You only get one chance to make a first impression

The current job market is tough. With so many applicants to go through, employers have the difficult task of finding the best person for the position.

GIF by Eric - Find & Share on GIPHY

It’s more important now than ever that our online presence reflects our best and most professional selves. With in-person meetings turning virtual, your LinkedIn profile is often an employer’s first impression of you, aside from your resume. It’s important to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward so prospective employers know you’re the best one for the job.

In fact, statistics show that LinkedIn members with a photo receive 21 times more profile views and nine times more connection requests.

Now, chances are you’re not a professional photographer, so the task of shooting the perfect headshot can seem daunting. But – rest assured, you can take a great headshot photo of yourself, and we’re here to help!

Here are our tips and tricks to get the perfect LinkedIn headshot!

Lighting is key

Best Friends Selfie GIF by HULU - Find & Share on GIPHY

It goes without saying that it’s important to choose flattering lighting.

For headshots, it’s best to avoid direct sunlight, shadows, and fluorescent lighting. Natural light is best, especially in the early morning or late afternoon.

For outside photoshoots, choose a location in an area that is not in direct sunlight. Stand with the sun behind you to avoid squinting your eyes and unflattering shadows on your face. 

If you choose to shoot inside, set yourself up next to close to a well-lit window or try using a ring light to replicate daytime lighting.

Important note: avoid using your flash as it can cause red eyes and wash you out.

Location, location, location

Selfie Corn Rows GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Location is one of the most important factors when taking a quality headshot.

Picking the right location goes hand in hand with everything else involved in taking your photos. Your environment affects your mood and determines if you’re relaxed and comfortable or distracted and uptight, so try to pick a location where you feel the most comfortable.

Whether you’re taking your pictures inside or outside, you want to make sure your background is just right. The best option is to pick a simple background that doesn’t pull the attention away from you. The easiest way to do this is by using a solid background with neutral colours, or for a little more pop – try a brighter colour that works with your brand colours.

Strike a boss pose

Awkward Schitts Creek GIF by CBC - Find & Share on GIPHY

If you’re anything like me and you’re not a natural when it comes to posing, your go-to pose for pics might be the iconic duck face and peace sign. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really work for LinkedIn headshots since, sigh, it doesn’t really scream professional.

Fight the urge and instead follow these steps:

  1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back and relaxed, lift your chin slightly, and lean forward towards the camera.
  2. Your hands can stay down at your side, or you can have them folded across your chest for a power pose. If you feel more comfortable, place one hand in your pocket.
  3. Don’t hesitate to make adjustments to your pose as needed. The more your move around and get used to posing, the more comfortable you will become.

Dress for success

On The Job Comedy GIF by Kim's Convenience - Find & Share on GIPHY

One of the most important pieces of advice you can get before going to a job interview is to dress professionally and look your best. The same goes for when you’re taking your LinkedIn profile headshot.

Dress code might vary slightly depending on the industry you’re in however, it’s always recommended to go for a business casual look in headshots. Wear professional clothes like a dress shirt, a dress and a blazer to make a lasting impression.

Some extra tips to think about when picking your photoshoot outfit:

  • Avoid bold colours, tight patterns or logos for shirts and blouses.
  • Darker colours will draw more attention to your face.
  • Layering clothing and accessories is a great way to add dimension but make sure not to overdo it. Stick to minimal jewelry, buttons, and headwear to avoid distraction.

Get the perfect framing

Picture Perfect Art GIF by grown-ish - Find & Share on GIPHY

For professional headshots, you want to ensure the framing of your shot is right. It’s best to do this while taking your pictures, but you can always fix it up when editing with a quick crop tool. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Capture your photos vertically from the waist-up or mid-chest up, avoiding head-only and full-body shots.
  • Try to apply the rule of thirds in your shots to make them more visually interesting. To do this, try to stand a bit to the left or right of your frame rather than dead center.
  • Crop your pictures as tight as you can, just below the shoulders, leaving a little extra space above your head. 

Capture a quality picture

Work Quality GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY

I think we can all agree that nobody likes an out of focus, shaky or pixelated picture.

Thankfully most phone cameras are up to par camera quality; however, make sure you’re not taking your pictures through an app other than your main camera. Snapchat and other apps that use your camera tend to reduce your images’ quality, and they will be lower resolution when you upload them to your LinkedIn profile.

To avoid a shaky picture, try propping up your camera against a steady surface or using a tripod.

Make only small edits

Photoshop Fix GIF by South Park  - Find & Share on GIPHY

When all your pictures are taken, set aside some time to edit some of your favourites. A little bit of editing goes a long way to make your pictures look extra professional. Less is more!

Try to limit your edits to adjusting your picture’s cropping, lighting and colour balance. Avoid filters at all costs! Alterations to your photo’s colour tone or saturation are not professional.

Sign up for a free virtual headshot!

Schitts Creek Comedy GIF by CBC - Find & Share on GIPHY

Still not sure about taking your own headshots? Don’t worry, IGNITE has you covered. When you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s always a safe bet to get help from those who know best.

As a part of Humber’s Career Month, IGNITE will be offering a FREE virtual headshot photo booth from March 1 – March 31, 2021, for Humber and UofGH students. Available through both your phone and computer, you can take and upload photos and customize your background to help ensure you end up with the perfect shot to add to your LinkedIn profile.

There’s no registration required, simply join online and get your smiles ready!

And voila! You’re all set to take the perfect LinkedIn headshot!

Looking for more ways to fine-tune your first impression on LinkedIn? We’ve got you covered with five ways to improve your LinkedIn profile.

Follow IGNITE on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for all things student life.