You may have noticed some subtle changes to your LinkedIn profile. Changes you may have had little or no control over.
The old, regular, square format profile picture has been updated to a new snazzy circular one. The only problem is: what looks good square may not look good with a circular crop.
The examples to the right tell the whole story: the top is way too close, you get the impression of someone peering through a porthole. The second is too far away (and not very businesslike) and the third is just badly positioned. But all is not lost: it's an opportunity to get a great new image!
The circular format has a lot going for it: the main advantage is that, done right, attention is focussed firmly on you.
But the smaller format requires tighter control than before. It is a lot less forgiving and if your profile picture was just about OK in the old format, your headshot won't perform well with the new treatment.
First backgrounds: fussy confusing backgrounds found on company away-day pictures or (even worse, wedding shots) are distracting: very distracting. So go for a neutral colour. If you do have an environmental portrait, make sure the background is either out of focus or inconspicuous. You don't want to be competing for attention with your surroundings.
Secondly, quality: The new LinkedIn Headshot is unforgiving. If quality is poor your headshot will look
out-of-focus or just 'muddy'. And no one wants to look like a smudged second-hand insurance salesperson!
Third, engagement: You may have got away with the wistful, out-of-the-box, visionary stare when there was more real-estate to play with. In the new format, not looking directly at your viewer just appears odd. Keep the visionary leader pose for memes, your LinkedIn Headshot needs to look confidently at your audience.
Finally, Context: LinkedIn have done something rather smart. They've enabled you to add a background picture to your profile.
It's a great opportunity to get some free branding and personal marketing.
Profile pictures that compliment the background image are incredibly powerful: they increase visibility exponentially.
So make sure your corporate headshot works with your whole LinkedIn profile. After all, with customers and employers all using LinkedIn, it is something you need to get right!
Mark Grey is a portrait specialist working with clients from Charles Taylor to PwC.
His studio is in Covent Garden, a stone's throw from the tube station. Contact for more information or to get your own headshots Click Here. www.studio-grey.net