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LinkedIn Headshots: The Ultimate Guide 

If you’re looking for career growth or to establish a professional profile on the internet, LinkedIn is a must-have social media platform. And like all social media platforms, LinkedIn has the option of uploading a profile picture—a headshot, with the primary focus on the person’s face. 

LinkedIn headshots are important, but it can be hard to capture one that you feel good enough about to post on the platform. Luckily, you have several ways to streamline the whole photo-taking process, from planning the poses to using tools that refine and tweak the final headshot. 

What are LinkedIn Headshots? 

LinkedIn headshots are a type of business photo taken for professional reasons. While these headshots can be uploaded onto LinkedIn, they can also be used on company websites, as the profile picture for your company email, on business cards, and even attached to your CV. 

Unlike selfies and photos taken in more casual settings like holidays or birthday parties, headshots offer a different level of professionalism. You’ll be wearing more work-appropriate clothes and the end-result will be high-quality, polished, and show a confident demeanor. On LinkedIn, headshots should also be 400 x 400 pixels and with an aspect ratio of 1:1. Trying to squeeze in pictures that weren’t designed to be used as a LinkedIn headshot can make the end-result pixelated, blurry, and low-quality.  

This isn’t the time to upload group pictures or awkwardly cropped out images of your face from full-body shots. Instead, you’ll want a headshot that has you as the main focus, is up-to-date, and is ideally showing the top part of your chest with the main focus on your face. 

Why are LinkedIn Headshots Important? 

Research indicates that LinkedIn profiles with professional-quality headshots get 21 x more views and 9 x more connection requests than profiles with no headshot. And if you’re currently job-hunting or want to broaden your LinkedIn connection network, uploading one should be a no-brainer. So why are LinkedIn headshots so important? 

  1. Instantly differentiate yourself from the other LinkedIn profiles that have no headshot, or have a low-quality one. This immediately makes you more attractive to recruiters or your future colleagues.
  2. Showcase your personal brand. Your image is just as important to your personal brand as your CV, cover letter, or portfolio. 
  3. Improve your credibility. With so many scammers running rampant on LinkedIn nowadays, having a professional LinkedIn headshot indicates to others that you’re trustworthy, friendly, and approachable. 
  4. Use your LinkedIn headshots for other purposes. Whether you want to post it on other social media platforms, create business cards, or update your employee directory at your current company, LinkedIn headshots can be utilized in many ways. 

How to Take a Good LinkedIn Headshot

1. Practice your poses 

Generally, LinkedIn headshots aren’t the time to try out new or more “creative” poses. Instead, keep it simple and straightforward. While most headshots are taken from the front-on, there’s certainly no reason why you can’t tilt your body slightly to one side so your face is taken at an angle. In fact, this can make the picture look more natural and relaxed. 

Decide what you want the headshot to look like beforehand. For some people, standing straight up with your face directly pointing to the camera is ideal for their industry, while for others, they feel more comfortable leaning on a stool, or table, or arm chair.

If you decide to get your LinkedIn headshot taken by a professional photographer, they may decide to direct you or give you ideas on poses. Feel free to listen to their advice, or chip in with additional ideas that feel more “you.” 

Ultimately, you want the headshot to show you in the best light—think friendly, relaxed, comfortable, and approachable. Incorporating some fluid poses or slight movement during the photoshoot keeps the energy high and removes tension from your shoulders, neck, and face. 

For LinkedIn, it’s completely appropriate to have a smile with your teeth showing or with your mouth closed. If you have the time, ask the photographer to take headshots with both options, so you can choose the one you like the most. 

2. Consider your outfit and backdrop 

As mentioned earlier, your outfit matters when you’re taking a professional headshot. Luckily, you’ll only be captured from your chest up, so you can really be comfortable and casual on the bottom half of your outfit. However, for some people, getting all dressed up can make them “get in the zone” quicker. As for the backdrop, this will also depend on whether you’re getting it taken at a professional studio or another location. 

Wear an outfit that you feel 100% comfortable and confident in. If you don’t do this, the feelings of tension or being uncomfortable can translate in the final headshot. Neutral colors, like cream, white, black, navy, or gray are always a safe bet. If you’re in a more creative profession, you can also play around with colors and textures, depending on the industry you’re in. 

If you’re looking for a more neutral background, like a plain color block, then consider getting your LinkedIn headshot taken at a professional photo studio or using AI tools. Otherwise, other suitable backdrops include around nature, in front of a nice building, or inside a relatively neutral lounge area. Most of the time, this backdrop should be blurred to not detract from your face. 

3. Balance professionalism with your unique style 

LinkedIn is the most professional social media platform out there, but it’s still a social media platform regardless. This means you don’t have to follow the cookie-cutter approach. Instead, feel free to make slight tweaks to your headshot depending on your preferences, unique style, and what you’re looking to get out of LinkedIn. 

Play around with lighting and the shadows on your face. This doesn’t mean shrouding your whole face in darkness, but rather accentuating key parts to tell a cool story. For example, if you’re a 3D artist or a graphic designer, you can add a subtle colored filter, which provides a semi-futuristic glow and showcases your creative side. 

Don’t be afraid to inject some of your interests into your headshot. For example, if you’re a lover of nature, hiking, and everything outdoors, why not get your headshot taken with the background of some mountains or at the beach? 

If you love bright or statement colors, don’t dull your headshot down to fit into the crowd. Own your unique preferences and you’re sure to attract the right connections and companies that align with your interests. You can wear a vibrant pink lipstick and keep the rest of your makeup relatively neutral, or add a simple pop of color to your outfit with a bright silk scarf or tie. 

4. When in doubt, leave it to the experts 

If the idea of planning the photo session, getting your pictures taken, and editing them all yourself sounds too intimidating, then don’t be afraid to ask for help from the experts—especially if you’re not a pro at photography or know anyone who owns a professional-grade camera. While they may be a bit more expensive than just taking the headshot by yourself, professional photographers and AI generators can yield the best results and are a worthwhile investment. 

You can search for photographers in your area who specialize in headshots, preferable for professional purposes. Editorial, landscape, and event photographers aren’t ideal as you want to get someone who has extensive experience helping people in the same shoes as you. 

Professional photographers can either take the headshot at their studio or on location. This will affect the total pricing and in some locations, require extensive planning beforehand. Generally a photoshoot can last about 1–2 hours, including taking some test shots and changing up the poses throughout. 

AI generator platforms make it even easier by generating professional-quality LinkedIn headshots for you, all without the need to leave the comfort of your own home. However, you’ll need a fair few existing photos of you to submit on the platform, and depending on the quality of these pictures, this can affect the final headshots. 

LinkedIn Headshots: Photographers vs AI 

There are pros and cons when choosing professional photographers or AI platforms to get a LinkedIn headshot. We’ve detailed some below so you can make an educated choice depending on your needs and preferences. 

LinkedIn headshots from photographers 

Pros

  • Top-end lighting, backgrounds, and photo quality is almost 100% guaranteed with a professional photographer. 
  • Get instant feedback and advice. For example, an experienced photographer specializing in headshots will have ideas on how you can pose, position your hands, or even how to smile the right way. 
  • Most photographers offer bundle deals, which also include post-image processing, edits, and minor adjustments. 
  • You have some control over how you want the final headshot to look. 

Cons 

  • You have to physically get dressed up, apply makeup, and make your way to their photography studio (or to a specific location).
  • Some photographers don’t offer money-back guarantees if you’re not happy with the final headshot due to the time and effort it takes for the photoshoot. 
  • You have to wait anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get the final headshot, and this is also dependent on the photographer’s availability and schedule.

LinkedIn headshots from AI platforms 

Pros 

  • Save hundreds of dollars and get a final headshot that looks just as professional as one taken by an in-person photographer. 
  • Generate a LinkedIn-ready headshot in the comfort of your home; no dressing up in uncomfortable work clothes, leaving the house for just 1–2 hours, or posing in front of a stranger is required. 
  • Save time and get a collection of headshots to choose from. Best of all, you don’t need to wait. An AI headshot generator can develop your headshots in just a few hours. 
  • AI highlights your best features and makes you look polished, professional, and friendly without the need for extra makeup, filters, or editing. 
  • If you’re not happy with the final result for any reason, most AI generators offer a money-back guarantee. 

Cons 

  • You’ll need to already have several images of yourself to upload—which isn’t ideal for anyone who doesn’t like taking pictures or doesn’t have any on hand. 
  • If you don’t upload good-quality images to the AI generator or follow the instructions, the final headshot can be warped or look “off.” 
  • Some AI platforms come with privacy concerns, which is why it’s so important to choose reputable generators, like Portrait Pal, to ensure your full privacy. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are professional LinkedIn headshots a worthwhile investment? 

Yes. Whether you’re just starting out in your career or you’ve got extensive experience under your belt (and on your LinkedIn profile), one of the first things people see when they view your profile is your headshot. These can include your colleagues, future employers, recruiters, and other connections you have on LinkedIn. 

And if you’re actively searching for a new job, looking to broaden your network, or just beef up your LinkedIn presence, then first impressions are important. A high-quality professional LinkedIn headshot can signal to others that you’re credible, trustworthy, and confident. And since LinkedIn is a professional networking social media platform, there’s no better place to put your best foot forward and invest in a headshot that looks clean and modern. 

How much should a LinkedIn headshot cost? 

Depending on where you’re located in the world, how many headshots you want, if you’re shooting in a studio or at a specific location, and other factors, the cost of a LinkedIn headshot can vary. Generally speaking, there are three ways you can get a LinkedIn headshot taken: by asking a friend or a family member to take one of you, paying a professional photographer, or using AI tools to generate headshots. 

If you ask a friend or family member to take a headshot for you, it’ll most likely be free. However, you may want to compensate them for their time and you’ll need to consider if they have a professional-grade camera for the best results. Using a phone camera can work, but if the end-result is blurry or low-quality, this won’t be ideal. Also, in most cases you’ll have to do the post-editing and processing yourself. 

If you pay a professional photographer, prices can go as high as $1,000 in the US, depending on the photographer’s experience, location, and session time. Also, if you want a really great photographer, they may be booked up several weeks or months in advance. In some cases, post-picture processing will also be needed, which can take up to a week to complete. 

If you use AI tools to generate your professional LinkedIn headshots, it’ll cost a one-time fee, usually up to $100. However, you’ll get to choose from a wide range of generated headshots, usually in a span of a few hours. Some professional AI headshot generators, like Portrait Pal, also offer a money-back guarantee for extra protection. 

What should a professional LinkedIn headshot look like? 

There’s no official rule about what people should wear or how they should look in their professional LinkedIn headshot; however, it’s always advised to keep it as work-friendly and appropriate for a professional setting as possible. This means an outfit that you’d be happy to wear to an in-person work meeting or networking function. Think a suit jacket and a button-down shirt for a guy or a smart blazer, blouse, or high-neck dress for a woman. 

Of course, this will also be dependent on the industry you’re in (or want to break into). For example, if you’re working in a more corporate industry, like banking, tech, or software development, then having a smart and sophisticated headshot is always a safe bet. If you’re in a more creative field, you can play around with backdrops, colors, accessories, and more. Have a look around at some of your colleagues’ headshots. What do they look like? You don’t have to emulate them completely, but it’s nice to know that you’ll be on the same page—although there’s certainly no harm in putting your own personal spin on things if you want!

As for makeup and grooming, simple is always better. While you may be partial to a full-glam look, save that for your more casual selfies or photos taken at social gatherings. In general, a clean and minimal look is recommended. And if you don’t have any professional clothes to wear (or you’re simply dreading the thought of getting all dressed up for a few pictures), AI tools can generate professional-level headshots for LinkedIn—or personal use—just by uploading a few pictures you already have of yourself.

We believe in privacy first.

Any images you upload or any images that our AI generates are not saved. They are deleted immediately. We do not and will never sell your data. We do not train our AI using your uploaded or generated images.