DIY Guide: How to make photos for your CV or LinkedIn profile
If you are reading this article, you probably take your professional profile photos seriously. You understand that it is not just a small detail of your CV or LinkedIn page, but an important element of your personal brand. You want to do things right, but probably you don't have time or budget to hire a professional photographer to make business photos for you right now. No worries, I've got you covered! I really want to help more people to look better in the profile photos, so I made this DIY guide for you.
Step1. Compose yourself
Usually, the photos in CV or LinkedIn are very small, which means that the composition has to be simple and clean. The goal is to show your face and a little bit of your outfit just to give an idea of your style. You can take a headshot or a classic 3/4 portrait, but there is no need to show your full body or even half-body. Remember, the more the body is visible in the photo, the more complicated it is for you to compose yourself right and look professional. Keep in mind: "Less is more."
Step 2. Think about the crop
As you might have noticed, LinkedIn crops your photos in a circle. This means that you need to make horizontal pictures instead of vertical if you want to make sure that the top of your outfit is visible in the photos. If you are taking the photos for CV, the crop can be different. Make sure to think about it before you actually take the photos.
Step 3. Choose the right background
As the photos are going to be very small, it's better to choose a simple background. A plain wall is always a good choice, however, you need to think first about the color of this wall. You can look for the traditional white, neutral grey or mysterious black background. Keep in mind that the color of the background creates a certain mood of the photo. If you want to learn more about it, check out this post dedicated to the choice of background.
Step 4. Catch the light
Firstly, don't underestimate the power of light. Light can make you look gorgeous or creepy, make sure to use it well. If you want to have soft natural light on your face, stand close to the window or big reflective surface (for example, a big white wall) during a sunny day. When the light goes through the window or it is reflected from the wall, it gives you this nice natural glow. It's not a good idea to use direct sunlight on your face, because it's too harsh and emphasizes all imperfections. However, you can use direct sunlight early in the morning or in the late afternoon during so-called golden hours. At this step, your goal is to illuminate your face and make it look lighter than the background.
Step 5. Find the right clothing
How do you want to be seen? What kind of atmosphere do you want to create? What are your values and what do you stand for? First, think about these questions and then choose your outfit. Your goal is to tell people more about yourself and attract the ones with whom you want to work. If you want to learn more about the clothes that work well for the photo sessions, you can read the articles that I wrote for guys and girls.
Step 6. Manage your face and body
This is the most complicated step for many people. Generally, I always recommend people to focus on their bodies and stop thinking about the photo session. Before taking pictures it is important to stretch, move around a bit, expand yourself and relax. Don't force yourself to smile or look serious, better think about something that makes you feel happy or concentrated. And bear in mind that the muscles of your face get sore very quickly, make facial gymnastics every 3-5 minutes. Be ready to take many photos and experiment, it doesn't matter if you took one hundred or one thousand photos as long as you got the desired result.
Step 7. Edit the photos
I always retouch the photos after the photo session. My goal is to make a person look fresh and natural, which is why I hide dark circles and skin imperfections, even out skin tone and make sure people look healthy and energized. I use Adobe Photoshop, but there are many apps can help you to do the simple corrections. For example, Facetune or Snapseed.
If this process is too complicated for you, sign up for a headshot session and forget about all these steps. I will take care of everything for you!