So often we forget or just don’t know how important first impressions are. This is especially important when looking for a job or trying to make connections with a potential customer. The big mistakes to avoid when posting a business profile photo are discussed below and if there is one thing you can do this week, it is tidy up your business profile photo.
A few months ago LinkedIn posted a guide to the perfect #workselfie which sparked a lot of interest and discussion about what makes a really good profile photo. Nobody wants to see your selfie in the mirror, or that photo where you’ve cropped yourself out of a group but we can still see your friends’ half cropped faces in the frame. These are not the kinds of things you want potential employers seeing because so often an interview begins when somebody searches for you online and make their first impression of you from your profile photo. Through LinkedIn data it was found that you are 14 times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have a profile photo so we have curated a list to help you capture the best one.
Often the background of photos can be a distraction from the main focal point of the image so, to ensure all eyes are on you opt for a plain white or grey background or else an out of focus one. Lighting is also hugely important because, if used properly, it can effectively enhance your picture. Natural light is the best to use especially when taken at south-facing windows where the light hits you straight on which will compliment your face. Using a flash can be a risk as often it can cause shadows which can be harsh on faces so it’s best to only use flash if you know what you’re doing.
Not everyone has a DSLR to give them a great quality photo but if used right your smartphone can give you some great results. We recommend that you prop your phone on a shelf to form a makeshift tripod so that you can avoid that awkwardly long arm in the frame and set the timer function. Alternatively, if you’re a regular selfie-taker you might own a selfie stick which will work just as well! There is also a multitude of smartphone app’s that allow you to edit your images but be careful not to edit it so much that it doesn’t even look like you anymore.
Camera angles can have an impact on how dominant someone comes across as. Shooting down on somebody requires them to look up at the camera which, while it is a more flattering angle, it gives off the impression that they are less dominant which is not what you would like your clients to perceive you as. Women should look up slightly at the camera, while men should look directly at the camera placed at eye level. It is important to not centre yourself as it makes for a more interesting photo.
Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Business School social psychologist, found that 80-90% of first impressions are based on two qualities- trustworthiness and competence. These can both be detected in your profile photo so what’s the best way to show you’re trustworthy and competent? One way is to smile! Smiling with your mouth closed makes you less likeable than those who show teeth, according to research done by PhotoFeeler. Laughing while smiling makes you more liked but you are perceived as less competent and influential. Squinting makes you seem more confident and influential while wide eyes give off sense of vulnerability and uncertainty. Your outfit can also have a big impact on a first impression. Although it is important to keep it professional, it is possible to show your own personality by wearing colour as long as it isn’t a distracting pattern
Smart causal or business attire
Directly related to the point above, you need to decide on what attire you are going to wear in your profile photo. If the dress sense at your business and in your industry is smart casual, then smart casual it is. On the other hand, if it is business formal, then please let it be business formal in your profile photo.
Whatever you choose to wear, even if you’re casually dressed, it will look decidedly better than a profile picture that is cropped and shows your best friend’s hand resting on your shoulder.