Most of the people who come in for a professional headshot session don’t have any type of experience posing professionally and controlling their face for the camera. As photographers, we are completely aware of this.
We don’t expect our clients to act like models and naturally know how to work their best angles and pose like pros.
Part of my job as a professional photographer is to help you pose and make you feel as comfortable as possible in front of the camera.
So, during your session, I’ll be there to guide you and give you hints meant to help you out. This way, the end result will be one that matches your expectations and conveys your best self.
That being said, you could stand to benefit by learning some things in advance as well, as this will make you feel more comfortable during the actual photo shoot.
By reading this article, you will discover a few useful best practices you can employ during the shoot, as well as a few tips regarding what you can do beforehand to get ready.
Let’s get started!
1. Pay Attention to Your Facial Expressions
Before you come in for your headshot session, you should give some thought to how you want to pose and present yourself.
We encourage you to try as many facial expressions as possible. It’s best to rehearse different smiles as well – a big one, a three-quarter smile, a half-smile and one with your mouth closed.
Take a good look at yourself in the mirror and you can even take a few pictures with your phone when practicing your smiles.
The purpose is to figure out which smile looks the most natural on you.
Pay attention to the smallest details, such as how much you squint your eyes or the wrinkles on your forehead.
Then, you also want to practice a more dramatic, serious facial expression. That way, you can determine which style would best fit your personal brand.
If you’re not quite sure what type of smile works best for you, I’ll help you decide.
And remember that whether you will smile or not, you should always communicate with your eyes.
2. Be Relaxed
If your body is tense during a headshot session, then the photos won’t look natural, no matter how hard you’ve worked on your facial expressions.
Take a hot bath, do some yoga, meditate or do anything else which will make you feel relaxed right before the shoot.
Your shoulders need to be relaxed because it will help you keep your back straight and express confidence. Even though your hands and forearms won’t appear in the headshots, you should let them drop naturally.
3. Don’t Face the Camera 100%
By this, I’m referring to the fact you don’t want your headshot to look like your passport picture.
You want to relax your body and try to shift positions slightly so you can find an angle which works to your advantage. Even if the shift is minimal, it can make the biggest difference.
I will also take a couple of test shots so you can see whether you’re happy with your pose.
4. Pay Attention to Your Chin
Most of the time, if the camera is placed right at the eye level, it will appear as if you have a double chin, even though it’s not the case.
To avoid this situation, you need to have space between your chin and neck. Just stay relaxed and imagine there’s a grapefruit underneath your chin. That way, you won’t be tempted to lower it more than necessary.
5. Have Fun
Above all, having fun will contribute to the success of your headshot session.
You want to show your personality and the only way to do so is by not feeling restricted in any way. Be goofy, playful and have the best time possible.
Are You Ready for a Headshot Session?
First impressions are formed online based on the headshots you are showing on your social media profiles. This is why we recommend updating them once every 2-3 years in order to keep them as fresh as possible. Or whenever you change your look drastically.