What Does Your Profile Picture Say?

With so many people looking for work, LinkedIn has become the place to network and find new business opportunities.  It is virtual networking.  With that in mind, it is very important to have a good profile picture since we can’t meet face-to-face (not right now anyway).  Your photo will be the first impression for future clients and/or employers.  I recently read that LinkedIn profiles without a photo are less likely to be viewed.  This will hurt you if you are searching for a new position or new clients and you cannot get them engaged.  Your profile picture is part of your personal branding.

Investing in yourself with a professional photo for your LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts, as well as your company website is worth it.  However, you may not be in a position to work with a professional photographer today.  I completely understand, which is why I wanted to share a few tips for taking a photo at home now to get your profile updated.

Tips for A Selfie

  1. It should be professional looking. Unless you are a veterinarian or dog walker, leave the pets out of the photo.  They are cute but distracting.  Also, some people have a serious phobia of certain animals. (You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because of a phobia!)
  2. You want to be recognizable. All of your connections should be able to pick you out of a crowd at the local coffee shop by your profile picture.  I recommend a shot from the shoulders up so that your face is clear in the photo.
  3. Be dressed and ready for work to take the photo (hair, make-up, shave, etc.). Solid colors will photograph best.  Jewelry that is dainty will not show up very well in the image, so this is a good time to minimize jewelry or wear the larger pieces in your collection.
  4. Wear an outfit that makes you feel confident, it will show in the photo.
  5. Lighting is very important. Natural light is great but make sure the light source is in front of you or slightly off to the side (especially if you wear glasses – beware the glare).  Beware of light that is too harsh (mid-day) – we don’t want you squinting or to have odd shadowing.
  6. Have a clutter-free background and be mindful of what’s in the background. Avoid the tree or plant sprouting from your head or ear, etc.
  7. Use the Portrait mode on your iPhone or camera (this will help blur/soften the background so it isn’t so in focus as to take away from you – the star of the photo)
  8. Have the image be eye-level or slightly above so you are looking up. Looking down at the camera is NOT a flattering look.
  9. If you have someone to take the photo that will be great. If not, you can use the self-timer and a tripod/GorillaPod or shelf to hold the camera.
  10. Try out several poses and locations so you have options to choose from.

Remember, this is your introduction to the world so think open, friendly, and confident as you smile for the camera.

Hiring a Photographer

Clark County, Washington–where I live and work–is in Phase 2 of the COVID-19 restrictions. That allows photographers to work again with some restrictions (masks, etc.).  If you want to have a professional take your photo, you are in luck.  There are many talented photographers in the Vancouver and Portland area.  I own a photography business and would love to work with you.  As a member of the Viewpoint Collaborative photography group, I would also be happy to refer you to another trusted photographer in the area.

It is important that you feel comfortable with the photographer you hire.  There are many price points and skill levels out there, so find the one that worst best for you.  I would recommend checking out photographers’ websites for pricing and photo galleries.  Also, check out their social media feed.  That will allow you to see if you like their style of photography.

Whether you are taking the photo yourself or working with a photographer, the above tips will be helpful for you to plan for your picture day. Lights…Camera…Action!

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Sara Uhacz