7 do’s and don’ts for taking a professional LinkedIn photo

1/04/2021 6:47 am

LinkedIn is an amazing platform to network with colleagues as well as prospective clients and employers. It has helped many people around the world land their dream job, and even if you aren’t looking for a new role right now, connecting with like-minded people can help you build those relationships for the future.


While your experience and expertise is the most important thing, you want to put your best face forward and come across as competent and professional. Here’s how to take a professional photo for LinkedIn, including 7 do’s and don’ts.

Why is it important to have a good LinkedIn photo?




Think of your LinkedIn profile as your digital first impression. If you have a professional and respectable headshot, that will point to the way you present yourself at work — and people will probably keep scrolling through your profile. On the other hand, having no image can be a turnoff, especially since LinkedIn is a form of social media. Your viewers will want to put a face to the name. But posting a poorly taken, blurry or unsuitable photo is even worse, and it doesn’t send the right message.


With that in mind, let’s talk about how to take a good professional headshot.

7 do’s and don’ts for taking a professional LinkedIn photo

The best equipment for a LinkedIn photo

Don’t worry, we’re not going to tell you to buy a complete camera kit! But there are a few pieces of equipment that will make your shoot a success, and leave you with a profile picture you’ll want to show off.

7 do’s and don’ts for taking a professional LinkedIn photo

A camera and lens. If you’re in the market for a camera, a DSLR or mirrorless camera will always take a better photo than your smartphone. Their large image sensors capture more detail, and they’re compatible with a wide range of high-end accessories. We understand that a dedicated camera isn’t in everyone’s budget, so you can apply our tips to whatever camera you’re using. If you do choose a camera with an interchangeable lens, consider picking up a portrait lens for your headshots. A prime lens with a 50mm-85mm focal length is the best portrait lens. It will sharpen your foreground and blur your background to focus on your face, which is the hallmark of professional headshots.


A tripod or phone stand. Ideally, you want to avoid taking a traditional selfie where you’re holding the camera yourself. That’s where a tripod comes in. It will free up your hands so you can properly compose your image and pose professionally. You don’t need anything fancy for the purpose of your profile picture — a tabletop tripod or even an affordable phone stand that can safely hold your gear in place will do the trick.


A remote. You can definitely set a self-timer and get into position while it’s counting down. However, a Bluetooth remote that connects to your camera or smartphone can make the process easier. Hold it discreetly in your hand, and fire the shutter when you’re ready.

A light source. You can capture beautiful photos in natural lighting, but it’s often tricky to master, and you’ll need to find a precise location and time for your shoot. To solve this problem and give yourself the option to shoot your photo at any time, look into artificial lighting. Flash guns are popular, and you can use the bounce flash technique to imitate the soft, warm effect of natural light. Otherwise, a portable LED light or another form of constant light is a cheap, beginner-friendly option.

7 tips for taking professional headshots

Now that you know about the gear, let’s turn our attention to portrait photography techniques. These tricks of the trade will help you to capture the best photo for LinkedIn on your own.

#1 Use a plain background if you can


In other words, clear out the clutter (and don’t stand in front of your kitchen sink)! To present the best possible image of yourself, try to pose in front of a white or neutral-coloured wall, and remove any objects, pets or people from the background. If you don’t really have any plain backgrounds in your home, you can hang a backdrop or a sheet of fabric to “fake it til you make it.”


#2 Shoot in a well-lit environment


We touched on this earlier, but if you’re using natural light, avoid shooting in dark and gloomy conditions. That darkness will come across in your photos, and they’ll probably be grainy, too. It’s best to wait for a bright or sunny day to take your profile picture and get it right the first time. 


#3 Fill the frame with your face


Remember, you’re taking a headshot, so there’s no need to capture yourself from top to toe. Our headshot posing tip is: your face should take up around 60% of the frame, and your shoulders should take up the rest. This will let your viewers know what you look like, without giving them an extreme close-up of every pore on your face.

7 do’s and don’ts for taking a professional LinkedIn photo

For a corporate headshot pose, angle your shoulders towards the camera, and make sure the camera is at eye-level for the most flattering result. And don’t forget to smile!

7 do’s and don’ts for taking a professional LinkedIn photo

#4 Dress the part


You’re most likely using LinkedIn to connect with professionals or pursue new opportunities, so you want to dress appropriately. One of our business headshot tips is to wear something you’d wear to the office on a workday. For example, that might be a tailored suit if you have a corporate job, or a simple shirt or blouse if you work in a more casual industry like fashion or tech. Make sure your hair is clean and neat, and keep your makeup minimal.


#5 Steer clear of filters


As much as we love adding a vintage feel to our Instagram photos, avoid slapping a filter over your headshot. It isn’t professional.


#6 Stick to simple edits


The purpose of your photo is to help your coworkers, clients and potential employers to put a face to the name. You want them to be able to recognise you in person, so we wouldn’t recommend Photoshopping your image dramatically. That being said, you can make some basic edits to make your photo look more professional, such as adjusting the contrast and saturation levels.


#7 Upload your file in a decent resolution


On LinkedIn, the standard profile size is 400x400 pixels, and your file can’t be larger than 8MB otherwise it will be rejected. If it’s too small, your image will look fuzzy and blurry, so make sure you upload your file in the right size.

Make a professional impression on LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn profile is basically the online version of your resume, and the goal is to get people to connect with you. A good headshot will go a long way to grab recruiters’ interest and show that you’re careful about the way you present yourself.


In need of some camera gear to take the perfect headshot? Head to your local Ted’s Cameras store or browse the best cameras for portraits online. We have a 14-day exchange policy on all orders, and offer free shipping over $100.


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