21 Jul 2016

5 Things to Avoid in Your LinkedIn Profile Photo

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I’ve seen some pretty bad LinkedIn profile photos. Some of them were truly flabbergasting. LinkedIn is a professional network, and as such every photo and each word should be carefully constructed to portray you in the best possible light. A professional photo is of utmost importance, and the expense is minor compared with the benefits.

Your professionalism will be judged based upon the quality of your LinkedIn profile photo.

No Profile Photo

The lack of a LinkedIn profile photo is a big red flag. When I look at your profile, I want to find out about you. Part of human communication involves seeing each other’s faces. A nice photo says a lot about you, in the same way that dressing nicely to a job interview is important. Don’t make the mistake of not having a profile photo. If you do, you’ll eliminate many quality leads.

Other People in the Picture

Your LinkedIn profile photo is intended to be your head shot. It is not appropriate to include other people in the photo. This causes leads to be confused – which person is you? Additionally, don’t include random arms or other body parts of other people.

Strange Backgrounds

Avoid strange backgrounds. You want to be the main and only focus of the photo. Anything else distracts the viewer, and may even cause them to make incorrect conclusions about you and your habits and lifestyle. Some of the backgrounds I’ve seen include:

  • A large number of open bottles of whiskey and other alcoholic beverages.
  • A cemetery (yes, I’ve seen LinkedIn profile photos with a cemetery in the background.)
  • Semi-pornographic pictures hanging on the wall
  • General mess and clutter

All of these types of backgrounds lead to a bad impression.

So what do you want in the background? Something bland that covers the space without drawing attention away from you. White, cream, black or even some abstract colors will do well.


LinkedIn Profile PhotoOne of the worst photographs you can use for a profile photo is a selfie. Nothing screams “amateur” and “unprofessional” as much as a selfie. These photos are composed poorly, have bad lighting, strange backgrounds, and show your posture and body in an unflattering way. Don’t use them for anything related to business or your personal brand.

Cropped Photos

Cropped photos are just as bad a selfies. You know what I’m talking about – that photo of someone with their hand on your shoulder or around your waste, only you cropped them out. The hand is still there, looking very strange, but the person’s body is gone. This presents a very unprofessional and “cheap” image. Don’t do it.

Get a Professional LinkedIn Profile Photo

So what should you do? LinkedIn is a professional network, and you want to look like you are a professional. Selfies, cropped photos, bad backgrounds, poor lighting and other flaws do not help you build up your image as a professional in any field.

Spend the money to get a professional photo done. A photographer who specializes in head shots is ideal.

A professional understands lighting, posture, smiling and posing. They will advise you on what to wear, how to sit, and where to put your eyes. Additionally, they can use Photoshop to make a few small modifications, such as removing a mole or fixing hair, to make the photo even better.


Your picture is the first thing anyone sees when they look at your profile.If the photo is poorly done, it may very well be the last thing they see as well. By engaging the right professional and spending the money, you can draw your audience in to look at what you have to say instead of discouraging them before they even have a chance to click into your page.

Contact The Writing King today for help with your LinkedIn profile

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