LinkedIn Headshots: How to Prepare

My clients often ask “what do I need to do to take a great headshot”? First, let’s remember why a headshot is important - according to LinkedIn statistics profiles with photos are viewed 21x more often than those without.

“Members who include a profile photo receive 21x more profile views and up to 36x more messages”

Humans are highly visual and naturally a photo creates an impression much like an in-person first-impression. Today, your online presence is often your first-impression (whether you like it or not).

So what do you need to do to make the best first impression?

Hire a professional photographer who has taken headshots before. A pro will ask a few questions to understand who you are and what brand you want to convey with your headshot. They will also professionally re-touch your photo to make sure you look your best. Take a look at their portfolio of headshots to make sure their style matches your vision for yourself. Even better, find a few headshots you really like and ask your photographer if they can replicate a similar style.

Plan your look. Your attire should match your work environment. For business environments here are my suggestions:

Women

  • Dress or blouse with a simple neckline in colors which compliment your complexion. Stay away from busy patterns - solid colors work best. My personal preference is to not show a lot of skin and to leave arms covered. Optional: blazer

  • Jewelry is great, just don’t make it the focal piece of your picture. You want your eyes and natural smile to steal the show.

  • If you normally wear glasses, wear them in your photo. You don’t want people to have to work to recognize you based on your photo.

  • Get a fresh haircut and color a couple weeks prior to your headshot. Let your hairdresser know your plan so that they give you the best quality of service that they can. Pro tip: book your hairdresser to do your hair the morning of your headshot if you don’t feel confident doing it yourself.

  • Makeup should look natural. Pro tip: book a professional makeup artist to do your makeup that day. You want to look and feel your best.

Men

  • Suit coat with button-down shirt. Optional (based on work environment): tie

  • Get a fresh haircut a week or two prior to your headshot.

  • Groom your facial hair and don’t forget your eyebrows.

  • If you normally wear glasses, wear them in your photo. You don’t want people to have to work to recognize you based on your photo.

Photo by  Michael Dam  on  Unsplash

Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash

Strike a pose. A great headshot photographer will help you find a pose that makes you look the best. Shake out and stretch your arms and make some exaggerated facial expressions to get your face muscles warmed up. Here is what your body will look like in a great headshot:

  • Picture captures you mid-chest to the top of your head.

  • Natural smile, eyes looking directly at the camera, chin angled slightly down.

  • Body slightly angled, one shoulder slightly closer to the camera than the other.

  • Arms and hands relaxed (try not cross your arms). Sometimes people feel comfortable with hands clasped in front of their body, hands on hips, or hands on low back.

Have fun. Trust that your photographer wants to capture you at your best. Relax and think happy thoughts - some people even imagine they are looking at their spouse or child when looking at the camera.

Post it. Once you get your picture back, get it loaded to your profile. It’s best not to apply a filter to a professionally taken headshot.