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  • Aubrie Layne

40 Tips to get a Killer New Headshot

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

Have you noticed that the pandemic has made many people change careers, update their business branding with new images, pivot to a real estate career, fulfill a lifelong dream or simply update their LinkedIn profile? I can’t stress enough you need a killer headshot and hire some professionals to help you portray the message you want to share with the world.

Recently, many people are looking to hire me to do new headshot photos so I thought I would share my favorite tips for real estate professionals and the like to get a great headshot. Please leave me your comments and share your tips with my readers too!

Nowadays, the headshot photography industry is very developed. Headshot poses differ depending on the sphere you are going to use such images.

For instance, corporate headshots and those you send to creative entrepreneurs, realtors aren’t the same. Below, you will find useful tips on how to pose for a headshot

1. Making Sincere Smile

One of the best headshot tips to make your images appealing. Of course, you shouldn’t smile in every photo, but several such shots will be OK. If you aren’t in the mood to smile, calm down, and think about something pleasant.

Relax your muscles. The key moment here is to smile not only with your lips but with your whole body. It May seem difficult, but it is worth trying.

Image by Tracy Eason Photography, Makeup by Aubrie Layne

2. Standing Straight

When a photographer asks you to feel casual in front of a camera, the reaction is usually the opposite. But remember that your everyday pose, like the one when you are pondering over something or reading a book, brings the most natural headshots. Employers really like such photos.

3. Showing Emotions

Most people think that a headshot photo must feature a person with a serious, somehow stone face. Partially true, but at the shooting, feel free to demonstrate your emotions.

Think about the one that you don’t know how to show and try expressing it. Be open, ingenious, and enjoy the process.

Even if you doubt that such images can be sent to your potential boss, a skillful photographer may snap several really admirable images for you to remember this period of your life.

4. Making Emotionless Look

This is an absolutely neutral pose for a headshot picture. If you think that it is the same as everyday pose, you are mistaken.

For most people, they are different, with the latter is you acting naturally, while the former is controlling your muscles and suppressing emotions. Remember – neutral isn’t natural.

5. Tilting Your Head a Bit

This is an effective trick of portrait photography that you can use to get professional headshots. When your head is a bit tilted or the chin is slightly directed to either side – you will look more confident in a picture.

Mind that this is a “masculine pose”, bringing a sense of power to photos.

6. Bringing Face Forward & Pointing Chin Slightly Down

If you need professional headshot poses that help you look reliable and confident, use this one. Point the chin a bit down and push the face forward. This is a quick way to hide a double chin.

7. Keeping One Shoulder Away From the Camera at a Small Angle

To appear slimmer in a photo, just move either shoulder away from a camera at a small angle. This is a perfect idea for a female headshot and it also brings additional depth to a picture.

8. Being in Motion

Both studio and outdoor headshots may have some dynamics. For this, you need to move around – walk, jump, shake hands, adjust hair, etc.

This surely brings lively and realistic results. Besides, dynamic business headshot poses may help you reveal your true nature, so an employer will know what an active and enthusiastic person you are.

9. Changing Facial Expressions

A headshot photographer may encourage you to show a range of emotions. Don’t refuse! Once he/she names an emotion, show it.

Be it anger, happiness, fear, sadness, disgust – anything different from common will look truly captivating.

10. Turning Two-Thirds to the Camera-universally the most flattering for many body types.

11. Wearing Glasses

If you wear glasses, you need to be very mindful and attentive when learning how to pose for a professional headshot, since there may appear glares in pictures.

First, take a comfortable pose and then a photographer can adjust the lighting. The important moment is that the light mustn’t fall directly on your face. You can also use eyeglasses without the lenses to avoid glare. Try taking shots with and without your glasses too! TIP: Pick up a few pairs of modern stylish glasses in different styles. You can find non-prescription frames that may be fun for the shoot.

12. With Arms Crossed

One of the most popular business headshot poses. Doing it right, you can get an elegant, professional-looking image, but if you cross the arms too tightly, you will look introverted and unwilling to cooperate.

A woman posing this way, should half turn to the camera and lower a shoulder a bit.

13. Leaning Against a Wall

Being very simple, this pose results in a natural headshot photo. Stand near the wall and lean your lower body part or one shoulder against it.

Don’t choose patterned or colorful walls, something plain will work perfectly. If there is a landscape in the background, blur it.

14. Walking for More Open Photos

An example of dynamic headshot poses that make your body relaxed and facial expressions natural. Just remember to keep your posture straight.

15. Showing or Talking Something

Corporate portrait photography may be a fun thing to do, especially if a person can show his/her profession by movements. For example, if you are a choreographer, show some dance steps. Restaurateur or Mixologist? Try making a cocktail! Image by Julie Soefer, Makeup By Aubrie Layne Read More about Alba Here

16. Standing without Support

This is a standard pose for professional headshots, both suitable for outdoor and indoor shooting. Face the camera and relax all your facial muscles.

17. Looking Over the Shoulder

When you turn your back to the camera and look over the shoulder, a corporate headshot photographer can focus on your eyes and hair. Natural or studio surroundings will be a nice background for such images.

18. With Hands-On a Support

Place your hands on any support, e.g. a chair back, and look at the camera. This is a good idea both for a female and male headshot picture.

19. Playing with Hair

You can use this pose to add motion to your headshot photos. Play with your hair and keep your hands motionless for several seconds, so a photographer can capture this moment. The portrait will look really lively.

20. Looking Down

If you look down, the photo will acquire a thoughtful mood. This way, you can also focus attention on the hands. Shooting from above can help accentuate a natural make-up.

21. Putting Hands Near the Face

With your hands near the face, you can get a captivating headshot photo. Place fingers of one hand on the palm of the other and tilt the chin.

22. Capture the Symmetry

Try to frame your face with the help of your hands. Place your palms under the cheekbones with the fingers touching the face. Turn to the light source at a small angle and direct the face a bit down.

23. Framing the Face

Place one hand up to the chin, while the other is resting on top of the head, forming

a frame for the face.

24. Sitting Down

Both male and female headshots will look great if you sit side-on and rest elbows on the knees. Hands are underneath the chin.

As a result, they will create a nice shape if are shot side-on not flat. Check whether the fingers

Consider professional assistance of experienced specialists as they can perform picture retouching of the face at a high level.

Photo by Julie Soefer, Makeup by Aubrie Layne

25. Keeping Head Forward, Chin Down

Most headshot tips mention a strong jaw. It can accentuate the overall shape of the model’s face. However, there are no chances to see it when you are sitting naturally.

So push the head forward and chin down a little bit. As a result, the jawline will be extended while the taut skin around the face will reveal bone structure better.

26. Full Frontal Face (Close-Up)

This is one of the best headshot poses. It is both beautiful and simple. The main accent is on the eyes rather than on the body.

Mind that the worst thing in the photo is a pair of dead eyes. That’s why you need to think about something while modeling for your headshot.

27. Check Your Hair

I always recommend male clients to get a fresh haircut and ladies book a blowout the morning of your headshot. Bring a comb and some hairspray with you to smooth and style your look after you change into your outfit and before the photographer snaps the image.

28. Dress Neutrally

To benefit from headshot poses, pay special attention to the clothes. Stripes and patterns may look awful. It is better to choose neutral colors.

Don’t put on an outfit that looks too fashionable if it is not a part of your job. The best choice is the classical style. Avoid ruffles or busy prints and opt for textures.

29. Turn Shoulders

This is very simple but one of the most important professional headshot tips. If a person stands exactly in front of the camera, he/she looks bigger.

This is good if you are shooting a football player or director of a large company, but is not very suitable for taking model portraits. Turning shoulders, the model shows a more beautiful profile and looks slimmer.

30. Visit the Mirror Before the Photoshoot

Have a hand mirror near you during your photo session. This is a great way to make sure the hair stays in place and you are helping fix any movements in the hair, jewelry, or wrinkles in clothes. Look at yourself to make sure you are satisfied with your own reflection.

31. Take an Action Shot Too.

Often referred to as Lifestyle shots, it's a great way to capture a look into your profession and adds another layer to your headshot image collection.

32. Hire a Professional Makeup Artist

Sometimes you shouldn't DIY this one. Hiring professional hair and makeup artist will ensure you capture your most professional camera-ready look that really brings out the best in your look. If you are in Houston check out to book a makeup appointment.

BONUS TIP-Hire a Wardrobe Stylist

Often your favorite ensemble may look fantastic in real life but choosing the right outfits for the camera can be tricky for the untrained eye.

33.Use Props

34. Wear Heels

This may seem like a funny suggestion for a headshot photo, but the confidence, sex appeal and, posture may add a little something extra to your power pose.

35. Don't forget to bring extra accessories.

Always bring a few different types of accessories. Sometimes adding a drop earring or switching to a pearl might be the perfect addition to complementing your suit or neckline. Consider the necklines, color choices, belts, etc. Bring additional colors of camisoles for blazers and so on. Mixing and matching different color backgrounds can really make a fantastic photo.

36. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

The last-minute zit, the dark circles, the bra bulge, all can be removed in post-editing. The key is to really love your expression and the overall look. Ask your photographer if they will be offering retouching on the photos in your session. If they do not, you can always use to retouch it sometimes for as little as 5 bucks an image.

37. Don't Be Nervous

If you're nervous about being in front of the camera, have a little cocktail or class of champagne to loosen you up a bit and relax. A good photographer will always guide you to a great image and help you find your best angle. In a single headshot session it can often take 100 images to get the perfect one, so warm up and have fun with it!

38. Smize

It's literally smiling with your eyes. Practicing it beforehand in the mirror will help you. Make sure you keep your eyes open and bright with just a subtle smirk or grin.

39. Shine and Highlighters are Not Your Friends

Overly shiny skin or going overboard with the highlighter can make your skin look oily in photos. They can also make the skin difficult to retouch for the photographer. Use a simple HD Powder or translucent powder around the nostrils, ears, and T zone areas.

Is your professional career in a creative field or in a luxury retail market? Try adding some high fashion or statement accessories to your look to really make it pop. Use Pinterest or search other professional's images in your field as inspiration. What vibe are you trying to convey to your target audience? Also, take note of what exactly you are using the photos for so you capture the right image for your target audience. Interior designers tend to have fantastic headshots for inspiration.

I hope you find this guide helpful-and good luck! Share your thoughts below, or Pin it on Pinterest! For more tips, follow me on Instagram! -Aubrie Layne

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