Child with camera

The ideal profile picture

Your LinkedIn profile page is essential to your (online) reputation.

Your profile picture is the first impression you make on clients, employees, employers and colleagues. It all sounds logical, yet every day we still see photos and profile pages that need some work. But what does the perfect LinkedIn profile photo need to meet? With the following handy tips from photographer Ronald Zijlstra, get more out of your LinkedIn profile.

Tip 1 - Smiling is allowed in your profile picture

Sure, LinkedIn is a professional network. But that doesn't mean you can't be smiling in your photo. Smiling is always allowed. A smile makes you radiate warmth and therefore easier to approach. Smile with your teeth, but don't overdo it. Laughing with your head on your neck is not professional. 

A smile can make a big difference. After all, we prefer to do business with people we know, trust and above all, like. 

Tip 2 - Look straight into the camera

Choose a photo where you are looking straight into the camera. When you are in conversation with someone, you look at them too, right? 

Tip 3 - A recent photo

Make sure your LinkedIn profile picture is always recent. If you are invited for a job interview, networking event or a meeting with a (potential) customer, they should be able to recognize you immediately. Because if your profile picture is out of date, it will cost you a lot of trust during your first meeting. And that's a bad start for any relationship. So make sure your profile picture is always recent. 

Tip 4 - The background

When (having) your photos taken, choose a neutral background. White or black is always good. But colors work fine, too. In any case, make sure there is enough contrast between your face and the background. 

Tip 5 - The composition

What you show is important. But how you show it also matters. The ideal picture consists of your face and shoulders. No more, no less.

Tip 6 - Clarity

Proper brightness is important in any photo, including your LinkedIn profile photo. A photo that is too dark has too many shadow effects and makes it look dark. If the brightness is too high it can give a fake effect. 

Tip 7 - It's all about you

Your profile picture is all about you and no one else. So make sure you are alone in the photo. Photos with friends, family, children and pets are nice, but not for your LinkedIn profile. And no, cropped individuals (with any visible body parts) really can't be done. 

Tip 8- Appropriate clothing

This tip ties in with the previous one: choose appropriate clothing. Do you normally never wear a tie? Then don't choose a tie for your LinkedIn profile picture either. Wear clothes that you would normally wear to a business meeting or job interview. 

Tip 9 - Please, no selfies

Despite this being the era of selfies; don't do it for your LinkedIn profile picture. It really doesn't look professional when you stand with your phone in your hand or take a picture through the mirror. Ask a family member or colleague to take a picture, or even better.... 

Tip 10 - Engage a professional

Finding it difficult to take a suitable photo? Call in a professional. True, it's an investment, but it's an investment worth making. An investment that will pay for itself in the end. 

Learn more about Ronald Zijlstra