Posted 30 January 2011, updated 26 March 2016
Many of us have entries on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. If you are there, it is because you want people to interact with you; on a serious site such as LinkedIn this could extend to hiring you.
What is your reaction when you come across a profile like the one below?
My reaction is to feel somewhat put off. I see a person who has not made the effort to upload a photo, and who is not open and communicative.
People are far more likely to contact you if you have a good quality photograph. The only difference in the profile below is the photograph.
With this, one gets a much stronger impression of a real person being behind the profile. However this only works if the photograph is of good quality. A poor quality photograph suggests that the person does not try hard or does not care about quality.
On Facebook I often see quirky photographs being used instead of a proper profile picture. Sometimes people use images of their pet or their children. Again this suggests someone who does not want to be fully open about their identity.
Finally, the only reason I used my own LinkedIn profile to illustrate this page is simply that I can do so without seeking anyone else's permission.
To get a really good quality photograph, you need to use a professional photographer. He or she will ensure the lighting is appropriate, and will try various poses to ensure that you are photographed to best effect. You can expect the photographer to shoot 50 - 100 photographs of you, from which you might select one or two that you like. The cost will vary but even in a high cost environment such as London, it is possible to have this done for less than £500.
In my view this cost is worthwhile, provided that you can afford it and have some serious professional goals. Once you have a good photo you are happy with, you will find yourself using it again and again. For example the one I use above was taken about four years ago and I continue to use it as it still looks like me! One day I will need to replace it.
If you cannot afford the expense of a professional photograph, find a friend who is a keen photographer and who has the right camera, lenses and other equipment such as lighting, reflectors etc.