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Profile Picture of a businessmanHow much thought have you put into your LinkedIn profile pic? Or the profile photo you use for the ‘About Us’ page of your business website? They’re probably the same photo and chances are you may not have considered the massive impact your own photograph has for your brand.

Over 60% of the electrical energy of our brains is geared towards vision and our photo is an essential part of our business communications. It provides the most immediate and vital first impression when a potential client or business partner views our profile. Even a cursory glance through our own connections may reveal quite a range of images from the conservative professional to the decidedly casual.

Whatever your background or occupation there are some key recommendations I would make:

5 Tips to Nailing a Successful Business Profile Picture 

1. Choosing not to display a profile photo is NOT an option

If you are one of that select band who hasn’t got a LinkedIn photo it gives the impression that you can’t be bothered, a decidedly poor first impression! Leaving the image section of your professional profile blank is like having a’closed’ sign on your business door. It sends the message that you don’t want to do business.

When it comes to your business website including your own biography and those of other staff members, along with your photos, is vital. People want to buy from people, not just from a logo or brand. Remember that you are your brand and so you need to stand in front of it.

2. Consult with Customers and Colleagues Before Choosing your Profile Picture 

Before deciding on your LinkedIn photo or website profile image I suggest you ask 5 of your best clients how they perceive you and what your best qualities are. This may or may not be in line with your own perception but it should certainly inform your choice of photo. You want to appeal in the best way possible to your marketplace. Making sure your professional profile picture reflects the perceptions of your clients is therefore prudent.

3. Use a Professional Corporate Headshot Photographer 

Find a good professional photographer. The best photographers will engage fully with you to understand exactly what you wish to convey. They will take photos from a variety of angles, and you should remember to bring a number of jackets and shirts to see what shows you in the best light. If you have chosen wisely then trust your photographer. Remember a picture paints a thousand words.

Profile Picture Checklist – Dos & Don’ts
  • Depending on what you wish to convey a smile may be ideal.
  • Avoid holding pets or children or drinks. This makes you appear totally unprofessional.
  • Unless you are in a business partnership your photo should be of you and you only.
  • A head shot gives a clearer and stronger impression that one that includes the torso.
  • Unless it is relevant to your occupation outdoor scenes are best avoided.
  • Make sure you use a human image unless you wish to appear very childish.
  • Use humour with caution unless you’re a professional comedian or cartoonist.
4. Colour Code your Profile Pic

Depending on your industry colour may be very important. As a rule we expect those in a corporate environment, or professionals such as accountants or lawyers etc to present a serious and sober image. IT professionals are more likely to adopt an altogether more casual impression. Colours convey subliminal messages.

  • Blues imply calmness;
  • Black and grey imply solidity;
  • Brown is often viewed as dull and unimaginative;
  • Red is high energy, sometimes verging on aggression;
  • Yellow is best left to creative types who wish to stand out as being different;
  • Greens vary in shades ranging from conservative to decidedly ‘out there’.

Take advice and choose wisely!

5. Practice Makes Perfect

Many of us do not like having our photos taken. Set any such feelings aside. You are not doing this for yourself. This is part of advertising your business and how you come across is a vital part of your presentation. If you’re nervous or simply reluctant to be photographed I suggest you practice. Ask a friend to take multiple shots of you using a phone. Put on some music you like or have someone crack jokes as the camera clicks. Whatever it takes to allow you relax AND appear confident. The two do not always go hand in hand but subliminally we associate confidence with competence.

Final Words of Wisdom! 

Finally, remember that no matter who you are or how talented not everyone will like you or your photo. Being clear and confident about what you wish to convey is the most important starting point. You can always change your photo later if you want to refresh your profile.

Here’s another article worth reading when considering your LinkedIn profile.

Thanks for taking the time out to read this article and to CONKER for inviting me to guest post.

Joseph McGuire, Clearsight Communications


Joeseph McGuire Profile PictureJoseph McGuire is the owner of Clearsight Communications who provide personal evaluation services in the areas of senior level recruitment/promotion, negotiations, sales and HR. Individual consultation sessions are available both in person and via Skype. He is also available for group presentations, private functions and conferences.

For further information email: or call 087-246 1853.