Your LinkedIn portrait is often the first time a potential client or new employer will see you, so it’s really important that it creates a great first impression.  To do that, you need to make sure your corporate portrait is

  • appealing
  • recognisably you
  • shows you in a way that’s appropriate to your line of business

So if any of the following apply to your current LinkedIn image, it means it’s time to get a new one …

1. You’re using the default blank portrait

Blank profile imagePeople like to see who they’re doing business with. So having no portrait at all is off putting – it looks like you can’t be bothered to finish off your profile or you’re trying to hide something.


2. You’re using a holiday photograph

Holiday photo profile imageMost of us look tanned and relaxed in our holiday photos.  But, unless you’re a holiday rep, a picture of you in your shades and t-shirt is probably not representative of how you present yourself in a business environment. And it looks as if you can’t afford to invest in a proper photo.

3. You’re using a wedding photograph

Wedding photo profile exampleI’ve lost count of the number of brides, grooms, best men and bridesmaids I’ve seen on LinkedIn.  If wearing a tiara or a tuxedo is representative of how you meet a client for the first time, then by all means use a photo of you wearing one. But most of us don’t turn up to the office or an interview in our wedding finery so your wedding photos aren’t appropriate for LinkedIn.

4. There’s someone else in shot too

A bad profile photoYour profile portrait is meant to be a picture of you so don’t use a photo with someone else in it too, even if they’re partially cropped off.  Again, it looks like you can’t afford a proper photo and it’s distracting for the viewer who will be drawn to look at the other faces too and may be confused which one is you.  I once had the embarrassing situation where someone offered to connect with me but I didn’t recognise them because they’d used a family photo with their partner and children in too – their face was so small in the image that they were unrecognisable even though we’d only met the day before and I have a great memory for faces!

5. It’s not a picture of you

Example of an inappropriate corporate avatar imageLinkedIn is all about professional people connecting so using a random photo of an object you found interesting or a picture of your baby isn’t helpful when someone’s trying to recognise you. For the same reason, keep company logos and product photographs for your company pages, not your personal profile image.

6. You can’t clearly see your face

Face hiding behind a cameraAs humans, we’re drawn to looking at eyes so a clear picture of you looking directly at the camera will be more engaging to someone scanning down a list of potential suppliers than one where you can only see the back of your head or you partially obscured by something else.

7. It’s more than 3 years old

A 1980s portraitHairstyles change, clothes change and our faces change as we get older. So if your picture is more than 3 years old, chances are it won’t be an accurate representation of how you look now.  If your clients are going to meet you in person or even over Skype or on a webinar, they’re going to be unsettled if you look completely different than you did when they first saw you on LinkedIn.


As you’ve probably guessed, to avoid embarrassing anyone else, the photos I’ve used in this article are all me but I’ve never used them for my LinkedIn profile.

If you do want a new corporate portrait, I’d be delighted to help. I’m running a mini headshot morning in Warwick on Tuesday 12th April 2016 with short individual sessions aimed at creating a professional head shot that’s ideal for LinkedIn, your website or CV.  I also offer more in-depth sessions which will give you a variety of shots or even an “About you” film.  Give me a call or drop me an email to find out more.

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