What are the requirements for a LinkedIn background photo?
Choosing an appropriate and professional background photo for your LinkedIn profile is important. LinkedIn recommends your background photo meets the following requirements:
- The photo should be relevant to your professional brand and industry
- Avoid selfies or party photos
- Use a high-quality, high-resolution photo with good lighting
- Ensure the background is not distracting or cluttered
- Avoid photos with inappropriate or offensive content
- Make sure you have rights to use the photo
- The recommended dimensions are 1400 x 425 pixels
- File size should be under 8 MB
- Landscape orientation works best
Following these guidelines will ensure your background photo projects a polished, professional image on your profile.
What types of background photos work best?
Here are some of the most effective types of LinkedIn background photos:
A professional headshot shows your face clearly and makes your profile instantly recognizable. Make sure the photo is high quality and shows you looking confident, approachable and dressed appropriately for your industry.
An office, studio or field location relating to your work portrays your professional environment. Be sure it’s tidy and well-lit. You could include colleagues but avoid photos that seem staged.
Select an image that creatively represents your industry, profession or business. For example, an architect could use a modern city skyline. Just ensure the photo aligns with your brand.
Event, conference or speaking photo
Photos of you engaged at work events demonstrate you actively participate in your field. Select photos where you are well-dressed, professional and confident.
Team or group photo
Showcase collaboration by including a professional image of you with colleagues. Be sure you stand out and it reflects well on all individuals.
Visually display your skills, experience and accomplishments by designing an infographic resume as your background image. Keep it uncluttered and easy to read.
How can I create an effective background photo?
Follow these tips to create a polished, high-quality background photo for your LinkedIn profile:
- Invest in a professional photoshoot with a skilled photographer if possible.
- Take photos in front of a neutral, non-distracting background like a white wall.
- Wear professional attire in classic colors like blue, black, gray or white.
- Look directly at the camera with good posture and a friendly expression.
- Ensure the lighting is soft, even and flattering – no shadows or harsh lighting.
- Wide shots from the waist or shoulders up work best.
- Maintain plenty of space around your head/upper body – no cropped edges.
- For workplace or industry photos, ensure the environment is tidy and uncluttered.
- Take lots of photos and select the best ones where you look polished, confident and approachable.
- Consider hiring a professional graphic designer to touch-up or stylize your selected photo.
Investing a bit of time and effort into your LinkedIn profile photo will help you stand out and look polished, professional and credible.
What composition works best?
The ideal composition for a LinkedIn profile photo is:
- Head and shoulders shot – Close enough to see your face clearly, but wide enough to include some background.
- Portrait orientation – Taller rather than wider dimensions fit LinkedIn’s layout best.
- Centered subject – Position yourself front and center in the frame.
- Minimal background – Ensure the background is simple and free of distractions.
- Looking at camera – Maintain eye contact with the lens for an engaging shot.
- Leave space – Avoid cropping your head too tightly, leave some space around your face.
This classic portraiture composition projects an approachable yet professional image on your profile. Just be sure the background aligns with your brand and industry.
What makes a bad LinkedIn background photo?
Here are some types of photos that do not work well for LinkedIn background images:
- Pixelated, grainy or low-resolution photos.
- Cropped or layered headshots.
- Party photos, silly selfies or unprofessional candid shots.
- Outdated photos from decades past.
- Distracting or cluttered backgrounds.
- Photos where you are distant or not facing the camera.
- Blurry or poorly lit photos.
- Provocative, offensive or controversial content.
- Watermarks, graphics or text overlaid on top of photo.
- Group shots where you do not stand out.
Avoiding these types of unprofessional photos will ensure your background aligns with your personal brand and industry. A polished, high-quality headshot or workplace photo will make the best impression.
Should I include co-workers in my photo?
Including colleagues, coworkers or employees in your LinkedIn background photo can work well if handled appropriately:
- Ensure you stand out – Do not get lost in a crowd. Position yourself prominently.
- Keep it professional – Avoid silly poses. Look engaged in work.
- Obtain permission – Secure consent from anyone featured in your photo.
- Represent your team – Select people reflecting diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Complementary positioning – Stand side-by-side or angle people diagonally.
- Be selective – 1-2 colleagues maximum. Large group shots are distracting.
- Focused – Subjects should face the camera and be clearly visible.
The emphasis should remain on you. But including a colleague or two in the background or by your side can depict collaboration and teamwork when done tastefully.
Should I look at the camera or use candid shots?
For LinkedIn, it is usually best to take a photo where you are:
- Facing the camera
- Making eye contact with the lens
- With an approachable and friendly facial expression
This engages viewers and makes your profile instantly recognizable. Candid shots or photos of you looking away or distracted don’t make the same visual impact.
However, candid industry shots can work well if you are clearly participating in an event or activity related to your work. But strive for eye contact in your profile headshot.
What is the ideal image size and resolution?
LinkedIn recommends these photo specifications:
- Width of at least 400 pixels
- Resolution of 72 ppi
- Landscape dimensions of 1400 x 425 pixels
- Square dimensions of 400 x 400 pixels
- File size under 8MB
- JPEG (.jpg or .jpeg) format
Higher resolution photos up to 16:9 ratio will have the best image quality. Just be wary of very large files that are slow to load. Shoot for a photo under 8MB in size if possible.
Should I include text or graphics in my photo?
LinkedIn recommends avoiding text or graphics overlaid onto your profile and background photos. Simple photos with clean backgrounds are best.
Any text or graphics included may complicate the image dimensions and file size. Stick to quality headshots or workplace photos without added embellishments.
If you wish to display text and graphics, create an infographic resume as your background photo instead of overlaying text onto a standard headshot.
How often should I change my LinkedIn background photo?
How often you should update your LinkedIn background depends on several factors:
- When you change roles or companies
- If your appearance changes significantly
- To showcase big events, conferences or speaking engagements
- To display new capabilities, skills or achievements
- To promote recent projects or initiatives at your company
Aim to update your background photo at least every 1-2 years. Change it immediately if you switch employers. Freshening it up now and then with new, high-quality photos helps maintain an updated professional image.
Should I pay for a premium background photo service?
LinkedIn offers premium background photo services starting at $49.99 per photo. You receive a professionally photographed headshot with corporate, workplace, lifestyle or portrait style options.
- Convenient mobile photography
- Professional lighting
- Natural, high-quality results
- Multiple outfit options
- Proper exposure and composition
- Aythority-shot photos tailored for LinkedIn
The cost may be worthwhile if you want executive portrait shots but lack photographer access. For most, quality DIY shots or hiring an affordable local photographer usually suffices. Evaluate if premium shots are worth the investment based on your personal brand and needs.
Choosing the right LinkedIn background photo takes a bit of thought and effort but is worth perfecting. Follow composition and quality best practices. Showcase your professional brand using headshots, workplace images or industry photos. Avoid amateurish selfies or distracting backgrounds. Craft a photo that is visually appealing and optimized for LinkedIn’s specifications. With a little care, your background photo can make your profile stand out while conveying your desired professional image.