About Your Profile Picture…

An Open Letter From an Image Library Archivist

Dear LinkedIn User,

All day I find clients beauty shots of oil rigs. I also archive them and other things too, but one of my main tasks is to look at images and discern what is the best fit (because AI has not figured that out — yet).

My clients (from all over the world who are contracted like me or work for Chevron) come to me (colleagues too) and ask me for images (at the Chevron Image Library) instead of doing a Google or Bing image search because they trust my eye. They also are searching for images that represent team work at Chevron or embody safety in all its valor.

Our goal is to find people the most brand compliant, safety focused, engaging images in our image library of over 150,000 assets.

It is no wonder, I go home and do the same with images I see. Tonight it’s LinkedIn. For the past 15 minutes my mouse infinitely scrolled through thousands of profile photos. But before I talk about your profile picture, let me say, that my profile picture isn’t all that hot.

Okay. Now back to you. Of the *thousand* or so profile pictures only 23 caught my eye.

But before I talk about what my eyes caught on to in those 23 LinkedIn profile pics, let me say what I weeded out (something I do naturally at work when looking for the right oil rig picture for you) in the remainder. Here are top things I scroll past as an image curator/image archivist/Digital Asset Manager tasked with shopping around for people, places and things that “say” something — which translates into brand.

I scroll past…

  1. Grainy photography. If your profile picture looks grainy, guess what?
  2. Blurry images.
  3. Yucky flash photography.
  4. Cut off people in your profile picture.
  5. Bad kitchen cabinets.
  6. Selfies of you in your car.
  7. You looking off to nowhere.
  8. Your blinking.
  9. Bad studio photography backdrops.
  10. You in your wedding outfit: bride or groom.

Now for what caught my eye.

While I can’t name names, here are 10 things I noticed about the hottest LinkedIn profile pictures:

  1. It was a hero shot: of you.
  2. You at your desk, but not with yucky flash photography. Nice. Well lit. Great job.
  3. Neutral background. Yes. I am feeling you, Neutral Background.
  4. In focus you, but sorta blurry background. Yes, it’s very 2013, but it still works.
  5. That black and white picture of you. It looks like Richard Avedon shot you, like with his Rolleiflex.
  6. You in your amazing place of work (like #2) but, again, nice lighting. Crisp.
  7. That amazing background of wilderness — and yes: very apropos for a forest ranger.
  8. I like that you’re not smiling, but I know that you are smiling on the inside. Oh yes. I can feel it by looking at your picture.
  9. Yes: it was a selfie. But even more yes: it was the right one with the right filter applied. Brava!
  10. What you are wearing is awesome — and yes, that made me look at your profile picture twice.

There you have it. Now back to me: in about a month when I lose more weight — because I think they hire skinny, clear skinned, beautiful looking people over smirky faced me — I hope to have a nice, confident looking me featured on my LinkedIn page.

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Glossary/References:

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Note to Public:

The Chevron Image Library is not a public image search. And, I work for Cella Consulting, an in-house design studio contracted to Chevron.