I was at a LinkedIn workshop the other day and I had to admit that the reason I don’t utilize my account is because I hate looking at many of the profile pictures. They hurt my eyes was my response. Many business professionals think that cute and friendly is the way to go when it comes to an online profile picture. They think of it as part of their ‘brand’ and while that may be true for many it’s not a look that transitions well for all. When you consider the size of the avatar photo creative isn’t something you want to incorporate into your profile photo.
Below are a few thing that make a profile photo just bad.
- Poor Lighting-A professional photographer knows how to use light to their advantage. If you are attempting to take your own headshot and are not familiar with flash or off camera lighting your chances of getting a good picture are 50/50. Using a headshot that you took with your iPhone does not ensure you will achieve optimal lighting. Without knowing how to use light you could end up with dark circles under your eyes, uneven lighting and what we call a color cast on your skin.
- Background-a professional photographer will know how shoot in all locations. They will know to keep an eye out for odd things that will seem like they are growing out of your head, horizon lines that just don’t look right, photo bomber, and poles!
- Location – While we all think taking a headshot on location is a good idea because it tells the story of what we do and of our business and yes I agree it is again remember profile pictures are not large enough to share that wonderful story and tend to come across as cluttered backgrounds which are either over or under exposed and lose you the subject of the photo, YOU!
- Choice of Clothing, Just because you are a yoga instructor does NOT mean all of your profile images should have you decked out in yoga pants and a tank top. NO NO NO! How about instead you wear a t-shirt layer on a cute jacket and style it with a chunky stella and dot necklace? Since most headshots are 3/4 body shots most times you don’t have to worry about your pants being in the shot. You also want to be mindful of colors and patterns. While I love pinks I think it wise to keep things classic and toss in a splash of color here and there as opposed to looking like a bottle of pepto. Since fashion trends tend to date your photo and the last thing you want your headshot to say is “hey look at me, I took this picture in Spring 201X’
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