How to Nail Your LinkedIn Profile Picture in 4 Steps
Want to give your career a shot in the arm, and aim for a big promotion? Or perhaps you’re simply looking to move up in the world by landing a job at one of America’s premiere companies? Maybe you’ve just be down on your luck, and trying to get back into the workforce? No matter your situation, a good way to start preparing for the next stage in your career is by giving your public-facing profiles a facelift.
And that starts with a new headshot.
You probably have a photo that you use for networking purposes – it adorns your Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin profiles, and maybe a few others as well. But how long has it been since you updated it? And when you uploaded that shot, how much time and effort did you seriously put into it? Was it a selfie in the backyard, or an old vacation photo? If you really want your social profiles to pop, you need a serious and professional headshot. Jim De Yonker, founder of the high-end photo enhancement site Luxmyphoto, has some tips to make you look as “hireable” as ever.
And De Yonker knows his stuff. He’s worked with a slew of high-profile clients, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Details, Rolex, Vera Wang, and Chanel. His advice is highly valuable, and can easily be translated for your own personal use to give your social profiles some more pizzazz.
Here’s an example of what we’re talking about. What you’ll want to do is go from this:
As you can see, a few tweaks, and the image has new life. Follow these four tips from LuxMyPhoto and Jim De Yonker to achieve similar results, and give your social media channels – especially your LinkedIn profile – a significant aesthetic boost.
1. Lighting! Lighting! Lighting!
Lighting makes all the difference in the world.
Seriously, if you can play around with the lighting in the area in which you’re planning to take some photos, you’ll be surprised at how big of a difference some small tweaks can make. What you’re going to do is manipulate the physical environment – and that may mean moving to different parts of the room, moving a light source closer to your body, or even experimenting with different light sources themselves, like camera flashes or sunlight. You can even try using light-colored surfaces (curtains, paper, towels) to bounce light from the direct source onto you.
“A good soft light source cleans up heavy shadows and allows the camera to optimally capture an image. At Luxmyphoto, lightening dark photos, especially headshots, is one of the most common edit requests we receive,” De Yonker says. “You can avoid this altogether by finding optimal lighting; not to mention, poor lighting reveals and captures all kinds of undesirables you don’t notice with the naked eye.”
2. Consider the composition
If you’re not a photographer, giving yourself a quick crash course in composition via Youtube or Lynda.com can help you get up to speed. Basically, by successfully composing your shot, you’re ensuring that you are the focus – not anything in the background. Remember: when considering composition, simpler is usually better.
“Like a job interview, first impressions matter (especially online), so keep in mind your headshot is critical to conveying who you are as a professional,” De Yonker says. “Make sure your photo’s background enhances, not distracts, from your overall image. Your Linkedin profile picture needs to be about you not the background.”
“When in doubt, follow the ‘Rule of Thirds’ – put yourself in a third of the frame so you have the rest of the frame for other subjects in your photo. You can also achieve this by capturing wider content in the original photo then cropping it after the fact.”
Explore with confidence
This is your chance to get creative, so go wild. Your digital camera isn’t going to charge you every time you take a shot, so don’t be afraid to shoot a lot, from different angles, using different light sources, and messing around with composition elements. If you can, get someone else into the mix to help you out, and take some shots from different angles.
“Manage your own expectations knowing all your photos won’t be perfect; you’ll have to experiment to find the right angle or facial expression where you look best,” De Yonker says.
“Take pictures of yourself laughing, making a funny face, screaming, etc. – whatever it takes to raise or change up your energy. In between those shots, take some relaxed photos. You’ll be surprised how less rigid or forced you’ll look and convey a better, welcoming persona. Remember, the best pictures come from catching a moment…that confident or fun twinkle of the eye, so experiment!”
4. Elevate with editing
Finally, you’ll want to make the effort to do some editing work. If you’ve never edited before, now’s your chance to get some experience with Photoshop (a skill that will look nice on your resume!).
“One quick tip is to evaluate your framing/crop of the image. Even a quick crop can change the entire perspective, mood or overall aesthetic. There are plenty of apps and even built-in image editors within your device to enhance your picture before you post it,” De Yonker says.
But if you’re not jazzed on the idea of editing, or would rather put your new headshot in the hands of some professionals, there are always services and artists that can help you out, like those at Luxmyphoto. You can even look at some of the samples they have online to get inspired.