LinkedIn Photo Tips

How to Choose a LinkedIn Photo and Make the Best First Impression


Have you ever received a connection request from someone without a LinkedIn photo on their profile? If you didn’t recognize the name, it’s probably safe to say you clicked “Ignore.”

You don’t want to use LinkedIn anonymous, but you shouldn’t do it without a LinkedIn headshot either. The best LinkedIn profiles have a professional business photograph.

Continue reading or watch the first of Chuck’s Quick Tip of the Week videos below! This week he talks all about choosing the best LinkedIn profile picture.

Are you using a photo that’s making you look bad? Keep reading to find out!

Does Your LinkedIn Photo Fall into One Of These Categories?

A professional business headshot immediately adds to your credibility on LinkedIn. Let’s take a look at the top ten lousy profile images people are using on the platform.

  1. No photo.
  2. A photo with your significant other.
  3. A photo where you crop out other people.
  4. A photograph with your entire family.
  5. A casual photo that was taken in a car.
  6. A photo that says, “I didn’t shave that week.”
  7. A picture of you playing a sport.
  8. A photo from St. Patrick’s Day or some other event.
  9. An old or poor-quality picture.
  10. A photo with your pet.

In the video, we share some examples of photos which are great for Facebook, but not for a B2B platform. Does your LinkedIn profile image fall into one of these categories? If so, it’s time for an update!

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Think about how the photos above will make you appear to other LinkedIn users, specifically those who are prospective customers. The first impression is everything, and online there are fewer factors people can judge you on. In our State of Digital Selling with LinkedIn report, 80% of the 862 surveyed responded their LinkedIn headshot was professional or “acceptable for business.” That leaves 20% of respondents with an unacceptable image or no photo!

Don’t let a poor choice for your LinkedIn profile picture give you the appearance of being unprofessional and uncommitted to networking on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Photo Tips

Building your LinkedIn profile correctly is the first step in attracting your targeted buyer and becoming a Social Selling pro!  A great social-ready LinkedIn profile takes a little time to develop and covers many key elements.  The most important thing is to don’t let #YourBrandSuck! However, here are three quick areas that can influence your buyers to start a conversation with you. The three things your “Buyer Centric” social-ready profile should do are:

  1. Build trust: A buying relationship is built on trust, and your social profile can be the 1st step in the trust-building process
  2. Communicate Value: In other words, what business problem(s) can you solve for them, and
  3. Solve a Business Problem(s): Demonstrate how other customers are benefiting from your solutions—this is key to getting your buyer to reach out to you.

Build Trust via a Proper LinkedIn Photo

Use a professional photo that builds trust.  PLEASE…No selfies, half-cut-off shoulder of a friend, or half-cropped photos of you at a wedding!  Rather, you want the body language, posture, expression, clothing and your smile to feel inviting and help create a sense of trust.

[clickToTweet tweet=”No selfies, cut-off shoulders, or cropped photos at events 4 UR #social pic @LinkedInExpert #SocialSelling #Sales ” quote=”No selfies, cut-off shoulders, or cropped photos at events 4 UR #social pic @LinkedInExpert #SocialSelling #Sales “]

Try to lose the formality of a professional photo (i.e. if you do not wear a tie, then don’t). Be YOU. Look at these four great examples. You decide what you want to do and what image you want to portray. What I am providing here is some additional food for thought!

Notice in the examples the backdrops are either grey or white. This helps the photo and YOU to stand out from the crowd. Notice the smiles, you feel invited to speak with each person and compelled to trust them (if I do say so myself)! In these four examples, nobody appears to be stiff, unprofessional, or too lazy to spend $49 for a quick pro headshot. Each photo appears to be warm and inviting. The first two are excellent examples of great profile pictures, which build trust with your targeted buyer!

LinkedIn Profile Picture - Bernie Borges LinkedIn Photo Sample 2

In the next three examples, I want you to take notice of something.  If you were running a LinkedIn search for a salesperson in category X in the Y area, usually a display page pops up with 10 results.  It is in list format.  This means each person’s profile is stacked on top of the others.  So how do you stand out from the rest of the crowd?

In the three examples below, what you see and feel is the same effect as the previous two shown but with some additional allure.  In Cole’s picture, you are also interested in seeing more of him so you are inclined to click on his profile just so you can see his face.  It’s a super-fun, lighthearted, cool-guy-and-relaxed type of image.  It really shows personality

In my example, you have the benefit of a logo superimposed into the picture.  You see a splash of red against a white background. Like Cole’s, you are curious as to what the red logo is, so you click on the picture…once you click, your buyer has entered into your profile!  The question now is, does your content help your buyer see what you can do for them and drive them to engage with you? That’s a subject for another post.

LinkedIn profile picture tips

LinkedIn Profile Picture - Mario Martinez Jr.

My next example stems from one of my clients (also my personal favorite). After going through one of our Vengreso personal branding training, Willie took the message to heart and had a pro photographer shoot his new picture.  The example here is an amazing photo.  First, notice the HUGE smile!  This is warm and inviting and speaks to a pretty kick-butt personality.  The position, (I call it the power pose) defines confidence, yet the lean against the wall shows humility and a down to earth fun guy.  He’s suited up yet still has a modern appeal, and the suit makes total sense because he sells to the finance line of business (yes they still often wear ties). Most importantly, Willie’s photo helps to build instant trust through his LinkedIn profile. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words… in this case, it is!

Perfect LinkedIn profile picture

As you can see, whether you are selling a product or trying to be found by a recruiter, your profile picture makes a difference. Still unclear if your photo is giving you the right look or portraying the correct image?  Want others’ opinions?

Get your profile photo analyzed and determine if it’s what you want.  Let others tell you if it’s portraying the right feel.  Try using this free service:

[clickToTweet tweet=”Get your #social profile photo analyzed @PhotoFeeler @itsannpierce #socialselling #sales @LinkedInExpert” quote=”Get your #social profile photo analyzed @PhotoFeeler @itsannpierce #socialselling #sales @LinkedInExpert”]

Here is an example of what you will get back based on members voting on your profile photo.  In this case, I gave the members the category “business” when considering the photo shot. I personally think it’s a great tool!

Social Selling Tools

Tune in for Steps 2 and 3 on A “Buyer-Centric” LinkedIn Profile…

  1. Communicate Value: In other words, what business problem(s) can you solve for them, and
  2. Solve a Business Problem(s): Demonstrate how other customers are benefiting from your solutions, this is key to getting your buyer to reach out to you.

How to Create a LinkedIn Cover Story

LinkedIn cover stories are 30-second videos you can use to introduce yourself, what you do and who you help. The cool thing about this feature is that you can use your LinkedIn photo as a way to communicate value and talk about your solution.

Check out this short video to learn how to create your own LinkedIn Cover Story.

Make Your Whole Profile Shine!

Your LinkedIn photo is just the beginning. After your headshot, prospects will read your LinkedIn headline, your LinkedIn About section and, if interested, they will keep scrolling down. So make sure your profile is optimized to the best of your abilities.

Check out or Guide to LinkedIn for Sales Professionals for a step-by-step tutorial on how to do make your profile shine! Click on the image below.

Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Profile


4 thoughts on “How to Choose a LinkedIn Photo and Make the Best First Impression”

  1. Hello! I’m a first-time visitor and I really like what you did with this article! Very easy to understand Tips and each perfectly makes good sense. Good job!

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