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How To Pose For Your Headshots

advice | branding | photography

I know I talk about branding photography in its entirety quite a lot, and I always say it’s more than just a headshot. But, even I’ll agree that headshots have their place! Every branding shoot I do, I always include headshots as part of the deal. That’s because showing off your brand is as much about letting people see who you are as what you do. Posing for headshots doesn’t always come naturally to people, though. So here’s my little guide to show you how to pose for your headshots. 

#1: Take a big breath and relax

The thing about nerves is they make you tense up. And the tenser you are, the stiffer you get moving around having your photos taken. That tension shows in your photos.

If you feel yourself starting to tense up, stop for a moment, take a big breath and shake out your shoulders and arms. Let your muscles relax. I promise you’ll look so much more natural and confident in your photographs.

pose for headshots
posing for headshots
posing for headshots

#2: Remember posture

When I was a teenager, my Mum had this habit of walking up behind me, grabbing my shoulders and pulling them back. ‘Straighten your back,’ she’d tell me. What can I say, I was a slouchy kid.

But a straight back and good posture will make a world of difference to your photographs. Even if you’re not feeling confident, a straight back will give the impression of confidence.

And if shoulders back and a straight back is too hard to remember, think… Stomach in, boobs out! 

#3: Smile with your eyes

When it comes to great headshots, it is aaaaallll in the eyes. I’m tellin’ you.

When you’re having your photos taken, try not to think about the giant lens pointing at you, or the photographer behind it prompting you to smile. Instead, think of something that makes you super happy in your life. And then keep that in your mind while you’re having your photo taken.

We humans have a way of reading eyes. We just know. Keep that in mind, whether you’re smiling or not in your photos.

smiling with your eyes

#4: Chin down!

This one is mainly for the ladies. We all have a general fear of “the chins”, don’t we? But what I see immediately happening with most ladies when they get in front of the camera is that they pull their chin up. I know, I’ve done the same thing myself. The gut reaction is to try and remove the extra chin/s, so we automatically think chin up is the way to go.

Here’s a bombshell… it isn’t. Ladies, you need to keep your chin down. I’ll even prompt you to drop it lower than you’d expect during your shoot too. And I promise it won’t make you look like you have extra chins.

The thing to remember is, as you bring your chin down, you need to increase the space between the base of your skull and your shoulders. So, imagine a string pulling you up straight, running up spine, through your skull and out the top of your head. I guarantee remembering this simple technique will help you look natural and hey presto, no extra chins! 

#5: What to do with those hands

Hands are some of the most tricky things to manage when you’re having your photos taken. Even though they’ve been on the ends of your arms for your entire life, it seems the moment a camera appears they become awkward stumps. You don’t know where to place them.

My best advice is to use them. Grab a book, a journal and pen, your laptop, or your jacket… or SOMETHING. Just hold something and use your hands for their intended purpose. 

Another suggestion is to play with your hair. You could also pop your thumbs in your pockets or waistband or grab your coat lapel or something like that. 

And when you’re doing some straight-up headshots, remember to keep your fingers relaxed. Wiggle them and keep your hands loose and they’ll look far more natural in your photos.

how to pose for your headshots

#6: Use your environment

Don’t be afraid to use your environment. Lean, sit, walk through, touch. All these things are acceptable while having your headshots taken.

I love a wall or a tree and will always look for areas of the environment we can use, like a bench or seat or path. Feel free to suggest spots that you feel comfortable interacting with too.

how to pose for headshots

#7: Trust your photographer

It hardly seems worth mentioning because I’m sure you’ll do this anyway BUT… trust your photographer!

Believe me when I say we have lots of experience with people who don’t know how to pose or are nervous about having their photo taken. We’re also a pretty dab hand at suggesting poses if you’re not sure, so let us know if you need our help!

how to pose for headshots

Ultimately, it’s our job to give you photos that make you look and feel good about yourself. It definitely wouldn’t work to do anything else! So believe us when we say you look fantastic. We wouldn’t lie!
Ready for some gorgeous headshots as part of your branding photography session? Then get in touch and let’s get you booked in!