Tips on How to Pose for Your Next Headshot

posted in: Portraits, Tips | 0

Most people have two main concerns when it comes to being photographed. What do I wear, and how do I stand (otherwise known as, “What do I do with my hands?”)

Just the idea of posing for a photo can create dread in the average person. “Posing” implies something forced, unnatural, formal, or stuffy. But how you position your body – and therefore how the light falls on you – are the key elements to the success of your professional photos.

Don’t worry, once you’re in the front of the camera, I’ll tell you what to do.

But in the meantime, here are some key tips on how to pose for your next headshot.

1. Keep your shoulders back and down.

Good posture help you look more confident and can even help you look thinner. When you get in front of the camera and tense up and lift your shoulders and start slouching, I’ll remind you to take a deep breath, roll your shoulders back and down, and stand up straight.

2. Keep your chin about level with the ground.

I find that many people are nervous about having a double chin in their picture, so they raise their chin up instead. But a raised chin is not usually flattering – it shows too much neck and also distracts from your eyes, which are the most important part of a professional portrait. What you want is to keep your chin out, away from your neck, and down slightly. Then, I can position the light in such a way to help reduce the look of the double chin.

3. Turn your body on a slight angle.

When we stand straight in front of the camera, we generally look square and wide (think: mugshot). Instead, I want angles – as many as I can get in one photo. Start by turning your body just slightly on an angle, so you’re looking at the camera over your shoulder. Then put your weight on one foot or the other, so you’re not standing stock straight. Then tilt your head just a little like you’re listening. Slight angles and subtle shifts in your position can make you look more approachable and more confident in your final headshot.

4. Lean forward just a little.

We want your eyes to be the first thing people see when they look at your business portrait, so I want them closer to the camera than any other part of your body. To achieve that, I’ll ask you to lean forward ever so slightly, as if you’re leaning in to hear someone better. It’s inviting, approachable, and engaging to the viewer. If you have something to lean on, even better.

5. Give your hands a home.

We won’t actually see your hands in a business headshot, but what you do with them affects your shoulders and neck, which can affect the whole photo. Letting them hang down can pull your shoulders forward and contribute to slouching. Having them on your hips thrusts out your elbows. I have clients either clasp their hands gently in front of them, cross their arms in front of their chest, or put their hands in their pockets. The key is to find a place for your hands that helps your shoulders look relaxed.

6. Smile with your eyes.

Your facial expression in your business headshot really matters, and so much of that comes from your eyes. Yes, people are attracted to smiles, but a forced smile lacks authenticity and looks…forced. Instead, you need the smile to extend from your mouth to your eyes. We call it “Smizing.”It doesn’t take a huge, goofy smile to make an impression. A small smile in your headshot is fine – or even no smile! – so long as you’re conveying kindness, warmth, and friendliness through your eyes.

I have a lot of tricks to help clients relax and be themselves. That is how you get a photo where you really love how you look. Email me to schedule your headshot session!

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