Navigating the LinkedIn Circle: Why Portrait Orientation Headshots Present a Fitting Challenge

Think back to when you were around three years old, playing the game where you matched shapes to their corresponding holes. Well, that’s essentially what some folks are doing with their LinkedIn profile pictures.

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In the digital realm of professional networking, LinkedIn reigns supreme as the go-to platform for making meaningful connections, showcasing expertise, and expanding career opportunities. At the heart of every LinkedIn profile lies the humble headshot—a visual representation of one’s professional identity. But for those striving for perfection in the pixelated world of profile pictures, there’s a common conundrum: why are portrait orientation headshots harder to fit into a LinkedIn circle template?

The Math Behind the Magic

The LinkedIn circle template requires a square image with dimensions of at least 400 x 400 pixels. This square aspect ratio—where the width equals the height—provides the perfect canvas for accommodating square or landscape orientation headshots. However, portrait orientation headshots—typically taller than they are wide—present a mismatch in aspect ratios, resulting in cropping, distortion, or the dreaded “letterbox” effect.

The Challenges of Cropping

So, why exactly do portrait orientation headshots pose such a challenge for the LinkedIn circle template? The answer lies in the art of cropping.


When a portrait orientation headshot is squeezed into the circular template, the excess height must be trimmed to fit within the confines of the circle. This often results in the top and bottom of the image being cropped, potentially cutting off vital elements such as the top of the head or the chin and most distracting borders on the sides of the image within the circle.

The end result is a headshot that feels cramped, incomplete, or unbalanced—a far cry from the polished professionalism you strive to convey.


To conform to the circular template, portrait orientation headshots may undergo stretching or distortion during the cropping process. Faces, features, and proportions can appear warped or elongated, detracting from the professionalism and credibility conveyed by the profile picture.


 Portrait orientation headshots are designed to showcase the individual in full or partial view, capturing nuances of expression and personality. However, when squeezed into a circular frame, these headshots may lose context or appear overly zoomed-in, diminishing the impact and readability of the image.

The Solution


Choose a Headshot with Room to Spare

Ask your photographer to shoot your professional headshot photos in landscape orientation.

 If portrait orientation is non-negotiable, select a headshot with ample space above and below the subject. This allows for more flexibility when cropping to fit the circular template, minimizing the risk of vital elements being cut off.


When in doubt, stick with the tried-and-true square or landscape orientation for your LinkedIn headshot. These formats are tailor-made for the circular template, ensuring a seamless fit without the need for cropping or adjustment.

This will provide you much more flexibility to fit into the circular Linkedin circle, the ability to crop into the traditional portrait-oriented headshot and also create a nice square crop should you need it for a business card or email signature photo.

Test and Adjust

Before uploading your headshot to LinkedIn, test how it appears within the circular profile picture template. Use photo editing software or LinkedIn’s built-in cropping tool to adjust the composition and framing as needed, ensuring that your headshot looks polished and professional within the circular frame.

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