What does your LinkedIn Profile picture say about you?

March 20, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

As a commercial photographer, an increasing amount of my work is taking shots for professionals to use on LinkedIn, company websites and other professional media channels.

But why, you may ask, when I have a perfectly good camera on my phone and just need to identify myself online, should invest in a photographer to do this for me?

Well before I get on to the reasons why your professional image is so important, I’ll share with you my top six sins.

  1. The overly casual. A photograph that has been cropped from a night out on the town or on a holiday, wearing casual clothing that doesn’t reflect your professional appearance. Bearing in mind this may be the first image a potential employer, client or colleague has of you; do you want them to think you wear suntops or Hawaiian shirts on the average working day?
  2. The overly cool. I once saw a LinkedIn profile shot of a man standing on the front of a yacht, shades on, hair swept back, blue skies, not a care in the world and with an air of arrogance. Other people aim to look quirky and cool by having a tiny bit of their face in the corner, or an image of a random object or scene. This approach is a risk. How will it help potential clients engage with you professionally?
  3. The family shot. Family is for Facebook. Pictured with the girlfriend or cute toddler is really not the way to go for an appropriate image if you want to be taken seriously.
  4. The poorly cropped. Someone’s dismembered arm draped over your shoulder? Palm tree above your head? ‘and chips’ from a partial menu sign behind you? Come on, some professionalism please! No amount of cropping can replace professional post-production techniques and editing.
  5. The poorly lit. Too dark making you hard to identify. Over exposed giving you a ghost like quality. Red eyes. It’s not a good look.
  6. It doesn’t look like you. Believe me, this is a classic. Professional people and networkers meeting for the first time will often rely on the photo they have seen by way of identification. It can be very misleading if you’re now bald, but your photograph was taken ten years ago when you had a full head of hair. Or maybe you’ve changed your hair colour, or the photograph just didn’t really do you justice. Either way, looking like you in your photo is pretty important.

But shouldn’t professional networking be about my personality not looks? About experience not aesthetics? About credibility not image?

Like it or loathe it, your professional image is important. And here’s why.

Networking

If you’re an entrepreneur, sole trader or business owner, professional networking is likely to be an absolutely vital part of your business. You know the mantra, people do business with people. It’s not about people liking what you look like, it’s about them knowing and connecting with what you look like. It will help them identify you at a networking event. Position you with credibility as someone who has invested time and effort into their professional image. It can increase the sense of engagement, before you’ve even met.

Branding

Your professional photograph can reinforce or even help to build your organisational brand. It’s not essential that you have a corporate style standard head and shoulders shot. Of course, depending on your business, this may well be the right approach. But professional photographs can also be fun, artistic and creative. The choice of backdrop, clothing, styling and editing can impact on the perception of the business’s brand. A talented commercial photographer will use their creative skill, interpretation and production techniques to understand and convey the brand through your LinkedIn photograph.

Image

Believe or not, your photograph really can impact on perceptions of your personality. A good commercial photographer would always take a full brief before starting the shoot. How do you want to come across -  as a senior leader, or an approachable advisor or creative mastermind? Who are your customers? What’s your business brand and proposition? What if any concerns do you have about your appearance that you may wish to address? Clever use of elements like backdrop, lighting styling and editing will ensure that the ‘you’ you want to portray is delivered in a perfect shot.

So don’t be misunderstood, misrepresented or guilty of one of the six photographic sins.

A small amount of investment in a great photograph can have big benefits; to your business, your brand and your personal image.

Some examples for you on how varied and different your image can look

For more details contact Amanda by email on amanda.duncan2@btinternet.com

 

 


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