30 short, useful, actionable LinkedIn tips in 30 days from Doctor LinkedIn™, David Petherick. #30by30 #DoctorLinkedIn

#5/30: Look your best: invest in a good profile photo - and find out how to choose the best photo to use on LinkedIn.

  • Originally written: October 5, 2017
    Text & Images Updated: December 12, 2019

Don't make a bad first impression with a poor photo.

Doctor LinkedIn David Petherick

David Petherick - Doctor LinkedIn

Images are processed by the human mind thousands of times more rapidly than text. 42,000 times, to be exact. So it follows that a good LinkedIn Profile photo is vitally important.

And nobody connects with a faceless outline or a company logo.

People connect with other people.

So please don't be tempted to use your logo instead of your face.

It follows that you should make an investment of time and effort, and if you can afford it, money, to get a professional looking photograph on your profile.

If your photograph is seen just 21 times a day online, you have 7,665 opportunities a year to make no impression, a bad impression, or a good impression, before you have even opened your mouth or anyone has read a word of what you have to say for yourself.

  • That's 7,665 potential contacts.
  • Or 7,665 potential customers.
  • Or 7,665 potential advocates.
  • Or 7,665 people ignoring you completely.

Which photo should I use on LinkedIn?

Aside from the many aesthetic considerations like the quality and size of the image, the lighting, way you dress, the background focus and colour, and the way it's cropped, there's still usually a crucial decision to be made - which photo portrays me best?

Which image conveys my personality and character most effectively to the outside world? Asking friends, family and work colleagues to select the 'best' image of you may throw up all kinds of contradictory signals - and those that know you best are often not the most objective critics.

But there's a better, scientific way to select the best photograph for your LinkedIn Profile - crowdsource it!

How to crowdsource selecting your LinkedIn photo...

Step 1: Choose two or three images that you feel best portray you and have them loaded onto your computer ready to upload.

Step 2: Sign up for a free account at PhotoFeeler.com where you can choose either to buy credits with a fast-track paid option, or, by voting on other people's photos, you gain credits to use the free service.

Step 3: Upload your photos and submit them for human beings to vote and appraise your photos. You can opt to get an email when you've had the number of votes you requested. The more votes you ask for, the more reliable the results with a larger sample size.

Then, just listen to the wisdom of the crowd.


Not so impressive

I thought this was my best photo...

I found that my preferred photo (also chosen by my wife) was not the one best rated on Photofeeler.

So the photo I chose for my profile was the one that the crowd liked best - not our choice.

David Petherick rated on Photofeeler

This photo was better rated all round

My latest photo performed even better...

David Petherick - photo score from Photo Feeler

David Petherick - photo score from Photo Feeler

Important: Check your photo's visibility

Once you've uploaded your photo, it's important to remember that you can set options to control who can see your image. Click the visibility icon as shown below.

Check your LinkedIn Profile photo's visibility

Check your LinkedIn Profile photo's visibility

Due to the misogynistic world we live in, many females will choose to restrict visibility of their photograph to just those in their network, or just their connections.

Nobody feels confident connecting to an anonymous image, so it's worth remembering that for making new connections, it's considerably more effective to have your profile photo show - so make it at least visible to LinkedIn Members.

I choose to have my photo visible also to search engines and other services.

Remember that you can also adjust your photo to zoom in and crop it, and to adjust contrast, saturation and colour if needed.

I am not a big fan of LinkedIn's filters, but you can use these to enhance an image that perhaps lacks impact otherwise. You can even straighten photos where the horizon is off kilter, or see if you can get more profile hits with your face upside down.


The photographer of my headshot, if you're interested, was David Ho.

About David Petherick

David Petherick is Doctor LinkedIn and writes LinkedIn profiles for a living and offers online and in person 'surgery'. He makes your online presence visible, legible and credible. Follow David on Twitter at @petherick. Click mzs.es/free to book a free ten-minute call, zoom or skype with David today for confidential, impartial advice on how you can improve your LinkedIn Profile.