LinkedIn Headshots: How to take a professional photo

Written by Samantha Oates-Miller, Career Insights and Graduate Support Assistant

If you are setting up or refreshing your LinkedIn profile, you will want to include a recent photo of yourself. This quick guide will help you ensure the photo you take is professional and well laid out.

1. Location

Find a location with a plain wall, ideally a light colour, and good natural light. This means that the place you choose should be near a window, with the light coming towards you (not behind you). Avoid cluttered backgrounds, or walls with busy patterns.

You will also need enough space in front for you to stand and for a friend or family member to take the picture.

2. Outfit

Even though this is a headshot, your shoulders will still be visible in the photo. You should wear professional clothes that are appropriate for the sectors that you want to work in and the people you want to connect with. It most cases this will be smart clothes.

You should also appear as you would on a normal day – for example, wear your glasses if you would normally have them, wear your normal makeup, and have your hair in its usual style. This will help people identify you from your photo.

3. Posing

As this is a professional style photo, the best poses are simple ones. You should smile naturally, look at the camera and relax! Stand (or sit) with your back to the plain wall.

4. Camera

You don’t need a professional camera to take a good LinkedIn profile picture. The best method is actually to use a smartphone camera and ask a friend or family member to take the photo for you (avoid selfies!). Remember that you can take as many photos as you need and pick out the best one!

Avoid using a webcam to take the photo, due to the glare from the screen.

5. Cropping

Your photo should be of your head and shoulders, and you should take up two thirds of the frame. Therefore, you should crop or resize your photo before uploading it, so that it just includes your headshot, and so there isn’t too much blank space around you either.

Once you have your professional photo, upload it to your LinkedIn profile. Don’t forget to update your education history and experience while you are there too!

If you want some tips on using LinkedIn and building your network, check out the Careers Service website.

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