However, it is not enough to create a LinkedIn account to benefit from the network. A poorly designed profile only guarantees that you will remain anonymous among many others, and that you will sink into the limbo of the web. As always, it’s the quality of your presentation that will make the difference. To be successful online, you need to master some of the codes of web communication. Select and highlight your strong points, your relevant experiences. Make it easy to read, think of keywords, be punchy and succinct. Be creative and original without compromising your professionalism. And, above all, use a LinkedIn profile photo that will make you unforgettable.

A man in a suit poses and takes a picture of himself

Why should you have a LinkedIn picture ?

The power of images

“A picture is worth a thousand words”. The proverb is not new, but it applies remarkably well to the contemporary world of information. The attractiveness of the picture is unequalled. The human brain is naturally programmed to look at the image first. In a second phase, it will look for the words to validate its hypotheses and ensure that the message is understood. But it will return to the photo and devote more time and attention to it. Professional profiles that include a photo are therefore consulted more than others. The power of the picture is a tool that you can use to optimise the attractiveness of your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn profile picture of a young woman working in Brussels

A window on your personality

To stand out on the web, you will shape a brand image that will lead you to your goals. This is true for a company, it is also true for a person looking for professional opportunities. Your profile picture is one of the key ingredients of your strategy. It is an essential part of building your personal brand. In this image-driven virtual world, it is no longer just a matter of listing your skills and experience, but of offering a story, a showcase of your profile. Through the photo, it is your personality, your attitude at work, your professional convictions, your goodwill, that you communicate to your audience.

Professional profile of a young woman working in Brussels

A source of information

A photo is a real goldmine when it comes to messages. It is much more complex to convey so much data in a short text. Using your image is therefore a simple, quick and effective way of expressing a maximum amount of positive information about your professional profile. At a glance, your virtual contact will be able to interpret the strengths of your personality. Through your portrait, they will already know that you are friendly, energetic, determined, reliable, confident, and much more.

LinkedIn profile picture of a young man working in Brussels

Legitimise your profile

Profiles without picture do not reassure the reader. Just like real estate ads, the presence of photos gives confidence. Knowing your face and your appearance, looking at your eyes gives the impression of knowing you a little and validates the fact that you are a real human being. This is true if and only if your LinkedIn profile photo is performing well of course.

Should you opt for a professional photographer or a DIY picture ?

Although the profile picture is a must on the LinkedIn network, it will only serve its purpose if it is of perfect quality. The use of a professional photographer is therefore an option to be favoured as it guarantees the performance of your headshot. This specialist will be able to advise you on posture, facial expression, clothing and setting. The result of your shoot will be professional and impeccable. Posting a professional portrait on your LinkedIn profile is already advertising your own professionalism.

If you can afford to spend a small budget on a professional photo shoot, it is worth it. The quality, and therefore the success of your profile on the network, will be an excellent return on investment. If not, then nothing is lost. In today’s technological age, there is the advantage of easy access to quality equipment. With a good smartphone or a good camera, following some smart tips, you can get a competitive profile picture.

A professional photographer shoots his model in the studio

How to create a powerful LinkedIn picture ?

Despite popular belief, the performance of your photo depends less on your physical appearance than on a well-mastered strategic recipe. Whatever the characteristics of your face, it is through your eyes, your expression and your posture that you convey the essence of your personality. The technical aspect, the framing or the retouching will enhance the quality of your image.

A picture that looks like you

Be transparent, cheating on your appearance will not work in your favour. If you post an old photo or a snapshot of yourself looking like you’re on your way out, your interviewer may not understand you when they meet you in person. Choose a current, realistic picture that is true to your everyday appearance.

LinkedIn picture of a young woman in Brussels

Framing

When it comes to framing, the most important thing is to emphasise your face so that it is perfectly recognisable. Avoid full-length or landscape shots where you are seen from a distance, your portrait should fill the majority of the image. For professional photographs, the “head and shoulders” frame is generally adopted, which allows your face to be seen perfectly, while your appearance can be guessed.

The expression

This is a more subtle and abstract aspect of professional photography. Expression is nevertheless essential, as it is what drives your headshot and influences the reader’s interpretation. The first rule of facial expression is to be as natural as possible. Go for a positive and dynamic expression that looks like you.

Despite the temptation to remain indifferent in a professional context, a smile is more popular than impassivity. A person who smiles, preferably with an open mouth and visible teeth, attracts sympathy and induces confidence. The interlocutor has the spontaneous reflex to smile in return, a first virtual contact is initiated.

As a partner to the smile in the art of expression, the gaze should not be ignored. Directed towards the lens, so as to look the reader in the eye, it will be marked by openness and friendliness. If the gaze is slightly upwards, it will give an impression of confidence and determination. It is important to avoid wide eyes, a relaxed expression will look much more natural.

LinkedIn profile of Aya Loiseau, a woman based in Brussels

Posture

Popular with professional photographers, the 3/4 posture gives a dynamic yet grounded stature. Be careful to angle your posture towards the content of your LinkedIn profile. It’s surprising how much a person who turns their back on their own CV diminishes its legitimacy.

Screenshot of Philippe Laforest's Linkedin profile. He is smiling in the photo.

Background

For a headshot, the main function of the background is to highlight you. It can also provide an element of context related to your professional sector. The important thing is to choose a homogeneous background that makes your portrait stand out. A white background is a good choice, but you can also choose a cityscape or natural landscape. A plain, colourful background adds a touch of fun that will make your photo stand out. Make sure your choice of background is consistent with your personality and area of expertise.

Professional CV on LinkedIn with a picture of a smiling young woman.

The technique

The great advantage of hiring a professional photographer is to ensure that the technical aspects are perfectly mastered. The quality of a profile picture on LinkedIn must be perfect or it will look amateurish. The performance of the equipment and the choice of the type of light are crucial to obtain an optimal result.

Take advantage of a bright, sunny day, but avoid direct light, which creates shadows. A camera or a good smartphone, preferably with a portrait option, will do the trick. But don’t take a selfie, which makes you look like you’re posing on holiday. Place your camera on a tripod to ensure stability and use the self-timer. Even more effective is to have someone else guide you in posture and expression.

Example of a LinkedIn profile of a man wearing a grey jacket in his CV picture.

The dress code

You don’t need to go too far, the outfit that will make a statement in your professional photo is the one you usually wear to work. Clothes that look like you will make you stand out in a natural way. Dress formally but relaxed, be neat without being stuffy. Pay particular attention to colours, make sure they match your background and look good in photographs.

Linkedin CV of a young black woman with short hair who is smiling in the photo.

Post-production

In the age of the smartphone filters, it is important to be subtle. Slightly accentuating the luminosity and the brightness of the colours is enough, most of the time, to sublimate a LinkedIn profile photo. You can use, for this purpose, a retouching software or, alternatively, the filters provided directly by LinkedIn.

Black and white Linkedin profile picture of a smiling man in Brussels

Test your LinkedIn picture

Take several photos and then select the best one. To help you do this, why not “test” the quality of your headshot with colleagues or friends. Get their opinion so that you can make an accurate choice. There is also a program called Photofeeler. Based on the opinions of Internet users, it offers you an evaluation of the quality of your portrait based on several criteria: competence, sympathy and influence.

In conclusion

You now have a good understanding of all the challenges of the LinkedIn profile picture. Your portrait will, quite simply, be a reflection of your personality in the professional world. You are competent, determined, open-minded, efficient and have a good reputation. These are the qualities that will shine through in your facial expression, your posture and your choice of outfit. As for your professionalism, the technical quality of your headshot will undoubtedly show it.

Now all you have to do is take the plunge.

With the tips listed above, you will be able to create the picture that will attract recruiters’ attention to your Linkedin profile!

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Picture of Who am I?
Who am I?

I am a professional photographer based in Brussels, specialising in portrait photography, child and family photo shoots, editorial portraits or corporate headshots. I work with film and digital.

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