Is Your Photo the Crowning Glory (pièce de résistance) of Your Profile? It Should Be!
The pandemic has ushered in a new normal of near constant (or so it seems) online activity, and you can think of your LinkedIn® profile as your new business card, but on steroids.
And whether you like it or not – and many of us don’t – front and center on that “card” is your headshot. Your profile photo is either the pièce de résistance that makes your profile soar, the torpedo that sinks your ship or the blah/meh image. If you have ever taken a spin through LinkedIn, you can attest that the majority of headshots fall into the latter category. In that case, you are essentially telling your audience you are not worth a significant investment of time (hey, you didn’t invest much time in yourself either, so why should they?).
Preparing for a Photo Shoot
Preparing yourself for a professional photo shoot is in many ways similar to preparing for an interview. Here are five top ways to be prepared:
1) Have two or more outfits ready to go.
2) Choose clothing that complements your hair and complexion and will present you as a high-impact candidate, in line with your brand.
3) Prepare yourself physically – hydration and no/minimal alcohol 24 hours beforehand (to reduce puffy eyes), self-care, salon/barber visits, etc.
4) Get everything in place beforehand so you do not forget something important and can be calm and focused on the big day.
5) Be ready to engage with the camera. The process can feel unnatural, but focus on the results!
If you want some more details on hair, make-up and wardrobe, feel free to read on.
Working with a Photographer
Here are a checklist and a detailed set of suggestions I created to help you get the best headshot. I suggest you share the checklist with your photographer. Even if you work with an experienced professional, the right prompting may be needed to ensure your photographer optimizes the LinkedIn format (which does not always lend itself to headshots taken for another purpose).
Wardrobe and Make-Up
Here are some wardrobe and makeup tips, from experts I have engaged from time to time, that you may find helpful before the big day:
(Note that the photographer whose tips I link above, Alejandro Barragan, does high fashion and location work, as well as corporate headshots – hence his colorful website!)
You may note that one of Alejandro’s tips is to forego necklaces and conspicuous earrings for a cleaner look. If you have trouble, I suggest taking images with and without your jewelry to see which you prefer.
You can also take a look at any of the videos I shot for this course, as further inspiration to create a clean look.
I suggest that you consider having your hair done professionally (if it is of any appreciable length) before a shoot. Although it is certainly an investment, your goal is to win over your target audience by showing them how you look on your best day, in front of their top clients, board or otherwise. Give yourself the extra confidence boost and polish, and your images will reflect it.
For shorter hairstyles, make sure to avoid the all-to-common hair shooting out of the back of your head or at weird angles, as well as what is (not so affectionately) called helmet head for a reason!
Scarves & Ties
If you plan to wear either a scarf or a tie for the photo shoot, make sure you know beforehand (don’t assume) that you know how to tie it. There is nothing worse than a sloppy look, after all of the effort you have invested!
This last tip comes directly from my last professional photo shoot hosted for clients, at which an executive combed through YouTube®videos at the last moment in an attempt to fix a crooked tie. Alas, at one time I might have been able to help, but it is no longer a skill I practice regularly, nor did the client as his office had gone business casual years ago. (Thankfully, Alejandro was able to save the day with some artful post-production work!)
Image credit: © 2019 Anne Marie Segal. All rights reserved. Page last updated on March 17, 2022.