How Do You Get a LinkedIn Headshot?

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By The Light Committee

Your LinkedIn photo is more important than you think and having a professional LinkedIn headshot made for you matters. It is the first impression that can determine if LinkedIn users will even read your profile. To get it right, it is important to consider LinkedIn specifications for the photo, and more. But why is a professional LinkedIn profile photo important?

An example of a LinkedIn headshot and how it is cropped in LinkedIn
Increasingly, the Quality of Your LinkedIn Profile Photo Has an Impact on How Effective LinkedIn Can Be for You

Do-It-Yourself LinkedIn Photo vs. a Professional Headshot

Most people setup a LinkedIn profile for job and career opportunities. Sometimes it is simply for other reasons, like SEO. But most profiles are there in the hopes of getting recognized for a potential career move. For headhunters and hiring managers, LinkedIn is usually a must-check profile for any candidate. So, having a good profile is essential. And the importance of the photo is more critical than people think.

Here are some statistics about a LinkedIn photo to consider. There are many such proof points about it online. Just having a photo will get you 21 times more profile views and nine times more connection requests. You are also 36 times more likely to receive a message via LinkedIn. Now, for the bad part about using a bad photo.

People form an opinion of you – one that is difficult to later change – within 100 milliseconds of seeing your photo. Around 75 percent of LinkedIn users feel it is difficult to change a bad first impression made on LinkedIn. You do not want that opinion to be based on a selfie. Nor do you want it based on a crop of you from some group shot with friends while you are sporting a t-shirt. When searching through profiles, nearly 20 percent of recruiters look only at your profile picture. Most of them do not consider candidates if they used an unprofessional photo.

corporate headshot of a man in a suit in a studio with a light background near Burbank, CA
You Can Make Multiple Uses of a Professional Headshot Beyond Just for LinkedIn

Using Your Photo to Differentiate Yourself

Furthermore, we all need to differentiate ourselves to stand out to hiring managers. Since most LinkedIn profiles do not use a professional headshot, getting one to use for your LinkedIn profile is one sure-fire way to stand out. The better the headshot, the more you stand out.

Why is it sure-fire? Remember that research has shown the thing people usually check out first on a LinkedIn profile is your photo. It is also what they check out the longest. And we already established how it makes for a long-lasting first impression.

So, your profile photo on LinkedIn should be high quality. Often, people think their profile photo is so tiny it does not matter. Well, here is another mistake being made. Most people think we live in a mobile-first world. Actually, desktop use to get online – with large monitors – is still slightly ahead of mobile use.

Furthermore, when people are doing “real” work it is almost always on a desktop with a large screen – like a hiring manager screening candidates. Well, a LinkedIn user can click on your profile picture to reveal a much larger version of it. So, that is yet another reason to make it a good photo.

LinkedIn Profile Photo Requirements

Currently, LinkedIn has a maximum file size of 8MB. This means uploading a print-quality 8×10” is unlikely. Your LinkedIn profile photo is to be sized between 400 (w) x 400 (h) pixels and 7,680 (w) x 4,320 (h) pixels. This square format ends up with a tight circular crop once uploaded. They also recommend a file type of PNG or JPG. Other formats are not supported.

So, now that you are aware of the importance of a good photo and size considerations, what next? Here are five things to consider to be sure you get a good LinkedIn headshot.

woman doctor headshot pasadena ca
A LinkedIn headshot does not have to be against a bright gray background

Find the Best Headshot Photographer

This can be trickier than you think. In the photography market, there are few barriers to entry to become a photographer. This is why in Los Angeles alone there are supposedly more than 1,200 photographers, though only a small percentage of these are professional grade. With a little homework, you can find a good photographer for professional headshots that is also affordable.

Some things to consider vetting a photographer include whether they have a commercial studio. If not, do they have a studio-like setup at home or do they just find a spot outdoors? This will impact end results. What type of camera and lenses do they use? Cameras and lenses are not created equal. That is why some cost $500, and others cost $5,000.

How long have they been in business and how many headshots have they done? Do they have a website full of information on them and with examples of their work? Can you call them or email them, and do they respond promptly? These are but a few things you can check to make sure you will be hiring a professional photographer.

Dress to Suit Your Image

Whether you wear a suit or casual shirt should be weighed against the brand-image you want to convey. Remember that your profile photo is literally your first impression on LinkedIn. A poor image of you can literally stop someone from even reading your profile.

So, consider the industry you are in or are targeting and dress that part. Another popular theory here is to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Consider bringing multiple options to the headshot session so you can try many looks. You might even consider sharing some of the photos with your headhunter to ask them which is best.

Appear Approachable and Confident

Self-confidence is instrumental and it is important to show it. This can be as simple as having good posture, a nice smile, and a relaxing look. Usually, if you take care of looking self-confident, looking approachable takes care of itself.

People usually want to be around other people that are confident and not the opposite of it. This can make your profile photo stand out that much more. Getting a professional headshot done in itself is one proof point of your self-confidence.

Be Sure of the Background

The background view in a LinkedIn profile photo is tight. But it still can be a factor in the overall look you are after. Consider keeping it simple so the focus stays on you. But, not too simple. For example, you might want to avoid a plain white background, so it does not appear to be a re-used passport photo. Again, consider the brand-image you are after.

Another thing to consider is using vibrant colors somewhere in the shot. This can be the background or a tie, for example. This can help the image pop just a bit extra.

colorful studio headshot of a woman Los Angeles
A pop of color for your LinkedIn profile picture is not necessarily a bad thing

Use the Correct Photo to Upload

Once you finish your headshot session, you will select the best one to use for your profile. You will need to factor in the crop and size restrictions of LinkedIn. Ideally your photographer can provide online-optimized photos.

Remember you can repurpose your headshots too – they are not just for LinkedIn. You can use them on the company website, other online profiles, even to send to mom. So, get the most out of your session with your photographer.

The quality of your LinkedIn profile matters. More and more employers and recruiters rely on it to make hiring decisions. Whether it is right or wrong to first judge you by your photo, it is a fact to deal with. So, be sure your profile photo gets your overall profile off to a great first impression by starting with a professional photo.