LinkedIn headshots at art of headshots

How to get the most out of your LinkedIn Headshots

Step 1: Understand why you should update your LinkedIn Headshots

Your profile image is the first thing people see when they navigate to your LinkedIn profile. The few seconds it takes to view your LinkedIn headshots is crucial to convince people to continue looking at your qualifications. Within seconds people will form an opinion on your likeability, influenceability, and competence from your profile photo alone.

Who would you hire?

Try an exercise with us, and open your LinkedIn account to look at headshots of colleagues. Alternatively, pick a random company like Shopify and navigate to the list of their employees. Before you click on anyone’s profile, who stands out and why? Are they the people with well lit photos zoomed in close to their face? Or are they the ones whose photos look like a selfie? You might find that the most influential portraits invoke emotion, and have a good composition. Professionals understand the importance of his or her brand and will only entrust their LinkedIn headshots to another professional dedicated to the Art of Headshots.

Years ago our CEO Carlos received a Facebook invitation to listen to a business guru’s talk. When investigating this credentials Carlos came across an oily skinned, vacant eyed, fake smiled headshot captured on an iPhone. This didn’t inspire Carlos to pay this man $300 a day for business advice. When Carlos came across an event to listen to Tony Robbins talk he had the complete opposite reaction “Tony’s portrait was richer than his content, somehow I gravitated to him on a subconscious level. I wanted to listen to him and felt like his $3,000.00 pricing was a bargain.”

Step 2: Pick a Photographer

The best way to get good LinkedIn headshots is to work with a proven professional photographer. Follow our tips to find the right one for you.

Look at their portfolio

Find the photographer’s website and spend some time studying their work. Have they photographed people like you before? You’ll be able to tell from their website if they know the basics of operating a camera to get clear, properly lit images. You’ll want to choose a photographer that has plenty of headshot photos in their portfolio, and generally stay away from photographers that don’t have a focus and as a result photograph everything from pets to flowers to architecture. Ask them to send you samples of their LinkedIn headshots if it isn’t clear from their site.

Or ask for a recommendation

If you have coworkers and friends living in the same city as you, ask them if they have any recommendations. This can be a great starting point to see if you like their work. Check out reviews on their website, on Google Maps, or websites like Yelp that rank businesses.

What to look for in a portfolio

Your ultimate goal for LinkedIn headshots is to end up with an image that will inspire people to like and trust you. Therefore your headshot should evoke emotions in your viewers. If most of the potential photographers’ portfolio shows photos of people with blank expressions and fake smiles, you’ll probably want to steer clear of them. Look for a photographer specializing in LinkedIn headshots that has the ability to draw out genuine individuality from his or her clients.

Step 3: Getting the right headshot

Your profile image is the first thing people see when they navigate to your LinkedIn profile. The few seconds it takes to view your LinkedIn headshots are crucial to convince people to continue looking at your qualifications. Likeability, influenceability, and competence, are the big three traits that people judge you on in a professional setting. Don’t scare people away from your profile by following our proven guidelines to getting the best LinkedIn headshots.

Pick the right clothing

There is no universal color or outfit that will make everyone look perfectly professional in their LinkedIn headshots. Choose colors you know look good on you already. Equally important is picking clothing that fits your current body shape, and making sure that clothing is wrinkle free. Wrinkled clothing in photos can indicate you don’t care about your appearance, and others might then assume you also don’t care about the details in your work. You can steam or iron your clothing the morning of your photo shoot, or bring a wrinkle free outfit to your photo session.

Background & Composition

This is where you get the choice to be creative or let your photographer take the lead. Choose a background color that compliments your outfit, or a neutral color that will allow you to stand out from the background. The brand you’re trying to create for yourself will also dictate the background choice. You could get our photographer to photograph you with city buildings in the background, choose an outdoorsy backdrop, go for classic white/grey/black. We even provide services where we remove the backdrop from your image and replace it with a background that matches your branding. Choose a classic portrait orientation LinkedIn headshot, or ask our photographer for a landscape headshot for a more cinematic look.

Be willing to open up a little

When it comes time for your session, be authentic and transparent with your photographer. Try to answer some of their questions about you. They’re hopefully not only asking questions to be polite and instead they ask you questions to elicit genuine emotions in your eyes.


It used to be that you needed to upload a photo to LinkedIn that was already cropped into a square, but LinkedIn has improved their tools to allow you to upload a photo of any orientation or size. If you’re not sure you’d be good at your own cropping, ask your photographer if they would be willing to provide you with a cropped version of your photo to meet LinkedIn headshots proportions.

Step 4: Improve your LinkedIn profile

Now that you have professional LinkedIn headshots, upload your best on to your profile. It doesn’t stop there though. Make sure you spend time updating your experiences, your credentials and your accomplishments. Write a clear introduction on what you do and how you can help others. If you have a few extra minutes, ask colleagues and clients to endorse your skills and possibly leave you a review. Reviews convince future clients that others have taken the time and effort to appreciate services rendered by you.

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“One of the great things about LinkedIn is it isn’t the same kind of networking that happens at conventions, where you’re wearing a name tag, trying to meet strangers, and awkwardly attempting to make small talk. LinkedIn is networking without the pressure.”

— Melanie Pinola, Freelance Writer