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The Dos and Don’ts of Headshot Posing

Choosing the right pose is key when taking professional headshots. A good photographer will help you achieve a natural, approachable look.

Relax your jaw and mouth to avoid a forced or unnatural smile. Having a relaxed mouth will also add depth and dimension to your face. The hand-on-chin pose can convey a sense of confidence and engagement.

Don’t Overdo It

If your subject tries to do too much with their pose, it will look unnatural and inauthentic. They’ll also give off the impression that they are nervous or lack confidence, which isn’t what you want in a professional headshot. It’s also important to remember that a headshot only includes your upper body and shoulders, so make sure to keep that in mind when posing.

While it’s important to listen to your photographer’s direction, it’s equally as important to let your personality shine through in the photos. Your personality is what will attract clients to work with you, so make sure it comes through in your poses!

If you’re not sure what looks good, browse through websites or social media platforms in your industry for examples of headshots that represent the image you want to convey. This will help your photographer understand your aesthetic and how to best capture it. Moreover, you can also turn a selfie into a headshot using AI.

As with all things in photography, subtle retouching is important, but too much will take away from your headshots’ authenticity. It’s easy to overdo it with eye brightening, retouching the skin, or other features that can take away from your subject’s natural beauty.

Lastly, remember that it’s fine to bring more than one outfit to your photo session. This will allow you to try out different styles until you find the perfect fit. Just be sure that the outfit you choose matches your headshot pose and is appropriate for the type of job you’re seeking. You may even find that an outfit you didn’t think would work ends up being your favorite! A good professional photographer will be understanding of this and will provide a range of options that you can choose from.

Don’t Be Confident

While confidence is important, being too confident can come across as cocky and unapproachable. This is especially true when photographing a headshot, where it’s critical to convey approachability and friendliness. Besides smiling, the other way to convey this is through body language. For example, crossing your arms can make you look closed off and defensive, while leaning slightly forward gives the impression that you are interested and engaged.

One of the most important things to remember when posing for a headshot is that it’s all about small changes – the slight tilt of the head, the subtle lean forward, the gentle but intriguing smile. Generally speaking, these little adjustments will have the biggest impact on how your photos turn out.

This is also why it’s so important to practice your expressions and stance before your photo session. Doing so will help you feel more comfortable and relaxed, and this in turn will be reflected in your photos.

As mentioned above, it’s also important to wear the right attire when taking a headshot. For example, baggy clothing can be distracting and will draw the attention away from your face. If you’re unsure what type of outfit to wear, try consulting with friends whose style you like or popping into your favorite clothing store for advice.

One other thing to avoid is wearing too much jewelry. This can also detract from your face and may appear too gaudy or overwhelming. In addition, wearing branded jewelry can potentially cause issues when it comes time to use these images in a professional setting. For example, if you’re a real estate agent, you might not want to include any logos in your headshots since they could be viewed as advertising for another company.

Don’t Forget Your Eyes

Your eyes are an important part of your headshot. They offer a glimpse into your personality and should be engaging. Using a natural smile can help make your eyes look inviting. Try to avoid a forced smile, as it can appear fake and unconvincing. Instead, rehearse your smile in front of the mirror before your session and keep it in mind during your shoot.

Your hands are also something to keep in mind when photographing a headshot. While they may not be visible in your finished headshot, tensing up your shoulders or fists can cause tension in your face and affect the quality of your headshot. Instead, try keeping your arms loose and your hands relaxed to create an approachable pose.

If you’re sitting for your headshot, try to avoid leaning too much. This can encourage your shoulders to slouch and close up which can make you appear tired or bored. Instead, sit up straight and keep your shoulders back to create a flattering pose for your headshot.

Lastly, don’t forget to pay attention to your hair and accessories. For a professional headshot, you should aim to wear your hair in a style that you typically use. If you want to experiment with a new style, do so before your photoshoot so that you have enough time to get it right on the day of your shot.

You should also make sure to wear clothes that complement your skin tone and fit well. Baggy clothing can make you look sloppy or heavier than you actually are, so it’s best to stick with well-fitting pieces that will flatter your figure.

Don’t Overcompensate

A great headshot is the foundation of any professional’s look. It’s a photo that shows the client in their most authentic form and is meant to showcase them and their personality. It is a photo that needs to be taken seriously and it’s important for the model not to overdo it with poses that are too cheesy or silly.

This is especially true when it comes to the hands, which can be difficult for some models to figure out how to pose. Keeping them open can help to create an approachable, friendly image, but they should be relaxed and not stiff. Using them to gesture or hold something can be more effective than crossing them, as it gives the impression of a natural motion that is easy for the viewer to imagine themselves doing in real life.

It can also be a good idea to have them put their hands in their pockets, as this is an often overlooked pose that can make the subject look approachable and friendly. It can be a bit of a challenge to get the right hand position, as some hands can seem a bit too casual and not appropriate for the image being created, but a little trial and error can go a long way towards finding a hand that looks perfect for the headshot.

It’s also a good idea to have the model try different facial expressions and body positions before the actual shoot, so that they know what they are looking for and can be sure to find their most flattering angles. This can be particularly helpful if they bring a trusted friend with them to the session. Having someone to provide emotional support can be a big benefit and will encourage the model to be their most natural self in front of the camera.

Don’t Overthink

During headshot photo sessions, it’s important for clients to trust their photographer & let go. They should not overthink every pose because it will only lead to stiff, unnatural photos. It’s also a good idea for clients to bring a trusted friend with them to their shoots to provide emotional support. This will help them relax and become their most authentic self in front of the camera.

It’s also important for clients to wear clothes that are neutral in color and not too distracting. This will draw attention away from their clothing and focus on their face. It’s also a good idea to avoid patterns or large prints, as they can look too busy against a background.

Tension in your shoulders will translate to tension in your face, so it’s important to stay mindful of your posture during a headshot session. This means keeping your back straight and not slouching forward. Leaning against something can be a great way to relax your body while keeping your spine straight. However, it’s important to not lean too far as this can cause your shoulders to hunch up close to your ears which will make you look stiff & rigid.

When posing for a headshot, it’s a good idea to place your hands in your pockets. This will slim your appearance & give you a more approachable look. Alternatively, you can also rest your hand on your chin to add a touch of sophistication. Lastly, it’s a good idea to keep your gaze relaxed & not staring down at the ground. This will show confidence & poise and will be more welcoming to potential customers. Lastly, it’s a great idea to smile if you can but don’t worry if you’re not naturally smiling.