Improving attorney quality of life one complex litigation project at a time

Virtual Paralegalism

The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism

LinkedIn: Take the Dread Profile Pic Yourself

LinkedIn:  Take the Dread Profile Pic Yourself

I don’t know many adults who love to have their pictures taken. But you need a nice head shot for your LinkedIn profile, so your viewers can put a name with a face (preferably smiling). Without a head shot, your profile looks blank, incomplete and well, to be perfectly honest, not particularly personable. Substituting a picture of your mother’s prized roses or your beautiful Yorkies, Teeny and Bitsy, for a personal profile on Facebook is lovely, but simply won’t do for professional purposes. (Sorry.)

But you don’t have to pay the big bucks for a professional head shot. It’s nice if someone, like your employer, offers to pay for a professional head shot, but if it’s not economically feasible, you can have a friend take your head shot. In fact, with today’s digital cameras, you can take your own head shot. I never understood why my kids took so many pictures of themselves until I recently got an unbeatable deal on a Nikon Coolpix S550 from Now it’s ridiculously easy to photograph myself in dark restaurants to see if I look 20 years younger. I took the head shot I published with this blog entry and for my blog profile, and I’m using it on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook now. I’m not happy about the bags under my eyes, but that’s how I really look at 7:30 a.m.

The benefit of taking your own head shot is that you can take as much time as you like and as many pictures as you want, without driving a photographer crazy with your nit-pickiness and insistence that he or she hasn’t quite captured “the real you”. Also, you won’t hurt anyone’s feelings if you don’t like the pictures. I didn’t really like the last professional head shot I had taken, but didn’t say anything, because the stylist spent an hour on my hair and make-up. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings after she’d worked so hard to tame my rebellious hair.

Here’s some tips to get a nice head shot of yourself using your own camera:

  1. Dress your top half like you are going to an interview for a legal position. Guys, that’s at least a tie and well-groomed hair. Gals, that’s a conservative blouse, jewelry and hair, and daytime make-up – no cleavage and not the come-hither face and hair you might post on a dating website, or for that Glamour Shot you’re giving to your sweetie for Valentine’s Day.
  2. Use an uncluttered background, although most of it will be cropped out. Light-colored river birch tree branches growing out of your head simply make viewers wonder if you’re related to Rudolph, as in the reindeer.
  3. Lighting is important. Find a well-lit place, even outside, to take your picture so that you don’t have shadows in your photo which suggest that you have something horrible to hide.
  4. Smile. I know, you don’t want to take your picture, and you have a million criticisms of your own face which no one else even notices. (I’m absolutely certain that my nose gets bigger with age.) None of us look like air-brushed magazine covers and that’s a good thing.
  5. Take head shots that fill up the frame, leaving only your head, neck and shoulders showing. Don’t worry, you can crop out your own arms or that tree branch you forgot to move away from.
  6. Don’t rush. Take your time and get several shots that are representative of how you actually look, relaxed and almost glad to be having your picture taken.
  7. Edit the best photo by cropping it so that your face fills most of the frame, and adjusting the lighting if necessary. Try changing color photos to black and white to see if you like the effect. Don’t worry if you don’t have photo-editing software on your computer. There are plenty of free and ridiculously easy programs online for the technologically challenged, including and
  8. Last, post the picture at your LinkedIn profile. I know you don’t want to, but your profile represents a person, and a person has a face. You show your face everyday. If you get a new haircut, new glasses, a great new suit, find a miracle wrinkle cream (email me!) or cave in to all those endless commercials and whiten your teeth, you can always have another photo session with yourself. After all, the price and convenience are unbeatable.

4 Responses to LinkedIn: Take the Dread Profile Pic Yourself

  1. Dear Ms. Devenney,

    I believe I found a link to your blog on the Paralegal Gateway blogroll. I am grateful to have found this blog. Your blog is very helpful to me. This post was especially helpful because up until now I have been wary of putting up my photo on any website. Up until recently the advice has been to not do so because of the potential for discrimination issues. You make a convincing case for doing so. I am grateful for all of the advice because I wouldn’t have thought of the “obvious things”– eg. guys wear suit coat and tie.

    I think I may eventually take my picture and post it because now the general advice I see is advice along the lines you gave– to go ahead and post your picture.

    You posted another article recently that looks helpful, I’ll have to find it again.

    Thanks again for your blog–keep up the good work.


  2. Colin, thank you for the nice comment. I really do love hearing from readers. So often they're smarter than me! 🙂

    LinkedIn is a professional networking site. People see your face when you network personally, so it makes sense to show your face virtually — if you are seeking to extend your business network. The most successful social media users have a head shot — many taken with their own digital camera.

    When you get LinkedIn (or if you are now), I'd welcome an invite! And of course, I'll be interested to see how "Th' Dread Profile Pic" turns out. 😉

    Peace & grace,

  3. This post was helpful to me also. I’ve had intentions to post a pic but I wasn’t sure that the pix I have were appropriate. They’re not racy or anything but since I was in doubt, I didn’t post them. Thanks to reading your blog, I have good tips to follow. Thank you very much!

  4. Deborah – Thanks for commenting. I look forward to seeing your profile pic soon. It’s really not scary — just a head shot of a person lookin’ his or her “Sunday best”…lol.

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

Website design by T.Marie Hilton-Girly Girl Geek Designs