Your LinkedIn Portrait: The Power of a Photograph
A good LinkedIn portrait is your very first impression for future employers, colleagues, and competitors. What does your portrait say about you? A 2005 study by Princeton called “First Impressions: Making up Your Mind after 100Ms Exposure to a Face,” revealed that a minimal exposure time of a tenth of a second is sufficient for people to make specific trait inferences from facial appearances. Wow.
So….what does your portrait say about you?
I have been photographing LinkedIn portraits for about four years and love collaborating with clients to create their image. We spend about two hours figuring out the best expression, angle, lighting, background and clothing. I photograph, they look at it and tell me what they like and what they don’t like, and we do it again.
Here are a few tips to help you get a portrait taken that represents you and isn’t generic.
- Do your research.
What head shots do you like? Look on LinkedIn or do an internet search. Save those links. Show them to your photographer.
- What feel do you want your photo to have?
Professional? Casual? Do you want it taken inside or outside? With natural light, or flash? By showing the photos you like to your photographer, he or she can figure out the best lighting.
- Wear clothing that represents you.
I recommend that my clients wear something that they feel good in, but I also like their outfit to have a pop of color so that they standout out on the screen. If the client doesn’t feel that this represents them, then we do something different. I always have them bring several options to the session. I prefer solid colors with no branding.
3A. Wear clothing that represents who you WANT to BECOME.
If you are a field researcher and want to go into management then wear semiprofessional clothing. Conversely, if you are in management and want to do field research, dress accordingly so your future employers can envision you in your future role.
FUN FACT: Eye tracking studies at the Poynter Institute of Media Studies indicate that viewers gravitate to red and white first. (http://www.newsu.org/courses/eyetrack-photo). Keep this in mind.
- Your face should fill the photo. LinkedIn photos are small, like postage stamp small. Your photo should just be of your face. Full-length photos are not going to work.
- The photo should look like you, but DO have your makeup done. After the photo is taken don’t let the photographer do so much enhancement that it looks like you 20 years ago. But before your photography session DO get your makeup done. Ask the makeup artist to make it look natural and ask that they even out skin tones and hide blemishes. This advice goes for men too. I recommend my clients schedule a makeover at the nearest Bobbi Brown counter. Their makeup artists do a good job of making it look fresh and natural for the camera. And remember makeup comes out darker in photos.
- If you want to have your hair styled, do it the day of your shoot by a professional, but DON’T get it cut right before your shoot.
- Choose a background that isn’t too distracting. I like to have interesting backgrounds, or background colors, but I set the camera to make sure that the backgrounds are out of focus.
- Be your best supermodel. Your photo should have some energy and movement. This may sound funny but it works with my clients. It gets them moving a little so that they relax and don’t look or feel stiff. They also start having fun, which helps capture some more relaxed moments and genuine facial expressions in between them pretending to be a super model. Plus head shots with a strong diagonal are much more dynamic and compelling.
You can see more of my head shots along with client’s previous image, as well as our concept ideas at: jenniferloomis.tumblr.com