Say Cheese! – The Do’s and Don’ts of CV Photos

We live in the age of the Selfie, so taking a good photo for your CV should be a piece of cake, right? Apparently not. We get some great examples of what not to do across our desks, so we thought we’d do a post that will guide you through the do’s and don’ts of CV photo taking, so you can get the right shot to make your CV shine.


  • Ensure you are the only person in the photo. This might sound obvious, but photos where you have clearly cropped someone out, (bar perhaps a hand on your shoulder and some hair that definitely doesn’t belong to you), just look plain unprofessional. Make sure the photo is of only you. You only want them hiring you after all!
  • Ideally, have your picture taken somewhere indoors that is well-lit with natural light. If you need some extra lighting, you can use an angled lamp or similar to help. Stand opposite the natural light source because if you stand with it behind you, you will be backlit and dark. Use a flash if necessary. Outdoors is fine as long as it’s not too sunny.
  • Look as presentable as possible. Boys – haircut, shave, facial grooming, moustache waxing… Anything you need to do to look clean, professional and tidy. Girls – ideally your hair should be up and tidy, but if it’s down, ensure it’s neat and not covering your face in any way. Natural make-up (no caterpillar eyebrows please) and minimal jewellery.
  • Wear something clean, ironed and simple. Ideally a plain polo, t-shirt, crew shirt etc. Nothing bright, patterned or casual. Remember, this photo is to get you working, not partying. The scruffy boho look might be what you rock when you’re off the boat, but personal presentation is an essential part of working in this industry so take your outfit seriously.
  • Stand against a plain backdrop. Maybe a wall or curtain. The simpler the better as you are the focus of the photo, not what’s behind you.
    Smile! Not a huge, cheesy grin, but a nice, natural smile really can go a long way. Some people can look ferociously grumpy when they aren’t smiling, and the last thing you want is to scare off potential employers at the first hurdle. Almost every job on a yacht is client-facing, so it’s essential to smile for most of your working day. Show it off on your CV.


  • A candid piccie of you at a party laughing at someone’s joke might capture your best smile, but it certainly isn’t what a potential employer is going to want to see. Social photos are a big no-no, particularly as they show you in total non-work mode. You want a photo that shows you looking professional and ready to take your job seriously, not having a laugh in the bar.
  • We all know that you work in glorious hot climates, but that doesn’t mean we need to see your designer sunglasses. Sunglasses hide your face and also give a very casual impression for a CV photo. Take the photo somewhere that you won’t be squinting like a mole without sunglasses and show your full face. People inherently don’t trust people they don’t know if they can’t see their eyes.
  • Filters. Well, this should be the most obvious of all, but some people clearly think their appearance is vastly improved by the use of a Snapchat (or similar) filter. If you want people to think that you have cat ears, huge eyes and a weirdly distorted face in real life then perhaps you’re working in the wrong industry… ANY kind of filter is totally unacceptable and should be kept to your private photos.
  • As with sunglasses, hats are also not a good idea. Again, you are partially hiding your appearance, and you want to look as neat and tidy as possible. Taking a photo indoors so as to avoid the need for any form of sun shading is probably best.
  • Pay attention to how you’re posing. If you’re contorting yourself trying to highlight your muscle tone or your curvy bottom, chances are you are trying too hard and directing focus to the wrong area. We are all used to seeing massively over-posed people on our social media feeds, but this is where you just need to be as natural as possible. Stand up straight, chin slightly up, shoulders down and stand face-on to the camera. A head and shoulders shot is more than adequate, full body shots are not necessary.
  • Hopefully, your face isn’t pierced and tattooed, but if you do have any of these kinds of decorations, you might want to consider taking them out or covering them up. You might really struggle to get work if you have obvious facial accoutrement. Ear tunnels are also not a good idea.

Overall, it’s pretty much common sense but you’d be surprised at how many people get it wrong and misjudge what’s ok and what’s not. We want you to be successful and get as many interviews as possible, so hopefully, you find this helpful and can ensure you get a winning photo for your CV.

We actually recently took our own advice and paid for some professional photos to be done of us. We have to lead by example after all! You can check them out using this link