LinkedIn Profile Pictures
As a corporate headshot photographer, I shoot business portraits for numerous firms, primarily in the professional services sectors. For example, I shoot profile portraits for law firms, accounting firms, banks, architecture firms, and construction companies, to name just a few.
During the 2008 recession I was asked by an out placement firm to help their candidates with professional photos. The goal of the headshot photography was to create images to be used on the candidates' LinkedIn profiles. At that time, LinkedIn was just emerging as a force for business communication and networking. In short order, it became and has continued to become the marketplace for finding talent and looking for jobs.
As a Minneapolis headshot photographer, I wanted to do my part to help others during the financial crisis and recession that followed. I created a "LinkedIn Special." This consisted of an all inclusive price at a significant discount off of the rate I charge my corporate clients.
During the heart of the recession, I photographed over 400 people at this special rate. As conditions improved, I decided to continue this rate for individuals who identified themselves as needing headshots for business. To date, I've taken photos of thousands of people for their LinkedIn profile pictures. In addition to providing services to candidates of out placement firms and clients of career advisors and coaches, I am also listed as a portrait photographer under LinkedIn's ProFinder program.
To be clear, I use the same standards of professional headshot photography that I use for my corporate clients. These are not stripped down photo shoots. I shoot 50-60 shutter clicks of each person. The subject can review the images as they are shot using an iPad. They can even make their final selection on the spot. A selection of the best images are usually uploaded to a private web gallery for review. The shooting includes one final retouched image with options to purchase more final images.
Most of my corporate clients have specific guidelines on how their profile photos are taken. With individuals, I have much more latitude. This allows me to add an extra creative dimension to make the photos more compelling.
LinkedIn has some fairly narrow specifications on how they will display a profile photo. Almost all business portrait photographers shoot with a DSLR camera that takes photos in a 4x6 format. That's the format many of them use to deliver final images. As an experienced portrait photographer I learned long ago that the traditional and best format to shoot and deliver in is an 8x10 ratio. This is the most flattering crop for a headshot because the lower half of the abdomen is cropped out and attention is brought more to the face.
This portrait shows the original 8x10 crop on the right and the square crop provided for upload to LinkedIn
Profile photos on LinkedIn place the image in a fairly tight circle. This cropping can be difficult for many people to correctly edit. The face has to be big enough in the circle so the subject's features are easily recognized. There has to be enough head room above the person so they aren't cropped too tightly.
To help my clients overcome these challenges, I provide them with a special LinkedIn crop of their final portrait in addition to the 8x10 final headshot.
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