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8 Proven Tips for a Standout LinkedIn Profile Picture

As a first impression for potential clients, employers, or collaborators, your LinkedIn profile picture is a powerful tool. Expert headshot photographer Austen Hunter, who has photographed thousands of professionals, understands the power of a captivating headshot. To help you make a lasting impact, Austen shares his top eight tips for creating a standout LinkedIn headshot.

Table of Contents:

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1. Choose the Right Background

Your face should not be competing with any other elements in the image for your LinkedIn profile picture. Distractions often come from what's behind the subject, so choosing the right headshot background is key. Use a solid color background, and neutral tones are best. If you are taking your picture outside, use either a solid wall for a background or get far away from any objects immediately behind you so your background looks soft and blurry.

2. Dress for Success

When taking your new profile picture, it's important to dress true to your role. Try not to overdress or underdress for your LinkedIn headshot, and instead wear what you'd normally wear to work. If your job is a work-from-home job, try outfits that match the company dressiness as a whole. If you're completely uncertain as to how you should dress, the way your immediate supervisor would dress is a safe bet. For more info, check out our post on headshot outfit tips.

headshot photographer tips for a great linkedin profile picture pic

3. Use Good Lighting

A good headshot will feature lighting that flatters the subject. If you're taking your own headshot, the best kind of lighting (apart from professional studio lighting) is natural light. To get the best natural light for your headshot, take your picture near a large window that lets in a lot of light. Otherwise, use an area that has shade (like under a tree or awning) or take your picture during the later period of the day where the sun is lower in the sky. Taking a picture with the sun directly overhead leaves deep shadows under the brow that look unflattering.

4. Make Eye Contact

To truly convey a warm, confident, and approachable headshot requires good eye contact with the camera. Just as it works in real life, proper eye contact allows the viewer to connect with your image and conveys trustworthiness and friendliness. Making eye contact with the camera can also create a sense of assertiveness and professionalism. In contrast, looking away from the camera gives an appearance of aloofness that you'll want to avoid when setting a first impression.

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5. Smile Authentically

While making eye contact, you should also give a genuine smile for your profile picture. Not only does smiling make you appear more confident and approachable, but people can also subconsciously tell when you're faking it. In order to create a genuine smile, it's all about visualization. As you look into the lens, think of someone or something that makes you happy about smile. Genuine smiles are shown in the eyes, and you should see the difference there. For best results, practice this technique in the mirror to feel comfortable with it beforehand.

6. Get the Right Angle

The right angle can be the difference between a good headshot and a bad headshot. Avoid taking the picture from an extremely high or low angle. Keeping the camera parallel with the chin is a great way to capture a confident, authoritative shot. If you're taking the picture on a cell phone, remember that these phone cameras tend to distort and stretch whatever is closest to the camera, so avoid holding the phone to close to you. If you're taking your own picture, it may be best to use a tripod to position your phone. Be sure to use a flattering pose for your headshot as well!

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7. Update your Headshot Regularly

I've covered how often you should update your headshot before, but the general rule is that you should update it every few years, or any time you make a significant change to your appearance. Keeping your profile picture matching closely to your personal appearance is a way to maintain a good first impression, especially when many colleagues and hiring managers will see you in LinkedIn before meeting you in real life.

8. Consider hiring a Professional Photographer

Many people choose to get a professional headshot for LinkedIn. Because LinkedIn is often the first place a hiring manager or supervisor will go to research a candidate's suitability for a job opening, it's a wise choice to make a good first impression with a quality picture of yourself. Additionally, a professional photographer will know which type of headshot will help you stand out and look your best. Investing in a professional headshot communicates that you are serious about your branding, pay attention to detail, and are willing to go the extra mile towards creating a favorable impression.

If you're ready to make a great first impression, get in touch with me and I'll help you create an authentic headshot that shows the real you to world. With professional coaching and flexible pricing in each package, I offer a headshot experience that's a league above the competition. Get started by viewing my headshot packages today:

headshot photographer tips for a great linkedin profile picture pic

Austen Hunter Photography is a Headshot Photographer operating out of Pensacola, Florida. With his team, he delivers high-quality headshot images to working professionals, creative entrepreneurs, and corporate clients from Gulf Shores, Alabama to Destin, Florida and beyond. Austen Hunter is an internationally published photographer and is known for creating headshots that leave a Great First Impression. Book your headshots with Austen Hunter today.



Austen Hunter Photography is a photographer based in Pensacola, Florida who specializes in family beach photography, military portrait photography and professional headshot in a bold and clean style. Austen Hunter has been locally recognized and internationally published . He uses a variety of both natural light and off-camera flash to capture images. People usually book Austen for outdoor portrait sessions or sessions conducted at his home studio.

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Chelsea, Headshot Client

"Wonderful experience! Wanted an updated headshot and Austen and Sarah were amazing. The studio was clean and incredibly nice, Sarah even provided blotting pads to help with shininess I had during photo shoot. 10/10 recommend to anyone wanting to get a photo taken! Thank you again!"


Tammy, Headshot Client

"We are so glad that we found Austen. He did a wonderful job providing us with quality headshot photographs. He made us feel comfortable and gave us good suggestions for posing. We look forward to working with him again in the future!"


Daryl, Beach Client

"Austen and his team were amazing! They were able to capture exactly what we wanted for our engagement pictures and also provided us a tent to change clothes. I would highly recommend him and I would definitely use him again."

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