Let's face it, most of us don't like getting our photo taken, which includes headshots.
In fact, one of the most common things people tell me before a shoot is "I hate having my photo taken". A quick glance over most LinkedIn or Facebook profiles seems to confirm this too.
However, a great headshot is fantastic to have. Use it on social media, websites, emails, online profiles or simply print it as a gift for your mum's birthday.
The good news: is not hard to turn this around and both enjoy having a shoot and get great results. By the way, that's a spoiler right there. Enjoy the process and you're halfway home.
I've taken a huge number of portraits for people over the years and here are my 5 killer tips for better headshots.
#1 Be yourself
We're all super critical of ourselves in photos but the truth is, we are amazing, everyone of us.
Whilst we obsess over ever flaw in our features, guess what others are actually looking at - your eyes.
This is the first key to great headshots or portraits. Be yourself and emanate your essence from your eyes.
Be present at the shoot and let the world see you. You are worth it and we will all be better off for seeing you.
For us photographers, our job is to ensure the eyes are in focus and captured well. The eyes are the key.
#2 Wear something you love
Exactly what you wear will depend on the shot i.e. business vs casual, fun vs serious. Nevertheless, wearing a favorite item simply feels good and this is another key to great headshots.
How you feel will shine through loud and clear in the photo. Feel great about your outfit, hair, makeup, generally; and it will show. Just as the opposite is true as well
#3 Connect with your photographer
This connection is what helps you to be yourself and to feel great (i.e. tips 1 and 2).
As a photographer, one of my primary jobs (and joys), is to connect with my clients. This connection is what allows the photo magic to happen.
So as a portrait sitter, you can initiate and foster this connection too. Connection is always a two way street.
This is the next key to great headshots. Don't worry about the photos, instead work on having a great experience. If you do this, I guarantee the photos will be great.
#4 Push your head forward
This one might sound a bit weird, but stay with me, it works wonders for headshots.
Think of 'walking like an Egyptian'. The forehead pushes forward and you'll feel it in the back of your neck. Don't push up or down, just straight out. It's wonderful for the jawlines.
You don't have to go crazy with it, but this subtle movement will drastically improve your headshot photographs.
#5 Eyes, eyebrows and mouth
The eyes, eyebrows and mouth are the big 3 when it comes to expressing with your face.
We've already mentioned the eyes in tip #1, but consider just how much they can express : the slight squint, eyes wide, eyes shut. sadness, joy etc.
The eyebrows are more subtle but can really express too: the furrowed brow, raised in surprise, the one-up enquiry. Most don't consciously express with the eyebrows, but they can really help in a headshot.
Finally the mouth. Not only do we use it to express verbally, but it says a whole lot in photos without saying a word. Smiling, kissing, open, closed, to the side, teeth, no teeth etc etc.
The point here is to be aware of these 3 big expressers when getting your next headshot. Mix it up, play around with them, don't be afraid to try something, and most of all, use them to express who you are.
So there you have it, 5 killer tips for great headshots. So next time when getting your portrait taken, rather than dread it (as most of us do) remember these 5 tips and you might be surprised at the results.
To check out some of the headshots I've taken with people, check out this link: headshots
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