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LinkedIn is geared specifically toward people with a business mindset, meaning users join because they’re hoping to connect with like-minded colleagues, recruiting new employees, or searching for a new job. Whatever the reason, it’s imperative that your LinkedIn profile attracts the kind of attention you’re looking for, making your profile picture an invaluable asset to getting the most from your experience on the website.

Characteristics of a professional photo

Not everyone has access to a professional photographer. If you do, that’s great! Have them take a clear, well-lit photo of you for your profile. You can also save time and money by taking them for yourself. Either way, knowing the characteristics of a professional photo can be beneficial to you as you update your profile. Here are some tips to keep in mind when taking your LinkedIn photo.

  • Wear business attire
  • Be mindful of your background
  • Take a headshot
  • Showcase your smile
  • Take more than one
  • Wear business attire

Your profile photo should always reflect the person you want everyone on LinkedIn to see, especially if you’re looking for work. According to an article from Ladders, 47.4 percent of women and 41 percent of men are biased towards applicants wearing business attire when conducting an interview. Alternatively, casual clothing can be associated with laziness or a lack of professionalism. To be taken seriously as a professional on the platform, dress in your business best.

Use a simple background

The point of a profile photo is to see the person the profile belongs to. Anything that would draw focus from that detracts from that focus. Your background should be simple and consistent. Among other things, it may be safe to shoot against:

  • An evenly painted wall
  • A simple beach backdrop
  • Lush greenery
  • Clean and evenly laid brick or tile

The background you take your picture against could make a real difference in whether your profile comes across as professional. Be careful not to have any trash or clutter behind you as it can draw focus away from who you are.

Take a headshot

When you’re taking a LinkedIn photo, your face should account for more than half of the pic. Your LinkedIn profile is like a special resume; it’s used to find out more about your knowledge, experience, skill, and your personality. A close up, or headshot, allows people browsing your profile to see your face, giving them an opportunity to make positive assumptions about your personality type.

Showcase your smile

You might think a straight face would be a more appropriate choice for a business photo, but smiling leaves a better impression! A smile says a lot about a person’s personality and state of mind.

  • Smiling shows confidence
  • Smiling says you have good people skills
  • Smiling says you would bring a positive attitude to the job

Take more than one

We are our own worst critics. Instead of taking one photo and settling on it, you should take several of them in a single photo shoot. You may decide that your smile seems more natural in one, the background may look better, or you may find any number of small variations. Either way, it never hurts to have more photos to choose from!

Things to avoid

Just as there are key indicators of a professional LinkedIn photo, there are definitely some things you should avoid as well.

  • Don’t use stickers or emojis
  • Don’t use group photos
  • Don’t take blurry pictures

All of these things could potentially diminish the impact your photo would have on the people that see it.

Stickers and emojis

While adding these fun features would be fine for Instagram or Facebook, it’s not an appropriate practice for a LinkedIn profile photo. It could potentially paints you as immature and draw attention from you as the focal point of the photo.

Group photos

Group photos may seem like a fun and inclusive way to represent yourself or your company on LinkedIn, but you should never use them as your main photo. The point of your photo is to depict the person behind the profile, and group photos make it difficult for users to decipher exactly which person you are. Avoid group pics to make it easy for the people who view your profile.

Blurry photos

This is probably one of the most obvious things to avoid. If you went to the movies and the entire film was completely out of focus, you might demand your money back. Who would pay to see a movie of such poor quality? Resolution has a similar impact on LinkedIn and can affect whether someone wants to learn more about you. We suggest using a photo of 450 px by 450 px with 72 ppi or higher.

Taking the perfect photo is a great way to put your best foot forward on the platform and ensure you’re making the most of your LinkedIn professional connections!


Devanny (dev-uh-knee) is a Social Media Marketer based in Las Vegas. She's a dog lover with a propensity for mystery novels, and when she's not at her laptop working on comprehensive marketing campaigns, she can probably be found running around Disneyland or curled up with a good book!