7 Tips to a Great Professional LinkedIn Profile Photo


LinkedIn is the world’s most popular platform for business professionals and executives. Most people generally join LinkedIn to create a professional network and to meet others in similar fields. It’s either people looking for a new job or those who are interested in finding new employees. Many sales executives also use LinkedIn to generate more leads. 

Curating and optimizing your LinkedIn profile is critical if you want to grow your network and attract more attention from like-minded business professionals. Your LinkedIn profile photo plays a vital role in your overall presence on the web. 

It’s the first thing that people will see when they browse your profile. LinkedIn profile photos play a critical role in your branding, so you need to be very particular with the picture you put on your LinkedIn profile. 

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The Key Elements of a Professional LinkedIn Photo

The best thing to do would be to hire a professional photographer to take a few headshots for your LinkedIn profile. However, not everyone can afford to hire a professional photographer or spend this much on photos. You can also take the photos yourself, provided you know the key elements to focus on. 

Here are a few that you should keep in mind when taking professional photos:

  • Smile at the camera! 
  • Get a clear headshot.
  • Choose your background carefully.
  • Focus on your attire (opt for business-casual or business)
  • Look approachable 

When selecting a LinkedIn profile photo, it’s best to pick a picture that looks like you. For instance, always wear business attire if you want solid minds ambitious pictures to connect with other professionals in a similar niche or look for work. This is one of the best ways to create a better LinkedIn profile

Here are seven practical tips that anyone can follow to instantly improve their LinkedIn profile photos and become more approachable on the social network. 

1. Smile

professional linkedin photo example

Most people are under the impression that they should maintain a straight face while taking a business photo. However, if you want to seem more approachable, there’s nothing better than putting on a smile! A smile shows that you are confident in yourself and have a positive attitude.

Having confidence in yourself is perhaps the most critical thing.

Viewers will make up their minds an image of your personality and frame of mind by just looking at your photo.

You want to place a LinkedIn profile photo that shows you smiling and looking happy. Above all, a smiling photo shows that you enjoy your work.

2. Bring Your Face in the Frame

Bring you face in the frame

Your profile on LinkedIn is like a customizable resume. It lists your experiences, your qualifications, and your interests. Anyone who goes through your profile will find more details about your experience, skill, knowledge, and interests. By taking a headshot, you allow viewers to put a face to the person. 

You want people to make a positive impression in their minds about you, and this is only possible by taking a close-up headshot. More importantly, you should always select a photo that will give viewers a clear idea about what you look like. 

You might have met a few people who look very different from the photos on their social profiles. For instance, you may meet someone using an image that’s several years old, or maybe they started wearing glasses, grew a beard, or even dyed their hair. It’s startling to meet someone who looks different from what you saw in their profile photo. 

Everyone expects a slight change, but a drastic change in appearance may leave a slightly poor impression. Always use a recent headshot that matches your current appearance. 

3. Don’t Choose a Distracting Background

Don't Choose a Distracting Background

The location you choose for taking the picture matters more than you might think. Remember, you want to draw maximum attention to your face. You don’t want anything distracting the viewer from the focal point of attention: you. 

That doesn’t mean you choose a bland backdrop against a white wall. It is essential to select an ambitious significant theme as a solid, ambitious picture-distracting distractingthemkground, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be boring. For instance, you could take a photo out in a park with trees in the back. Just make sure that the focus remains on your face! 

You could also take the photo in front of a lightly colored, clean brick wall. Ideally,  you’d want to wear darker colors to stand out from the background. Make sure you select your background carefully because it plays more of a role than you think in forming people’s perceptions about you.

For instance, you don’t want any kind of clutter behind you when taking a photo. Similarly, you don’t want to take a picture with trash strewn in the background. People might think that you are impervious to your surroundings. 

4. Make Sure the Photo’s All About You

Make Sure the Photo's All About You

Using a group photo as a LinkedIn profile pic is a strict no-no. Sure, it may indicate that you are a team player and love being around friends. But how will candidates figure out which one is you from the group photo?

You don’t want to keep them guessing, which is why it’s generally best to go with a solo profile pic. Don’t crop out others from a group photo to focus on yourself; it looks crude and doesn’t leave a good impression. Instead, try to take a solo picture that focuses only on you.

Get more LinkedIn leads

If you want to feature a group photo of your team on your LinkedIn profile, use it on the banner image. It will look so much more appropriate there.

5. Wear Your Work Clothes

Wear Your Work Clothes

What you wear can inform viewers about the nature of your current employment, your ambitionspicture and even give an insight into your spending habits. Psychology plays an incredibly important role in how we dress, and you can use your clothing as a strong aid to boost your impression. 

Clothing is a very important social and economic indicator and will give viewers a decent understanding of your personality. Ideally, you should wear clothes that you’d ordinarily wear to work. Every person has a different style, so keep it simple. Go with a casual blazer or a shirt with firm colors. 

If you wear a suit to work every day, make sure you are wearing one in your LinkedIn profile photo. If you prefer a button-down shirt and jeans, go with that. An important thing to know here is that firm colors tend to pop out better on camera, so using bold tones is generally a good idea. They will really make your photos stand out! 

6. Go With Soft and Natural Lighting

Go With Soft and Natural Lighting

Talk to any photographer in the world, and they’ll tell you just how important a role lighting plays in their shots. Taking photos under harsh lighting will completely change the aesthetic. The harsh lighting will create shadows on your face, making you seem grim. It may bring a shine to your skin, causing the photo to look a bit artificial. 

Photos in natural light are generally the best, but just make sure you aren’t standing directly in the sun. It’ll cause the photos to seem washed out. Ideally, you’d want photos taken in a shaded area that gives your skin a natural glow. If you hire a professional photographer, they will be able to give you better guidance about where to position yourself for the best lighting. 

7. Always Take Several Photos

Always Take Several Photos

Wherever you go for a professional photo shoot, never just take one photo. It may look good on the smaller camera screen, but the picture might not be to your liking on a bigger screen. Ideally, you should take several photos in a single shoot, with different poses and backgrounds. 

This is important, because you will notice several minuscule differences between each that may sway your opinion. If you are paying for a professional photo shoot, get the maximum bang for your money and get multiple shots! 

What You Need to Avoid

If you follow the tips given above, you will end up with a fantastic LinkedIn profile photo that paints you in a good light (literally) and makes you seem more approachable. However, there are several cardinal sins that you need to avoid when taking LinkedIn photos. Here are a few. 

Avoid Headgear or Sunglasses

Avoid Headgear or Sunglasses

Avoid putting up a photo with sunglasses and headgear as your professional picture on LinkedIn. This is a business-centric platform, so putting up a photo with sunglasses or a cap just makes you seem unprofessional. You want your face to look as natural as possible. Avoid obscuring it. 

Don’t Put Up Blurry Photos

Don’t Put Up Blurry Photos

This is arguably the most obvious thing to avoid. Do not take blurry photos, especially for your LinkedIn profile. For instance, when you are sending out connection requests to others for sales prospecting, they are going to visit your profile. The first thing they’ll see is your profile photo.

If that’s blurry, it simply indicates a lack of effort on your part. You can’t expect them to respond. When using a LinkedIn automation tool like Growth-X, it’s important that you update your LinkedIn profile before you start sending connection requests and nurturing prospects.

Even though it’s a small thumbnail, you’d want to use a high-resolution image for it. It should be greater than 450 x 450 at the very least for maximum detail. Upload the photo and see how it looks first. If it seems blurry or grainy, replace it.

Do Not Use Filters or Emojis

Do Not Use Filters or Emojis

Avoid putting up photos that have been heavily tampered with or include emojis in them. This is LinkedIn, not Instagram, and there’s a huge difference in the mindset of the average user on the platform.

It may make you seem insecure or immature, and that’s the last thing you want on this platform. It’s not a good practice when you are looking to connect with other business professionals. By default, LinkedIn offers six filters that you can use on your photos. 

That’s not an indication that you need to always use one of those six for your photos. Be very particular about the kind of mood you want to present with your LinkedIn photo. The Classic and the Spotlight filter, for instance, sharpen the photos, making them seem more polished.

You can always play around with a few of the filters to see which one works best. You can also tweak the brightness, contrast, and the saturation of the image. However, if you feel that the image is perfect, don’t tamper with it.

Don’t Take Group Photos

Don't Take Group Photos

Group photos may seem like a fun way to include other members of your company in the frame, but you should never use them in your main profile photo. The LinkedIn profile image is all about the person who the profile belongs to. A group photo simply makes it difficult to identify the person. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to identify you, which is why it’s best to steer clear of group photos as your main profile pic. 

A Great LinkedIn Profile Photo Could Dramatically Improve Your Reach  

If you want to increase your response rate and focus more on B2B lead generation via LinkedIn, having a great profile photo on the platform is very important. It could dramatically increase your response rates and make communications easier. 

People will think that you are likeable and trustworthy and will be more willing to accept a connection request from you.

A good LinkedIn profile photo is one of the most critical steps to building your own personal brand on the platform.

Coupled with a LinkedIn automation platform like Growth-X, you will be able to generate highly engaged leads and improve your results dramatically. 

I’m Growth-X’s digital marketing, copywriter, and customer success expert who focuses on growth hacks for B2B companies. When not working, you might catch me doing yoga or planning my next adventure.