Practice these top ten tips for your best Linkedin headshot and get a head start before you meet with your photographer.

What makes professional and smart looking headshots? Is it the photographer or the subject that makes a good corporate photograph? Well its generally a mixture of both, although the onus is on the photographer to provide professional shots no matter the subject, there are a number of things that you can do to help with this process, particularly when it comes to your posing.

1. For the best Linkedin headshot practice several facial expressions.

Now you may think that your default smile that you have pulled out for every single photograph in your life is going to be suitable for your best Linkedin headshot, and it most likely is. However it can vary quite a bit depending on the tone and application of the photo, so make sure that you rehearse a few backup expressions just in case.

To find out about this ask your photographer for tips on facial expressions well before your session so you have time to practice. This may be as simple as thinking about a word like serenity, passion or approachable during the week before your session, you’ll be amazed how just one word can affect the outcome. Especially if your new found expression is relevant to what you want from your headshots and your profession. I’ll bet you are trying this right now. Take note, with the right photographer a headshot session can be empowering and this process begins in the days and weeks leading up to your shoot.

You can use a mirror, your smart phone, any other device that allows you to view yourself while practicing different facial expressions.
A good headshot photographer will know exactly how to coach you on a range of expressions that work best for you, even expressions that you may never have thought will work for the camera. Your personality and facial features will play a huge part in determining what works best for you. The great thing about this, in the hands of an experienced headshot photographer your photos will become a unique portrayal of you, setting your personal brand apart from everyone else.


2. Avoid using a stiff, straight body position.

This isn’t a mugshot you know. The words that you want to keep in mind is relaxed, approachable and, most importantly for corporate headshots, engageable. Posing starts with the position of your feet. Most people tend to stand in front of the camera with their feet together. Widen your stance at least to shoulder width. To obtain the correct body position turn on your feet as directed by your photographer, the hips and head will follow. You might be asked to ask you to shift your weight to favour one foot. Some photographers will use seated poses. Use your photographer as your guide for exactly what works for each pose.

3. Use your eyes.

Want to create the best Linkedin headshot, your eyes are the key here. Your eyes are what convey the most emotion and can help give people an insight into who you are as a person. A critical element in headshot photography, your eyes need that spark. This can be helped by the photographer’s understanding of lighting and use of catch lights. Obviously everyone’s eyes are different, from eye colour to eye width or how tightly closed or open their eyelids are. The eyes wide open, “deer in the headlights” look is to be avoided. Working with your photographer, review the first few images during your shoot, then your photographer will be able to coach you on closing or opening up your eye lids as appropriate to your physical attributes.

Many people never notice that one eye opens a bit wider than the other and are surprised to see this in their headshot photographs. This can be fixed with a little coaching and practice in front of the mirror during your session.

When choosing a headshot photographer, make sure that any portraits shown on their website show the eyes as pin sharp and sparkling.

4. Relax those arms!

Along with your eyes, one of the biggest indicators of your mood and emotions is your body language, be sure to keep your hands in a natural resting position. Even though your arms and hands are very rarely included in corporate photographs it’s still important to relax as one tense body part can affect the posture of the rest of the body.

5. Keep your hands to yourself, literally!

If you are wanting half length or full length portraits and your hands or arms are visible, then its important to be aware of how they look naturally resting. Stand in front of a mirror for 5 minutes and practice how you would like them to tie together with the rest of your pose. Depending on the style of portrait, hands in pockets can be a useful tool. Some photographers will direct you to keep your hands out of your pockets, this will depend on many variables and with a little practice and coaching during your shoot, you’ll find what’s right for you.

6. Be aware of your chin.

It may slip your mind when having the pictures done, but the position you assume with your chin and jaw can have a massive impact on how your entire “shoulders up” region appears in the photographs. Make sure there is always space between chin and neck to avoid looking like you have a double chin.

This attention to detail with the jaw line can make or break a headshot. You will want to choose a photographer carefully, one who understands design and in particular how “drawing” a persons jaw line with light creates a striking and pleasing visual impact. This is achieved via dynamic positioning of the head, neck, shoulders and body, in relation to the correct lighting. A critical skill for a professional headshot photographer to master. Don’t miss this detail!

7. Keep your back straight.

Nobody looks good when they are slouching, let alone professional. It’s very important for your air of professionalism that you keep your back straight. After all, if you were engaging a service and your consultant was slouching, with his hands in his pockets and a bored expression on his face would you?

8. Relax!

While keeping your posture in an upright position you can still relax. If you feel tense and nervous, you will look tense and nervous in your photo’s. Ensure that you remember to breath naturally and to just view your headshot session as any photograph you’ve taken in the past. Apart from it’s application the headshot should not be considered as different.

9. Trust your photographer!

Now while you might think that your pink tie goes great with your light blue shirt (it really doesn’t but that’s for a different blog) but if your photographer says it isn’t working, take it off. It wont be based on your style, it will be based on its suitability or the photos. We previously wrote a blog detailing How to Dress to Look Your Best for the Perfect Headshot full of helpful advice on how to choose your outfit.

10. Have fun!

Remember the relax rule, well this is just as important, have fun and remember it’s a camera not a gun and try to enjoy flexing your creative side by becoming the star of the show (for about 3 minutes). Master our tips for your best Linkedin headshot and the results will be guaranteed.