Take a great LinkedIn headshot at home (or in the office)

What to wear, how to pose, where to take it and more!

Is a professional photographer taking a headshot going to deliver the best photo? Yes, very likely. But that’s not always possible, and it’s not fast.

Especially because we like to create big barriers ahead of investing in professional photography. 

The most important part of your photograph: It looks like you.

Not you 5 years ago, not you last year after your vacation or the AI version of you.

I’ve advised more than 10,000 people on their LinkedIn Profiles in the last 3 years and I have seen a LOT of great before and afters. And the best profiles (and the highest performing profiles) have photos that look like the person.

What to wear: Dress how you’d show-up to meet with a client you want to make a great impression with. It’s not complicated. Show up like it matters. This is the first time many people are going to see you. 

Always put your own authentic style as priority #1.

To wear glasses or not to wear glasses: photography with glasses is hard and if you’re a regular glasses wearer you know this. If this is your signature look – wear the glasses glare be damned. If you’re a sometimes glasses person ditch them for the picture.

Where to take the photo: The key here is you want to take the photo in some diffused natural light. This means staying away from your office’s fluorescent lighting. It also means not standing and staring at the sun so you’re squinting.

A good rule of thumb: Take the photo between 9-11 or 2-4 in a room with windows. You want to face the windows so your face is getting the light source.

The background: Indoors near a window is best – the less busy the background the better. Alternatively, step outside (although remember you don’t want to be staring at the sun or see a lot of shadows) and get some greenery. You can always head over to Canva and remove your background if it looks busy.

Your position: Sit on top of a desk, drag a chair over by the window, lean on a wall.

Have one shoulder forward. Face the camera.

Want to know why so many headshot photos look awkward? Because the people FEEL awkward. Standing head-on like it’s a passport photo or worse.

Take the picture: Hand your phone to another person & set your phone on Portrait mode.

Have them tell you a funny story and start taking photos of you genuinely smiling. Or tell them about a moment when you were genuinely happy and notice the real joy enter not just your smile but your eyes too.

Here’s a few examples of photos I snapped of the amazing Chelsea from The Hive here in Rochester, NY.