McDonald Photography | Is it time to update your headshot? 6 tips to help you improve your next profile image.

Is it time to update your headshot? 6 tips to help you improve your next profile image.

November 26, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

You've worked hard to gain the skills and knowledge required to succeed in your current role, you've been recognized by your peers and you are now looking to expand your network to connect with other like-minded professionals. Being a person who is organized and ready meet a new challenge, your CV is all polished up and it looks wonderful. You've uploaded the relevant details to your LinkedIn profile and are ready to take over the world, but...

The photo you've chosen to represent yourself is the ubiquitous white head in a gray box that is provided with your profile--or worse, an image from your vacation in the tropics, complete with a tasty beer/wine/daiquiri and a friend skillfully cropped out of the shot leaving only their arm around your shoulders.

They say "Image is everything" and this is your professional profile...right?

Maybe you need to rethink your profile photo?

The world is a competitive place, and sometimes small changes to how you present yourself can make all the difference in how you are perceived by others. Why not make yourself stand out in every way you can?

With that in mind, here are 6 tips to improve your profile images. After you review these tips, take a few minutes to look through your current contacts and ask yourself the following questions. Which profile images shine? Which ones fall short? Why are they good or bad? Most importantly, what reaction does your current profile image evoke?

1 - Make sure you are well lit and in focus. Remember, you are selling yourself and trying to make a good first impression, so use your profile image to add value to your brand.

2 - Avoid busy patterns, logos or slogans on your clothing. You want people to remember you, not the floral print, giant logo or witty slogan on your shirt, so keep the clothing simple.

3 - Avoid distracting backgrounds. Use a shallow depth of field to blur background objects, or position yourself to have fewer elements behind you. Images with branches, poles or other objects growing out of your head don't look as professional.

4 - Only include props that are relevant to your business. If you are trying to land a job as a professional or gain contacts in the business world, try posing in a work setting. (ie. at a desk or outside downtown). Photos in the woods with your hunting rifle or on a boat in a life jacket shouldn't be used here--unless you own a wilderness adventure company.

5 - Relax and smile. This should be obvious. Photos showing relaxed, genuine smiles are better received than those with the awkward, forced smiles that many people revert to when a camera is pointed at them. Practice your 'photo smile' and try to engage with the viewer. Be relaxed, confident and expressive. It may take some practice, but you can do it.

6 - Consider getting a professional portrait taken. There are many advantages to having your profile image taken by a professional photographer; at the top of the list is quality & consistency. Having an above average image that makes an impact can be the difference between making a new connection or being skipped over in favor of someone whose profile is more polished.

Get the idea? If you need some help capturing that perfect profile image, and have finally resolved to have a Professional Headshot taken, feel free to contact me via your preferred channel at to set up a free consultation in Calgary.

Still on the fence? Check out this short video with some samples of my work.


Jeff McDonald

Owner & Photographer - McDonald Photography


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