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Your photo

So, your CV is excellent… but what about the photo? 

Every so often, we see headshots on LinkedIn that make us automatically, often unconsciously, hesitate. The biggest perpetrators are the photos where the applicant is in a group with other people or where the applicant uses a casual holiday snapshot. Other detractors are garish lighting, rogue shadows, and poor focus.  

While professional headshots are foolproof, they can also be time-consuming and expensive. Whether you have an SLR or a Smartphone, you can get the results you want. 

5 Guidestones to Great Photos 

 1. Headshot: 

  • The photo should only include the top of your shoulders to just above your head. The interviewer wants to be able to recognise your face when meeting you in person or via video. 

  • Good posture is essential, as it automatically lifts the neck and face, making it appear bright and engaging. 

  • A relaxed smile relaxes the viewer. A neutral face is good, too, but it is trickier to achieve. A neutral face must convey intention. When in doubt, being friendly and open go a long way. 

2. Lighting: 

  • Natural light is cheap and easy. The trick is finding the sweet spot.  

  • When taking your photo indoors, stand near a window and place the camera between the window and you.  

  • When taking your photo outdoors, make sure you are not backlit and that the sun isn’t in your eyes. Indirect light makes for the best illumination. 

3. Background:  

  • For indoor photos, the background should be neutral and bright. White or grey walls work well. 

  • To avoid shadows, step forward a metre from the wall.  

  • For outdoor shots, the background should be heavily blurred. The viewer should be drawn only to you. 

4. Attire:  

  • A suit jacket, dress shirt and tie, or a plain open-collared well-pressed shirt always presents a professional look. 

  • Blouses and fabric should be simple and classic. Bright prints can be distracting. Shoulders should be completely covered.  

  • Jewellery and make-up should accentuate, not distract. 

5. Colour or Black & White: 

  • This is personal preference, though some say that B&W can seem less inviting. 

  • If using B&W, make sure your attire contrasts nicely with the background. 

  • Whether relying on a friend or taking a selfie with a tripod, take numerous shots. The more the better. You will find that the best shot showing the real you will stand out amongst the others.  

Lastly, instead of saying, “Cheese,” say, “Success.”