How to Pose for A Professional Headshot


Everyone needs headshots these days for one medium or another. Whether it’s for a business website, blog, online profile, marketing flyer, a great headshot is bound to make a lasting impression. However photography sessions can be a little expensive, so it’s important that you go into your session prepared so that you come out with as many viable proofs as possible. Lucky for you, there are specific things that you can do on the day that will guarantee you more success.

Aside from hiring a top-notch photographer, you’ll want to prepare yourself for the actual posing that happens during a headshot session. Some photographers are big on directing, but others are less hands on. Regardless, it’s best to practice and be prepared.

5 Tips on how to pose for your headshots

  1. Practice Facial Expressions

Rehearse a variety of smiles—a big open smile showcasing your pearly whites, a three-quarter smile, half smile, and a closed-mouth smile. It may seem a bit much, but by practicing in the mirror or using your camera phone, you can see which type of smile best suites you. Try to make your smile authentic, but careful not to squint your eyes too much and avoid excessive wrinkling. Depending on what you’ll be using the headshot for, will play into how serious or friendly you’ll want to come across.

  1. Speak with your Eyes

Regardless of your facial expression, always communicate with your eyes. Your eyes are a window to your personality and must be active and engaging in every single photo. Avoid squinting or opening your eyes too widely.

  1. Posture

Leaning forward has a slimming effect on camera. You always want a straight back, as good posture indicates confidence.  Avoid the “straight to camera” body position. This comes across as unnatural and staged. Lean a little bit of your weight on one foot or the other, just slightly. You never want to be 100 percent facing the camera, dead on. You want to feel relaxed and natural in your body posture. To avoid looking tense, practice some light stretching or yoga in the morning to get loose. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and that you are breathing from your diaphragm to avoid any stiffness. Be relaxed and have fun!

  1. Chin Out

Be cautious of your chin placement. If the camera is at eye level, it can appear as if you have a double chin. Try this exercise if you are asked to lower your chin—pretend you are holding a tennis ball under your chin. This creates a space between your chin and neck, adding some contrast between the two. However don’t strain and try to stay relaxed. It may feel a little unnatural but it will certainly convey well in your headshots.

  1. Practice hand placement.

In case your hands or arms will be showing in a few headshots or some three-quarter shots, be sure that you are placing your hands appropriately. Never make fists with your hands, even if they are on your waist. That can look really staged and unnatural.

If your hands are above your waist, on your waist or upper hips, your fingers shout be directed upwards, and your hands should break at the wrists. If your hands are below your waist, your fingers should be directed downwards. If placing your hands in your pockets, have at least one finger on each hand out. Crossed arms are popular pose, but be sure not to keep it too tight. A little loose and you’ll appear more relaxed.

Last but certainly not least, hire an experienced professional headshot photographer. They are professionally trained with equipment, lighting, composition, and know how to direct you to get the best possible headshots for your use.

Albert Roberts

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