All it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face. Longer exposures may not significantly alter those first impressions.
Today if you do not have a profile photo, you might look like a creeper on facebook. There are 30 different types of profile photos according to Facebook. The discussion on LinkedIn is to have a profile photo.
The images above are a variety of headshots you can have that are all similar except for one thing—the background.
Nice outdoor look for a background
As you look through these photos of my daughter Chelle, you may like one photo more than another, but notice how the background can set a mood, compliment or distract your attention. The rest of the photo looks the same in all the images.
I recommend a simple and clean background. Next I recommend if your background has patterns or texture get as far away from the background so it is not so sharp and distracting.
Background is simple and works OK
If shooting the photo outside, find some shade, and have your subject face toward the stronger light source. The open sky will light them and not direct sunlight. This makes for softer light on the face. Also, you can turn on your flash to add a catch light in the eye and give more life to the eyes.
To make your photo inside, find a plain wall rather than a busy wallpaper or busy background objects. Keep the light simple and soft, maybe a window for the light on the face.
If the profile photo is for something professional like LinkedIn, blog or website, get a professional to help you. Remember you only have a tenth of a second to make a good impression.