But I have good news for you. When real people see your photo, they look at the whole picture, imperfect teeth and all. They don’t examine it pixel by pixel. People want to know what sort of person you are, but they aren’t looking for perfection. They’re looking for honesty, integrity, trust, confidence and approachability.
The neutral background thing was interesting though and I’m inclined to agree with that. When people are looking for a particular skillset or profession on LinkedIn or on a website, they skim through loads of profiles really quickly. The profiles with the best photos stand out, get noticed and get clicked on. If your photo isn’t clear, if you don’t look the part, if you don’t stand out then they skip past you. Your opportunity to do business with that person has gone forever.
So, which background works best? Some people think white is too harsh, others think it’s the only one to go for. Other people prefer dark backgrounds, but critics say it looks too sombre. And they are all right and all wrong at the same time. Because there isn’t a definitive answer to this. In my opinion, and it’s just that, but with 12 years’ experience in taking headshots and business portraits I have worked out some basic rules to decide on the best background.
If you have light coloured hair and fair skin then a dark background is likely to be best as it adds contrast and makes the person stand out from the background. But if you have dark hair or darker skin tones then a light or even a white background will be more appropriate for your headshots. The reason is the same – it adds contrast and makes you stand out.