8 Types of Hilariously Bad LinkedIn Profile Photos: Updated 2020

by | Aug 8, 2019

Note: To avoid shaming anyone, we didn’t include real examples from real people. Instead, we had the cartoonists depict our favorite (most hated) bad LinkedIn headshots. For those of you who have one of these photos, you know who you are…

LinkedIn is the world’s foremost professional social network with over 675 million registered users; of which 250 million are active on the platform. (via LinkedIn)

Hiring managers, executives, and recruiters all use LinkedIn to meet other professionals, and so the platform has become critical for building your professional brand and getting noticed in the business world.

Wondering whether your LinkedIn profile photo even matters? Check out the piece here: Do Business Headshots Really Matter? [Video Report]

Yet, some of us struggle to get a decent professional profile photo. While it’s completely understandable (most traditional business headshots are expensive, time-consuming, and inconvenient) it doesn’t make the end result any less cringey/hilarious.

In no particular order, here are the top 8 most horrendous LinkedIn headshots we all have:

#1 The Selfie

Characteristics: Low quality image taken from a cell phone too close to the subject. Arm coming from the bottom left or right corner of the frame. Often-times taken at an unflattering angle. For some reason, the inside of cars happen to be a popular backdrop.

Description: There’s nothing quite so painful as seeing a selfie on a professional network. With all the class of a 7-Eleven Big Gulp, The Selfie communicates the willingness to snap your primary professional business headshot while doing chores, sitting in traffic, or eating at Olive Garden.


#2 The Artifact

Characteristics: Were they constructing the pyramids the last time you got a headshot taken? 

Description: Taken in a long ago era, you silently wonder whether most people recognize you when you meet in person…some have even made comments.

Hint: Any headshot taken more than 2 years ago is now obsolete.

#3 “The Groomsman” or “The Bridesmaid”

Characteristics: You’re wearing a ball gown or tuxedo. Bonus points for bow tie. There may or may not be the shoulder of someone else in the corner of the photo.

Description: You’re already in a Tuxedo, suit, or dress – so why not use this snap as your business headshot? This photo may or may not be taken at night, but it always conveys the laziness of repurposing a photo that’s not quite right. Nevermind that you were three beers deep and sweating from recently doing The Macarena.


#4 The Mugshot

Characteristics: Boring office wall directly behind the subject. Uncomfortable smile on the subject’s face as they ponder whether their friend is taking a good photo. Photo quality and lighting clearly show it was taken on a cell phone.

Description: The only benefit to The Mugshot is that, unlike The Selfie, we at least know you have a friend.


#5 The Ol’ Yeller: 

Characteristics: You had a friend, co-worker, or loved-one take you out back and shoot you on their phone camera or low-end DSLR.  You know it. We know it. 

Description: The fact that there’s clearly a residential house or wall of green plants in the background is the dead giveaway. As no editing was involved, you’ll likely have distracting yellow teeth or stray hairs. 


#6 The Alumnus:

Characteristics: Graduations sash still on your shoulders! You’re probably backlit and it’s sunset. You might see your university building/sign in the background.

Description: This headshot is the easiest and fastest way to visually reinforce that you have no practical work experience.

See your profile photo on this list? Head on over to our Individual Sessions page to book a LinkedIn portrait session.

#7 The Party Animal

Characteristics: Taken at night and often times just with a bit of blur, The Party Animal is highly likely to have been taken at a club, bar, or bat mitzvah. 

Description: Perfect for nightclub promoters. Lame for everyone else.


#8 The Over-Shopped

Characteristics: Overly photoshopped using FaceTuner or similar tool. Particularly obvious when absurdly smooth skin under eyelids, blindingly white teeth, or piercing blue eyes.

Description: Some part-time editors go WAY overboard on their profile editing. While the result is questionable for data profiles and regular social media, the effect is disastrous for professional networks.

Honorable Mentions:

The Retro: Objectively gross-looking grey felt background.


Say this while spinning in place three times and let it sink in. 

When you’re a billionaire, you can use The T-Shirt Pic.

The Ghost: The ultimate “scammer move” is to have no photo at all. 

The Prom Pic: The not-so-distant cousin of The Wedding Pic, The Prom Pic is special because it adds the element of aging. Unlike fine wine, a business headshot from 10 years ago does not get better with age.

The Good Boy: Your dog does not need to be part of your headshot.

The Super Fan: A baseball cap in your professional headshot? Really?…

The Vacationer: Taken while traveling. You’re just a bit sunburnt. The beach is in the background. Hawaiian shirt optional.

The Meta-Photo: A cell phone photo of a printed photo…potentially from a yearbook. Hmmm.

Ready to upgrade your business headshot? Head on over to headshots-inc.com to schedule your session.

HeadShots Inc retains all right so the contents of this post, including cartoons and text.

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