With the abundance of portrait images on the net, from selfies to super corporate LinkedIn profiles, images for social media need to stand out from the crowd and project the professionalism and confidence you have. Often a linkedIn profile is the first impression you make or it will reinforce your personality after that first contact. It is surprising how many professionals on linkedIn still use holiday or family photos as their profile image. While this is fine for Facebook. The images tend to all look the same. By this I mean that the lighting, the colour and ambiance are all very similar and are usually quite flat, lacking contrast, or with unnatural colour tones. These type of images can present you as down to earth and approachable, but do not suggest that you follow through with the same attention to detail that perhaps you have given to your CV or profile.
This is where a professional photographer’s portrait can really make a difference. By creating a flattering, approachable and confident headshot, that presents you uniquely the way you want and with attention to your target audience, it will stand above the abundance of selfies or friends snaps.
Whether you choose a pro photographer or not, when it comes to taking your profile portrait there are few guidelines you can follow to improve how well the final results works. From your clothing choices, grooming and the food and drink you choose to eat beforehand.
When I undertake this type of assignment, whether for an individual or a group session, I will use lighting which is complimentary to each subject, and select a background appropriate to the intended use. I will also ask the subjects to follow a few simple guidelines:
- MEN/WOMEN – Clothing should be neutral and coordinated. Its better to opt for darker tones black/grey (Reds, blues, yellows area Acceptable). Avoid stripes and busy / loud patterns. Including clothing with patterns on the inside lining or inside collars etc.
- MEN/WOMEN – Try to get hair done as close to the shoot as possible or at least within 2 weeks of the shoot.
- WOMEN – Bring hair clips / bands, ties brush etc in case needed.
- MEN – Shave on the day of the shoot if you don’t wear facial hair.
- MEN/WOMEN Bring a choice of jacket, shirt/blouse and tie. Clothing should be ironed and if possible bring a fresh shirt to avoid creases. If you usually walk or cycle to work and the weather is windy and wet try to arrive in time to sort out any hair or clothing issues which might result because of the weather.
- Without sounding like an overzealous health guru. Try to get an early night, stay hydrated but avoid caffeine and hot drinks on the day, before your photographed as this can make you sweat and look flustered. Eat a light meal before the shoot. If your travelling to my studio space in Surrey then I’ll happily reward you with fresh tea/coffee after the shoot.
During the shoot its advisable to apply the same body language and postures you would adopt when meeting colleagues or clients.
- Maintain eye contact with the camera.
- Keep expressions close to neutral without exaggerating emotions/expressions. Its ok to smile.
- Keep your posture upright but loose, lean towards the camera without slouching. Try to keep shoulders straight.
- Its often the case that crossed arms is a defensive unwelcoming posture. However in some sectors this can be interpreted as the posture of someone who is confident and control. Research your target sector and inform the photographer who will be viewing you portrait.
If you are going to upload images yourself to LinkedIn below are thee current guidelines for images.
- You can upload JPG, GIF or PNG files.
- File size – 4MB maximum.
- Your photo should be square.
- The ideal pixel size for your photo is between 200 x 200 to 500 x 500. If either width or height exceeds 4000 pixels, your photo will not upload.
- Select who you want the photo to be visible to.Click Save Settings.
Example LinkedIn Portraits