Do you have the right LinkedIn photo?

Do you have the right LinkedIn photo? Chances are, probably not!2013 GINA HEADSHOTF

LinkedIn profiles are your professional presentation of who you are and what you can do. Your picture is part of that. It helps tell your story, present your professional image, and help you get noticed by HR recruiters and potential employers.

The right LinkedIn picture makes all the difference. And there is only one right photo. It’s a current photo of the professional you.  Your photo is the first impression and introduction of you.

Unless you wear a tux to your job everyday it’s probably best to leave out that tux shot. Or how about the ones where we know you cropped all your buddies out of the image except the problem is that we see that rogue arm around your neck? You know the one. Leave that out.

Wedding dresses, prom dresses, shots of you in your car, standing on a table, walking down a run-way, drinking coffee, taken with your webcam, or a photo of you at Halloween are all INAPPROPRIATE!

Headshots can be expensive.  So here are few tips to take your own.

  1. Bring a friend- Don’t take your own photos. We all know the outstretched arm picture. That’s not going to cut it. If you bring a friend the two of you can take one another’s pictures.
  2. Choose the right camera- I’m not saying to go out and buy something special. Any point and shoot will do the job. Even some mobile phones can take great images.
  3. Professional presentation of you- What you wear and how you look is critical in a professional headshot. Your clothing, makeup, and jewelry should not be overwhelming. Less in more.
  4. Lighting – You have two options. You can go outside and use natural light to your advantage. Overcast days can produce some of the most beautiful images. Do not take the photo in direct sunlight. Under a tree or awning may work. You can also take the image inside. If you do, you want to be near a window. The person taking the photo will have their back to the window so that the light casts onto you. Avoid shadows under the eyes.
  5. Wind- be careful of wind. If you choose to take the photo outside, and if you are a female or male with longer hair you don’t want it blowing in your face. You also don’t want to be squinting all the time.
  6. Background- watch out what’s going on in the background. You don’t want a great shot of your face and then a couple kissing over your shoulder. Keep in mind that you generally want a slightly darker background too.
  7. The photo- frame the persons face. Typically you want from the shoulders up – no bends in the body. From here you can play around. Take some close-up shots or others a bit farther out. You can shoot the image horizontal, from above, from the side, some laughing, some serious, or blurred background. Be creative, but keep in mind it is a professional image.
  8. Angles- you want to be mostly straight on to the camera, but slight angles are just fine.
  9. Editing- Now that the photo is complete, you may need to edit it. Lighten it up, crop it, or take care of blemishes. You can use all types of editing tools. One of my favorites – and it’s FREE – is PicMonkey. Drag, drop and edit. That’s it – it’s that simple.
  10. Post it! You’re all done so post that beautiful professional headshot.

I practice what I preach. The image in this post and any images you see of me on my social networking sites are all taken by my personal photographer- my husband. And no, he’s not a professional photographer in case you were wondering. The photo taken here was in my backyard and I used it for my upcoming presentation at the Public Relations Society of America’s International Conference.

I have different images for different social sites. My Twitter account is fun and light-hearted, my FB image is about what I teach – PR/SM, but my LinkedIn image is my professional self.

Now that you are armed with the knowledge – go forth and take good photos! Can’t wait to see them on LinkedIn.

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