Profile pictures with feathers and silk waistcoats. Thoughts?

As a photographer I’m probably always going to have a critical eye when it comes to photo quality, but when I see profile photos on LinkedIn I put my business hat on and do tend to wonder whether some of the profile photos my contacts are using to present them as a professional in their field really work.

This week I’ve seen:

  • Women with bare shoulders (in bridesmaids dresses, evening gowns) and men in silk waistcoats obviously at a ‘big event’. So we all know we feel & look great at a wedding right? But endless selfies, couples & group photos later these images seem to often end up on social networks like LinkedIn or Twitter as the face of our business. But unless you tend to turn up to business meetings in an evening gown or top hat and tails, I wonder whether this is this the correct photo context in which to introduce ourselves yourself online.
  • ‘The grey silhouette’ – whether you’re camera shy or just haven’t bothered, on LinkedIn particularly I think the lack of a profile picture could say something about you and your work.
  • Holiday backdrops- to have you looking relaxed and happy exploring a new city of mountain is great but again, unless your line of work is orienteering or travel guides, maybe the setting is not relevant and highlights time away from biz rather than you ‘hard at work’!

I really think that because internet profile portraits are a quick fire introduction to who we are often before we meet prospective clients, colleagues or future bosses in person, the power of a headshot photo is not to be underestimated!

Here are some of the things I share with my customers when they’re thinking about preparing for their headshot …

The psychology of first impressions is an interesting and important consideration when updating your professional profile shot. Research shows that we form a sense of whether someone is trustworthy within a tenth of a second of seeing them. So when skimming though faces on the internet you are often making ‘snap’ judgements (pardon the pun) without consciously realising and therefore others are judging you too!

“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression,” says James Uleman, PhD, a psychology professor at New York University and researcher on impression management. “judgments are being made and impressions formed all the time.”

So with this in mind here are some points to consider when updating your own professional headshot picture online and thinking about the way you may be perceived in that fleeting scroll or click of a mouse. According to an article by Research Digest looking at the studies of first impressions, careful research indicates these points influence the viewer on that first glance of our faces and dress.

So next time you say ‘cheese!’ and crop out your bestie on a photo app, before uploading check it conveys the right message. If it’s not screaming ‘professional photo’ maybe think again! And if you’re still not sure, ask a colleague you can trust – or drop me an email on

To view ideas of clothing, poses, facial expressions and locations you can see more samples of headshot pictures on this gallery link;

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