5 Perfect Examples Of LinkedIn Headshots
You already know that a LinkedIn profile picture isn’t optional – people need to know who they are talking to when they look up your profile. However, the headshot you use can’t just be a passport picture and there’s more at work here than simply getting recognised.
Your profile picture lets people know that you understand your industry, that you know how to portray yourself successfully, and it does a lot to influence their first impression of you.
Studies have shown that your profile picture doesn’t just determine whether someone will look at your profile: it continues to shape their impression of you after you’ve met them.
In this article, we’re going to looking at five fantastic examples of LinkedIn profile pictures and the techniques they use to convey the right message to their viewers.
1. The Creative
Being a creative on LinkedIn is difficult. You need to look professional without looking out-of-touch. You need to look stylish without looking vapid. And you need to look original without looking silly.
Goldie Chan, the founder of Warm Robots, provides an excellent example of how to do a creative’s headshot because it shows someone who knows how to be creative in the right way.
Bright green hair and a hat could easily be too much, but as it is a well-framed and well-shot photograph it becomes evidence that she knows how social media works.
It is taking attention-grabbing, stylish elements and framing them in a professional context.
When taking your own headshot, make sure that your uniqueness and creativity is on display but make sure that it’s part of a high-quality image that instantly allows the viewer know you can operate in a professional environment.
2. The Business Person
Being in business means being capable and determined, but it’s important that your headshot doesn’t end up making you look like a snake oil salesman or someone who is playing at being a business person.
Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay entertainment, has a headshot which manages to convey everything it needs to: it’s powerful without being intimidating. The two most notable elements are the angle used and the choice in background.
The camera is looking up at him from a low angle which gives him presence but he doesn’t need to be in an overly aggressive power-pose to achieve it. By sitting down he is able to look relaxed in a professional environment and it’s subtly telling us that he doesn’t need to take his own photo.
Many business profile pictures will use a white or solid-colour background but that can be a missed opportunity. Whereas as a solid-background implies someone who went into a studio to look powerful: Peter’s background suggests someone who naturally looks in charge.
When creating your own headshot, consider how you can use angle and background to generate the feeling you want.
3. The Leader
A leader’s headshot needs to strike a balance between being approachable, knowledgeable, and powerful. Getting all of these together in one photo that doesn’t make you look like the centre of your own cult of personality can be tricky.
Jim Kim, president of the World Bank, gets around the issue of finding the perfect headshot by simply showing us him being a leader. His headshot is taken in the middle of the conference when his body language is welcoming and he appears authoritative in mid-speech.
This approach has the added bonus that you don’t need a special photo shoot to get your headshot.
To attempt this, simply ask a colleague or assistant to capture you while you’re in your element and ensure you’re looking particularly polished on the day. You will need plenty of photos to choose from in order to get the best image.
4. The Startup
A headshot of a startup entrepreneur has many similarities with a creative’s because they both need to look creative and unique. With the startup, however, the subject also needs to look effortlessly intelligent, passionate, and investable.
Aki Soudunsaari is founding partner of Naava – a company which creates ‘green wall’ air purifiers. In this simple picture, he manages to demonstrate his passion for his startup in a fun way while still appearing professional.
The key to this is his prop. Props will often look contrived or awkward, so you need to embrace that potential awkwardness by not pretending it isn’t a prop. Once you have your prop in place, you can get away with being more casual because you’re automatically associated with your workplace environment.
Nevertheless, you shouldn’t be too casual. Studies have found that viewers are more receptive to profile pictures when people are in formal attire.
To rock your own prop, think about what really encapsulates your role and see if there’s a prop nearby you can use to show it off. The tone of this headshot won’t work for everyone but it’s an easy way to add a unique twist to your profile.
5. The Corporate Creative
Not all creatives get to come to work in jeans and tennis shoes but even a corporate creative will need to convey their creative flair in their headshot. You need to appear to be someone who can go to bat for a well-established corporation but still understand the creativity at the root of their profession.
Jeremy Waite is a marketing leader at IBM and he’s managed to create headshot that conveys a seasoned professional who understands his industry but still knows how to provoke and be original.
This headshot is in some ways a reversal of Goldie Chan’s headshot. Rather than taking an unconventional look and framing it in a professional headshot, Jeremy has taken a professional look and framed it in an unconventional way.
The angle and composition are playful and the background message of ‘think,’ gets the viewer thinking and lets us know he attends events concerned with challenging ideas.
When taking your own headshot, make sure that you take a few pictures that experiment with composition and consider having something in the background that sets the tone for your profile.
LinkedIn Headshots Are Important To Get Right
Often when trying to get a good headshot for LinkedIn, the focus is entirely on how to frame your face, how to get perfect lighting, and what to wear. However, it’s equally important to have a picture that expresses who you are and allows you to create a unique impression on whoever looks at your profile.
To really understand who you’re trying to appeal to with your headshot, you can take a look at our guide to building an effective LinkedIn marketing strategy.
The techniques discussed here can be used for any type of headshot and you shouldn’t afraid to play with composition, to bring in a prop, to stand in front of different backgrounds, or to make your personality come through.
While it’s always important to look professional, it’s more important that you demonstrate an understanding of your profession and that you never come across as perfunctory.
To make sure that your profile is telling the story you want it to, it’s helpful to have an outside and impartial perspective. To get a free LinkedIn profile analysis, get in touch with the social media marketing experts at Gett Results.