Take a good profile photo

One of the things that helps any online profile get more success is a good profile photo. It’s been reported lots of times that Linkedin finds that profiles with a photo get more views, and I know I’m more likely to look at someone’s stuff if they have a decent picture.

The challenge is getting a decent picture. Being cheap, and having a nice camera and a tripod, I’ve always been convinced I could get the right picture myself. I’ve tried several times and gotten good results, but I wanted better and a few weekends ago I got it. No rocket surgery in this – give it a try!

  • Find a spot by a large window
  • Wait for an overcast day, or early or late in the day if it’s sunny, or try a north facing window. NO shadows!
  • Wear a button down shirt in a simple color – white, blue, maybe yellow. Failing that, a polo shirt. Something just dressy enough to say “business”, but casual enough not to say “just business”. These shirts kind of disappear – we don’t really notice them.
  • Have someone else take pictures as you pose, or film yourself using video, and then talk to the camera. Film gets you a lot more shots and higher probability of getting something really natural looking, but lower resolution and it’s a lot more work to go through frame by frame.
  • Squinch.
  • Don’t over smile – if your eyes are squinty, you’re oversmiling
  • Get yourself to chuckle, or talk to your assistant
  • Be happy! You’re about about to get a great profile pic for free!
  • Take lots of shots. Lots. Film is good because you’ll catch lots of expressions, very natural ones, that you didn’t even know you made. I ended up using one that my daughter took because I wanted the higher resolution.
  • Look through the pics quickly and instantly delete any that are out of focus, or are obviously unacceptable. This should get you down to just a few to pick from.
  • If, after an hour or so of trying, you don’t get the results you’re looking for, then hire a pro. You won’t have any trouble. justifying the money, since you now know how hard it is. They have better lenses (to get that out of focus background) and instincts. Also, because they work with people a lot, the good ones can help you pose correctly to get make a good impression.

The hard part for me was getting the right expression. In 38 pictures I found 3 I liked enough to use. Still, all in it took about an hour and I didn’t have to leave the house.

So if you’ve been avoiding putting a picture on your profile, try taking one today!

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