What is a good profile photo for Linkedin and media sites
Can you tell the difference between a good photo and a not so good photo?
Does it matter?
If you're reading this article, the chances are high that you have an online profile somewhere and your profile most likely includes a photograph.
- When did you last look at your profile?
- Is your profile photo up to date?
- Is it of good enough quality?
- Is it eyecatching?
- Does it communicate the right message about you?
- Could you improve it in any way?
If any of these questions apply to you, read on .......
Pictures make a difference
Even the most basic cameras and smart phones can now capture images of stunning quality which can be instantly posted on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat or Instagram to name but a few. In fact we're in danger of being overwhelmed by images, most of which are of pretty high quality.
This clearly shows how important images have become and that more and more, we're relying on pictures to communicate our message.
With this in mind, I've been looking around websites that host profiles for media professionals and there's a whole range of profile templates on offer, from the very basic text listing containing your name and a contact point through to mini websites including your biography, skills, links, contact details and rich media such as videos and photos. Some are free, some charge and some charge a lot!
I've listed a few media profile sites at the bottom of this article
Why you should care about your profile photo
From a user's point of view, profiles with images are definitely more engaging and instantly give a potential contact a better idea of the person in the profile. So not only is it vital to have an image, but the quality and content of the image is important too.
Successful ecommerce sites take a lot of care over photographing the products they're selling. If you're going to sell clothing or watches or food over the internet then the products have to look great on your website. It goes without saying that the photo has to show the product in its best light, show off its features and convince the buyer that it's good quality. A great example of this is Pinterest where its all about the image first. Pinterest is hugely successful because we're all attracted to interesting, great quality images. Something catches your eye, you click on it and then find out more. Airbnb also does this to great effect: image first, information next.
As a freelancer working in media you're probably not selling sneakers or furniture or coffee but (and here's what we sometimes fail to understand), you are selling yourself. Yes, you're selling your skills, experience and ability to do the job but behind all that,what makes you special, is you!
Make sure you communicate the right message
So, if you have any online profiles, take some time to think about your profile photo. Especially the ones you probably uploaded many months (or years) ago. Look at it critically and objectively. What does it say about you? Does it communicate the right message and reflect who you are?
A straight forward headshot is fine if that's all you need, but maybe you shouldn't use your passport photo!
Do you have a better, more up to date photo you could use instead? Or is it time to take a new photo?
Perhaps you could use a shot of you in your work situation or with a relevant, interesting background.
Remember, the more interesting, eyecatching or high quality your image is, the more likely it will be clicked on and that's exactly what you want to happen: people to click through and find out more about you.
If your profile lets you upload more images, you should showcase the best pictures you have. Working on location in good or terrible weather, iconic landmarks, using a piece of kit to show your experience, working with other crew or anything that tells a story about who you are and what you do.
Be consistent across your profiles
Once you've found your "perfect" image it's a good idea to use the same photo across all of your profiles. People can recognise you easily and it avoids any chance of confusion
Keep gathering new material and update your profile
I'm not suggesting that you change your profile photo every week but you should keep taking new photos as you work, get your colleagues to take a shot of you and include the background / kit / crew / location / animal / landmark etc. Don't be shy!
You can use these photos on your profiles and they're also great to post on Social Media sites with a link back to you.
Don't forget: the photo is often the first thing people will notice. If it's interesting and of good quality, they are much more likely to click and find out more.
For a really useful and in depth guide to social media best practices see this article from Moz.com
Useful advice and interesting research data from hubspot.com
Some media profile sites: