Fotograaf Kwinten Verspeurt

12 Tips for the perfect professional headshot

How to take the best profile picture ... ever?

Your profile picture is the very first thing that stands out on your profile. Whether it’s Linkedin, Instagram, Teams or even Facebook. It shouldn’t be the only thing that stands out, but it is still the very most important part of your profile.
It’s that little picture that stays with us forever and represents you on Linkedin.

What do we all find important about such a picture:

  • Authenticity: we are not likely to trust someone who looks fake
  • Connection: am I attracted to that person, can I connect with them?
  • Does that person meet or exceed my expectations?

Here are 12 tips to make your profile picture even more authentic, connected and strong:

headshot woman

tips for the best profile picture

  1. Look your audience in the eyes
  2. Your face is the focus, not your whole body
  3. Avoid distractions
  4. Know what look you want or need
  5. Dress to impress? Your face and facial expressions are most important, your clothes should not draw attention.
  6. The right facial expressions
  7. With or without a smile?
  8. Technically perfect => if not: very unprofessional
  9. Choose the right setting/background
  10. Do it yourself or hire a professional?
  11. Stand out, you have 1cm²
  12. Choose a recent profile picture!

1. Look them in the eyes!

People choose people!

Show interest, because I too want attention!

How do you come across when you look away in real life? Imagine talking to someone while looking away yourself and that person doesn’t give you a glance.
Not really personal lol, at least the person on the other side won’t feel addressed. Just like in real life.

Eye contact still remains a basic tool in gaining trust.
Its purpose is to make connection.

The role of your eyes: The eyes as a gateway to your see?

It sounds a bit chamois but a lot of studies have shown that our eyes and the expression in our eyes tell a lot.

Our eyes are definitely the most sincere part of our face.

Kwinten: “Instinctively, we always look at the eyes first to check if someone can be trusted.”

Your eyes as an empowering factor

You can have a fantastic smile but without the right look in your eyes, your smile will come across as fake. And so it is with every emotion.
Kwinten:By looking away, your face and eyes are going to be less clearly visible and so part of your message is lost.



The 5 main reasons to look into the lens:

  • You can use 100% of your facial expression
  • Your eyes are more visible
  • You connect with your viewer
  • You show interest
  • You have nothing to hide, are open and radiate more confidence anyway



You can sin against this rule in some situations. But think carefully whether you want to sin against this….

Someone in the creative sector can sometimes get away with a photo where they look away to make a statement. But then the photo really has to be special and strong enough. And best switched with a straight-to-the-point photo every now and then.



2. Your face is the center of the attention

A profile photo where your face is as big as possible works best. Feel free to make a crop where your head is slightly cropped. This will draw even more attention to your eyes, which are after all the most important part of your face.

3. Avoid distractions in the background

Your profile picture is often the first thing people see of you on social media or professional networks like LinkedIn. It is therefore important to make sure your profile picture leaves a good impression. A neutral and even background can help with this, as it minimises distractions and focuses attention on you as a person.

A busy background can be distracting and make your face less visible. For example, if your photo was taken in a park or forest with lots of trees and plants in the background. The background can then distract attention from the main subject, which is you.

A neutral and even background keeps the focus on you as a person. Here you can think of a plain wall, a curtain or a background screen. This makes it easier for others to see your face and can make the first impression people get of you more positive.

Another advantage of a neutral background is that it looks more professional. For example, if you are taking a profile picture for LinkedIn, you probably want to have a professional look. A neutral background can help with this and ensure that you are taken seriously.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you are a photographer and want to show off your skills, a photo with a busier background might actually work. But in general, a neutral and even background is better for your profile picture.

In short, if you want to make sure your profile picture leaves the best first impression, it is smart to choose a neutral and even background. This minimises distractions and keeps the focus on you as a person.

Soon you will find the full 12 tips here! – WORK IN PROGRESS…

4. Know what look you want or need

When taking a professional business profile photo, it is important to know what look suits you and what image you
want to convey. This ensures that your photo not only looks professional looks, but is also authentic and representative of who you are and how you want to present yourself in your field. Here are some considerations and  tips for determining the right look:

Personality: Think about your personality and how you want others to see you. Are you naturally friendly and
approachable, or do you prefer to radiate confidence and authority? Your profile picture should reflect this.
Strengths: Consider your strengths and how you can emphasise these in your photo. For example, if you are known for your professionalism and reliability, make sure your photo reflects this exudes.

Profession and Field:
Industry Standards: Different professions and
industries have different standards for business profile photos. In creative sectors you can take a little more liberty with your photo, while traditional sectors such as finance or law require a more formal look required.
Target audience: Think about your target audience and how you want to come across. A marketing professional may want to appear energetic and innovative, while a lawyer is more likely to want to appear serious and reliable impression.


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