When is the last time you updated your LinkedIn? What about your professional headshots for LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. If you’re not on it, you’re missing out. And if you don’t have a good profile photo, you’re still missing out.
Why your headshot needs an update.
If you don’t have a good headshot, then you’re not leaving a good first impression with potential clients, business partners, employers, employees, etc. These people need to know that you are three things: friendly, trustworthy, and professional. What better way to demonstrate that then through an amazing profile photo? It doesn’t matter what you write in your profile, no one is going to take you seriously if your photo is amateur.
So what makes a good headshot? I’m glad you asked! Whether you take your headshot yourself or get it done professionally. It’s important to take these things into consideration:
The background of your headshot photo matters. Colored and patterned backgrounds can be distracting. Go for a clean and simple white or grey. Black is okay too but sometimes I find it to be harsh. You just don’t want to distract from what really matters here, YOU.
The lighting is probably the most important while also the trickiest aspect to a headshot. Lighting can change a person’s look and feel with the slightest move of an angle. There are many different studio lighting techniques to create amazing definition. But if you’re doing this at home, the best lighting is right in front of your window! It will offer a natural, soft, even light for your headshot.
(Left 3: Straight on, all natural window light. Right Image: Studio light)
(Left 2: Window Light from the left/right side. Right 2: Backlit)
I actually really love backlighting, it gives a really dreamy pretty look but I don’t think it’s appropriate for professional headshots. These shots also require reflectors which I didn’t use in these shots.
Make sure your image is a high enough resolution for the web ( 72ppi). If you crop your images to anything smaller, the web will compensate for it by blowing it up and you’ll end up with a very low quality, pixelated image that will make people question your professionalism.
(Left 2: Good quality, high resolution. Right 2: Very low quality/resolution, yucky iphone photo in bad light and scaled down)
Like I mentioned before, color can be distracting. But I think that a simple pop of color in a shirt, jewelry or tie can add a lot of personality as opposed to a neutral toned photograph. You do want to stand out after all.
(Colorful necklace, colored blouse, colored scarf to show some personality. The point is that a pop of color is eye-catching.)
It’s important to present yourself as a professional in your industry. Think about the industry you work in. Are you an artist/blogger? You’d probably stand out more with something business casual, you can get a little more creative with colors and accessories. Do you work in Corporate? You’d probably be better off with a suit. If I can stress one thing, it’s to wear something that contrasts with your background. If you wear dark on dark or light on light, you will sadly fade away in your photograph. If your background is light, wear something dark or bright colored. If your background is dark, I suggest wearing lighter colors.
(Black on white, white on grey to create contrast)
(White on white, black on black. Though on the left, Camille’s white shirt has black stripes that still outline her body, so it still looks okay, but as you can see on the right, Andru’s white shirt starts to blend into the background. No good! Middle background is more of a blue/grey, while her shirt is black so there is still some definintion, but it’s not ideal.)
Hair and Makeup
You want to look your best, but still look like you. If you never wear makeup, I’d go with a “Natural” look, soft tones and a bit of mascara just to make you look fresh and awake. As for hair ladies, don’t hide it, wear it down either straight or curly but keep it simple.
There are tons of photography tricks when it comes to posing. Generally, when photographing headshots, females should be shot slightly above eye level to bring out their feminine qualities, as well as bringing their shoulders inward. Males should be photographed from below eye level, with shoulders back and out to give them a powerful and more masculine look. Of course, these are only guidelines, I think more importantly you want to see a defined chinline. You can do this by taking your chin out and down (try it in the mirror, it’s life changing!)
(Left: Shot from below, camera angled up Right: Shot from above, camera angled down)
Your expression is equally as important! During my shoots, I always get a variety of expressions. The main being, a genuine big laughy smile, a traditional smile, a soft no tooth smile, and finally a fiercer looking model expression. Depending on your personality and your industry, one might be better than the other.
In my headshot, I chose to use something untraditional. As a photographer, I am allowed to be creative with my headshot. I wanted to show my fun and silly sides, to tell clients that I am different, I am not afraid to be myself, I am relatable, and to send the message that photo shoots should be fun!
A good headshot can be used across any platform, not only Linkedin, but also on your website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Gmail, Youtube, etc. Are you ready to give your headshot a makeover and leave a better first impression? If you do take a new headshot after this post, please comment with your results – I would love to see them!
To schedule a headshot session with Audrey, please contact the studio.
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Launch Party Update: Aiming for the end of November or Begining of December, I will send an email with details to all subscribers when I have an official date. 🙂