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Decoding the Ways to Get the Best LinkedIn Photos

Have you ever wondered why you need to make a good first impression on LinkedIn?

Well, studies show that people will take only a couple of seconds to make assumptions, form opinions, and draw conclusions about you. The good part is that on Linkedin you can actually make them in your favor. 

Considering that the platform has over 575+ million users, with more than 260 million monthly active users, it becomes even more important for you to understand the best LinkedIn practices.

On LinkedIn, your profile photo is your primary sales point. People, especially prospective clients, will see your profile photo before they read any textual matter on your profile. Plus, a good LinkedIn picture will give you a competitive advantage while simultaneously establishing your integrity and trustworthiness. There is a lot that goes to help you get a professional and impactful LinkedIn profile and cover photos – the background, pixelation, framing, expression and so on. 

All this may look intimidating at first, for sure. But once you do understand the intricacies involved, you’ll get the powerful first impression that you’d wanted in the first place. Read on to find out exactly what you need to do to make your LinkedIn photo game strong.

Keep updating your LinkedIn photo to match the “current” you

Your LinkedIn photo should be an image of only you. Well, let us be a bit more clear - it should be a recent image of you. If you’ve started wearing spectacles, upload a picture of you wearing them. If your hair is grey now, show that in your photo. 

The main aim is to keep your photo as current it can be. Potential clients need to have a clear idea of what you look like if they would meet you today. You can surely opt for a photo that has been snapped two to three years ago but not something that is decades old.

Many people in their 40s feel that if they use a recent photo then the chance of landing a job would be reduced. That is certainly not the case. Age is automatically connected with experience and expertise. Now, of course, if the job is for a fresher, then you may not fit the bill. Otherwise, there’s nothing to worry about. 

There also might be people who may consider it deception if you upload a photo that doesn’t resemble the current you. Imagine being introduced to someone who looks 24 in their LinkedIn photo but is actually 48. Exactly.

You can even use Snappr's photo analyzer to know whether or not your profile needs any tweaking.

Imbibe a sense of professionalism in your LinkedIn photos

If you think from a logical point of view, you get to put the best version of yourself out in the world through a good photo.

As for looking like a professional, your dressing plays a huge role in it. Just putting on jeans with a button-down shirt will not make the cut, especially for LinkedIn. You have to look professional and hence, wear clothes that reflect you and the business you work in.

Image Source: The Balance 2018

  • Understand the Difference Between Business Casual and Business Professional Clothing. Not a lot of people understand the difference between the two and we don’t blame them as the differences are very subtle. But, then again, they do exist. For LinkedIn photos, it is better to stick to a business professional attire to get you brownie points. Also, keep the hair sleek and presentable.

  • Wear Solid Colors. This is a simple reason for this – solid colors look best on camera. Also, color blocking can help you enhance your photo tone making it catchy.

  • Avoid Patterns. As the image size on LinkedIn is on the smaller side, not wearing patterned clothing is best. You can opt for small checks but Aztec or geometric patterns may not translate well on the screen.

  • Reflect Your Business Vibe. In simple words, if you are a CEO or an associate of a company, you should dress the part. Wearing blazers or pantsuits can make you look powerful which will, in turn, help you get more profile clicks.

  • Avoid Revealing Clothes. Wearing too revealing clothes is one of the biggest don’ts of looking professional. For men, it is better to button up right till the top and wear full-sleeved shirts. Whereas, women should avoid wearing strapless dresses or tops that show off their shoulders.

  • Keep Your Accessories Minimum. The focus of your LinkedIn profile photo should mostly be on your face. Wearing too flashy accessories or even too much makeup will take away from your face value. Keep a fresh-faced look at all times.

The how’s of taking a good LinkedIn photo

As mentioned above, there are a lot of intricacies involved to help you get a powerful and impactful Linkedin photo. As per a research conducted by the platform itself, having a profile picture will increase your chances to be viewed by nearly 21 times more. The intricacies aren’t precisely apparent, so you do need to be careful.

The Do's and Don'ts of LinkedIn Photos



Use a warm, friendly smile

Look angry or frustrated

Wear professional and ironed clothes

Wear revealing or too casual clothing

Get someone to take your photo

Upload a selfie using too much filter

Use a high-resolution photo

Use a low-resolution photo

Use a solo photo

Use a group photo

We have compiled a list of a few pointers to help you get an effective LinkedIn photo. These are as follows:

  • Look friendly

  • Use a high-resolution photo

  • Focus on your face

  • Skip the group photos

  • Use natural lighting

Choose the Correct Expression for Your LinkedIn Photo

As you can see, we have emphasized the word ‘expression.’ LinkedIn profile photos don’t necessarily have to be of you smiling and showing your teeth. A smile will make you look friendly and approachable. But, if your job or brand requires you to be more serious, it would be better for you to adapt to a similar expression.

Having said this, a smiling profile photo will make you more likable getting you more profile views.

Use a High-resolution Photo

The maximum size limit for your LinkedIn profile photo is 8MB. We’ll suggest you take full advantage of this limit. It's also better to opt for photos that are larger in size as compared to small-sized photos. Low-resolution images will look blurry and just, low quality. This will greatly decrease your chances of being viewed. Linkedin suggests that a 400 x 400-pixel size would be ideal for your profile picture. 

Make Your Face the Primary Focus 

If you google ways to help you make your LinkedIn profile stand out, nearly all of the results will advise you to include your face. 

Here are examples of a few 'good' LinkedIn Profile Photos:

Even then, there are a couple of pointers that we need to keep in mind:

  1. Use a headshot

  2. Don’t upload selfies

  3. Crop the photo appropriately

  4. Look into the camera

  5. Have a good posture

  6. Post a photo of yourself alone

Upload a headshot as your profile picture. Uploading a photo with a beautiful and extensive background may be aesthetically pleasing for Facebook but not for LinkedIn. Remember, you need to be the focus is not the accessory. 

For a professional vibe, it’s better not to upload a selfie. It’s advisable to avoid filters too. While a black-and-white filter may add more artistic value, a Snapchat dog-filter will surely not. Embrace the cropping tool but not too much. If you feel that your face needs to be zoomed in more, you can crop the excess portion out based on your judgment. But, too much cropping may reduce the professional appeal to it.

Use a photo in which you are looking towards the camera. Studies have found that making eye contact can build mutual trust. Here, your profile photo is the one making virtual eye contact with a prospective client. This also means that you need to skip photos in which you are wearing sunglasses.

Your posture plays an important role as well. Choose a photo in which you are standing straight and yet look relaxed. This type of posture will make you look approachable. Just keep in mind not to look too serious or too casual.

Use a solo photo. If you were to analyze the best Linkedin pictures, you'd find that nearly all of them are solo. This is your time to shine and be recognized. Also, photos with pets or kids are a strict no-no. The rule of thumb is to ensure that your face doesn’t take less than 60% of the frame. Center the photo from just a little above your head to the top of your shoulders.

Skip Group Photos for Your LinkedIn Photo

While it is great that you are social and have many friends, recruiters do not necessarily need to see that in your profile photo. Group photos will make it confusing and difficult for people to single you out.

Case in point: 

If there’s anything worse than using a group photo, it’s using a badly cropped group photo. This may make the recruiters feel that you lack professionalism or the commitment to put forward the best version of yourself.

Use Natural Lighting for Your LinkedIn Photos 

Lighting is one of the key factors for a good photo. For the best LinkedIn profile photo, it’s better to incorporate soft, natural lighting that is easy on the eyes. Soft lighting again increases your approachability.

There are a few profile photo lighting don’ts that you can do well to remember the next time you change your LinkedIn profile picture. These include:

  1. When we say natural lighting, we don't mean under direct sunlight. Instead, you can use the sun when it’s setting to give your photos a natural glow.

  2. Do not use photos that have been taken during night time. Photos snapped during the day or in a studio look more professional and appealing.

  3. Avoid using a camera flash to keep your look natural.

  4. No fluorescent lighting. This can create shadows on your face shifting the focus from your face.

The power of your LinkedIn background photo

Though it's a relatively new feature, a good LinkedIn background is a vital element of your profile to make an excellent first impression. Not only should it be eye-catching, but it should also add to your story. Also, please avoid the default cover image provided by Linkedin. 

Your LinkedIn background can also be a representation of your brand. For example, if you’re a nutritionist or a dietician, a high-resolution photo of fresh vegetables placed on a clean surface or in a market would do the trick. Similarly, for a real estate agent, a flattering photo of the New York skyline, or for an artist, his or her own artwork will help. These background photos are contributing to their story and are hence relevant.

Avoid being too literal or at your face, though. A pharmacist need not have a photo of a bunch of capsules and pills thrown about haphazardly as his background.

If you feel that you’re not able to find a suitable background, you can always select royalty-free photos from sites such as or

Things Your LinkedIn Background Photo Should Include:

Company Logo

Solid Colors

Key Achievements

Call for Action

Services Offered



Permission Rights


All in all, our LinkedIn background should give a message about your image or your business. Your background can be:

  1. A call to action to sell your product or service. You can use a catchy caption revolving around the USP of what you offer. You can then ask potential clients to get in touch with you to place their orders for the product or service.

  2. A way to showcase your talent and creativity. As mentioned before, an artist can use artworks created by themselves. Additionally, authors can make a collage using the covers of their published books.

  3. A way of branding your company. You can use colors that are associated with your company or add your business logo. This will help you link your LinkedIn profile with your business. Also, solid colors are a great way to catch the attention of the viewer.

  4. A way to showcase your key achievements to add to your brand value. You can also incorporate this style for your company’s accomplishments. As LinkedIn background photos are situated at the top of the profile, all the achievements will be clearly visible helping you leave an impact on the viewer. And, no it’s not the same as showing off.

It is advisable to ensure that you're using a stock-free photo. If you are using a logo or a picture created by someone else, it is better to ask for their permission before proceeding.

Here are some examples of LinkedIn profiles which the best backgrounds:

  • Jeff Weiner

  • Ana M. Brant

  • Peter Wiehe

  • Neil Patel

The CEO of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner, would obviously understand how LinkedIn works and what should be a perfect background photo. For his background, Jeff has chosen a blurry picture with only the Linkedin logo highlighted. Don’t miss the short and powerful phrase which tells the viewer the exact purpose of his company, LinkedIn.

Ana M. Brant works in the field of luxury and since pearls are a common symbol of the same, she has incorporated them as her LinkedIn background. This is a perfect example of being subtle yet impactful.

We‘ve already discussed how using colors that are synonymous with your brand can also make for a good background. Peter Wiehe has done just that. If you notice, he’s used strong colors that are still easy on the eyes.

Neil Patel, the digital marketing guru definitely has one of the best LinkedIn profiles. His background photo ticks off many pointers on the checklist. Firstly, his background photo is orange which is his brand’s color. Secondly, he has a call for action (“Want more traffic?”). Thirdly, he has highlighted his key areas of expertise. You see, definitely one of the best profiles.

Understand the art of using filters

Filters can help you set a vibe about yourself as well as your company. Linkedin itself offers six filters with each one giving your photo a different look and feel. You can apply a filter to your profile picture as per your liking and preferences.

The classic or the spotlight filter, for example, is a very eloquent filter. They can help you look more sharp and polished.

If you feel a filter is too much for you, you can always play around with the settings. Saturation, brightness, vignette, as well as contrast, can be directly adjusted on LinkedIn.

But do keep in mind that a subpar photo cannot be magically improved by using a filter. Your priority should always be a high definition and sharp photo to leave a good impression.

Get someone to snap your best LinkedIn photo

LinkedIn is a professional networking site which is why using a selfie doesn’t match with its motive or feeling. Your LinkedIn profile along with your photo represents you and your business. Hence, it has to the professional.

It is better to hire a professional photographer to get the job done for you. As mentioned above, it is better to use a headshot. Hiring someone with expertise can help you get that perfect photo to kickstart your networking. 

Now, a few of us may find hiring a professional photographer expensive or unnecessary. In this case, you can ask either your family member or a friend to take a few photos of you. Make sure to ask someone who knows how to handle a camera. Try to look accessible in your photo by putting on a smile that makes you look warm and friendly. You can even use a high-quality camera of your phone or a webcam. If it looks professional, you are good to go. 

The correct backdrop for a good LinkedIn photo

Now that you have figured out your expression and clothing, you need a good background to support it.

Try to opt for a non-distracting background that isn’t too loud to take the focus away from your face. You don't need to stand in front of a white wall. You can use a soft color painted wall or a scenic setting as well.

If you can get a photo in which you are at your workplace, that’ll work the best. This will leave an impression on the user making them feel like you were born to do what you do.

Analyzing the best LinkedIn profiles

Here, we will analyze two of the best LinkedIn profiles. We’ll discuss the photos used as well as the Linkedin best practices to help you get an idea of how you should portray yourself.

Profile #1: Brittney Borowicz

Image Source: KOMarketing

Britney has created a wholesome LinkedIn profile and included everything that she has to offer. One of the best LinkedIn summary examples is to use bullet points to draw attention to your skills or achievements. And, she has done just that.

She has also included her professional as well as volunteering experience which contributes value to her goal of working for a non-profit.

Profile #2: John Crossman

Image Source: KOMarketing

John has clearly put in a lot of thought before selecting his profile and background photo making him look approachable, and a team player.

Another plus point of his LinkedIn is that he has used both text and visuals to add appeal to his profile. His experience and positions are highlighted, along with his skills and awards. You can also refer to his profile for a good LinkedIn recommendation example.

The ball is in your court now

We are sure you must have understood the importance of photos when you start networking for lead generation on LinkedIn or otherwise. It is the very first impression that you make on your viewer, and you’ve got to ensure that it’s a good one.

Most of us want to figure out the best time to post on LinkedIn, which frankly, makes sense. But, along with your post, it is your photo too that is visible to your audience. Invest time to figure out the best LinkedIn photo for you. This will increase both your response as well as referral rates on the platform.


Things Your LinkedIn Background Photo Should Include:

Company Logo

Solid Colors

Key Achievements

Call for Action

Services Offered



Permission Rights



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