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Hannah Bettis / Her Campus

5 Tips for Capturing a Business Headshot

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UVM chapter.

Did you know that simply having a profile picture on LinkedIn already makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others? While simply having a picture may be a strong first step, having a quality photo can be extremely beneficial for networking, job opportunities and internship experiences. However, many people find themselves confused about what qualifies as a quality LinkedIn picture. Picture this: you finally start setting up your LinkedIn account and have added all your work experience when you reach the final step: uploading a profile picture. You scroll through your camera roll and decide on a selfie you Instagrammed a few weeks ago. It’s a low-quality picture taken on your iPhone and you’re wearing a hat that hides half your face, but hey, it got 600 likes so it must be the perfect choice, right? Wrong! Professional portraits are completely different than pictures taken for social media. A strong headshot has the power to effectively communicate your brand and image to the world. So, what goes into a successful headshot? Luckily, we have five steps to consider before you embark on your next LinkedIn photoshoot!


1. Consider your industry

Think about your dream job and cater your photoshoot to align with that specific industry. For example, if you are interested in pursuing a career in fashion, make sure you’re dressed in a fashion-forward outfit and accessorize well. 

2. Dress professionally

Remember, this is your first chance to make an impression to recruiters and you want to be viewed as a professional, not an inexperienced college student. According to Business Insider, business casual is “a style of clothing that is less formal than traditional business wear but is still intended to give a professional and businesslike impression”. Dressing professionally requires you to be dressed conservatively. Some tips are to cover shoulders, limit cleavage and ripped materials and make sure your skirts, dresses or shorts are to your fingertips. In general, you should be dressed like you’re going to a job interview or meeting your partner’s parents for the first time. Some ways to follow this dress code but still look cute is to add a blazer or cardigan or statement jewelry to make an outfit pop. Below are some examples of our favorite business casual looks! 


The Lalacoat Watch Brick Wall
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3. Background is key

When a possible employer is looking at your photo, you want their eyes to automatically be drawn to you. While the picture of you smiling in front of the Acropolis may be a great photo, the viewer’s eyes will first focus on the background, and not on you. Find a background that adds to your brand and allows enough contrast against your outfit and face. 

4. Waist up

Having a photo where your face takes up at least 60% of the frame is an important aspect to keep in mind as you’re capturing your headshots. This picture is meant to connect a name to a face, which can be extremely difficult to do if the picture is taken far away where your face cannot be easily seen. While you should aim for waist up, you can always crop the picture even more so that it is cropped at your shoulders. Here is an example of the perfect cropping level!

5. Be yourself and remember your brand

While all these tips are extremely important, the most important factor linking these all together is remembering who you are, and the brand you’re trying to convey. As discussed in the LinkedIn article, “if you consider your brand a little more serious, it’s okay to look serious in your picture”. Additionally, you can connect with your regional qualities as well. For example, if you’re from the South, your aesthetic, poses and vibe may be completely different from that of someone from the East Coast. Take your brand into consideration as you select outfits and choose poses!  

Now that you’ve gained insight into what goes into a quality LinkedIn profile picture, grab your friends and have fun capturing the perfect headshot. Remember this is your chance to make a first impression and communicate your brand to the world. By following the guidelines above and staying true to yourself you can set yourself up for amazing professional opportunities!






I am a senior Public Communication student at the University of Vermont. I am passionate about public relations and brand communications within the fashion and lifestyle industry.