Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

An algorithm determined who has the best and worst LinkedIn profile photos

Photo: Thomas Trutschel / Getty

Most people are probably more concerned with their Tinder profile pic than their LinkedIn one, but, hey, guess what? Most companies would rather not hire the guy giving the shocker in a Stussy hoodie, so, you know, it matters. People are even doing studies on who’s got the best LinkedIn photos, and the results might surprise you.

Priceonomics just dropped an article analyzing data from Snappr, which used its own Photo Analyzer software to draw data on LinkedIn photos. Here’s it did it:

The tool uses an algorithm to analyze portraits for things like expression (e.g. smile and jawline), composition (e.g. zoom and background), and photo quality (e.g. saturation and sharpness). These attributes are graded individually and incorporated into an overall photo quality score. The database contains tens of thousands of Photo Analyzer results and anonymized information from the LinkedIn profiles they’re attached to. We analyzed that database to identify the groups with the best-scoring photos.


Basically, a good photo follows the rule of thirds, has a neutral background, showcases your smile, and wasn’t taken in a dim basement. Hilariously, Priceonomics emphasizes the fact that the Photo Analyzer does not judge based on looks, something we wish also applied to most employers.

There’s lots of fun data to pore over. Chile, for example, is the country with the highest quality photos, with the U.K., Sweden, and Israel rounding out the bottom. Meanwhile, those who just started new positions tended to have better photos than those who’ve been at a job for a long time, which makes sense considering most people don’t even visit their LinkedIn pages once they get hired.


The biggest surprise? According to this data, the people with the worst LinkedIn photos are, gasp, photographers.


“It’s important to remember that Photo Analyzer is an algorithm,” Priceonomics says as a means of justification, “and perhaps professional photographers take creative liberties that don’t jibe with the science of what makes a good professional photo according to an algorithm.”

Maybe, or maybe you’re going to want to check the LinkedIn page of the next professional photographer you hire.


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