Update Your Profile Picture

Photographer shooting alone in his studio

Mitsuru Sakurai / Getty Images

Now that you've updated your professional online profile, you want to make sure that your online profile pictures are just as up-to-date and professional as those profiles.

Update Your Profile Picture

Your profile picture is an extremely important part of your online presence, as it helps people to connect with you at a glance.

You do not need to hire a professional photographer to take your profile photo, but there are certain things you should take into consideration when taking and selecting your photo. Below are a few tips on how to take and choose an ideal photo for your online profiles.

Find a Friend to Help

Ask a friend or family member (who is comfortable using a camera) to take your profile picture. If someone else is not available to take the photo, you can take a webshot on your computer’s camera (if your computer has that capability), or take a photo of yourself using the self-timer on your camera.

However, do not take the photo using a handheld camera – self-photos or “selfies” appear unprofessional.


Select a photo in which you appear to smile in a natural way. A smile will make you appear friendly and approachable to those looking at your profile. 

Having a friend or family member take your photo will hopefully put you at ease and make your smile look more authentic. If you are deciding between a couple of photos, ask some friends or family members which photo makes you look the most approachable.

Pick a Head Shot

Because profile pictures often appear as small thumbnails, pick a photo that shows only your head, neck, and a bit of your shoulders. If the photo shows your entire body, viewers may not be able to see your face well, and may not be able to recognize you in person.

Dress Professionally

Dress in a manner that is appropriate for your career field. In other words, dress as you would for an interview at your ideal company. Typically this means a dress shirt or blouse, a shirt and tie, or even a suit. Choose solid dark colors like blue or black.

Avoid wearing a strapless dress or top, because a photo that only shows your head and shoulders will make you appear naked (and definitely unprofessional!). Avoid wearing large jewelry or too trendy hairstyles that will distract from your face.

Keep It Simple

Do not include distracting props, backgrounds, or people in the photo. Your profile pictures should be of you, and only you. Stand against a solid-colored background that provides enough contrast against you and your outfit (for example, if you are wearing navy, do not stand against a navy wall, because you will blend into the background).

Keep It Up-to-Date

Make sure you choose a recent photo of you, so that people will be able to recognize you in person. No baby pictures!

Be Consistent

A great way to develop your professional brand is to use the same photo in all of your online profiles, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even your Gmail Profile.