In this article, I discuss five of my favorite techniques, including basic options for beginners as well as more advanced ideas pertaining to experienced headshot photographers. I also share a handful of my favorite headshot posing tips just in case you require a little extra guidance.
By the time you’re accomplished, you’ll have a set of poses you can use in your own sessions. Memorize all of them, print them out, or perhaps store them on your mobile phone – that way, if you’re inside a photoshoot and you’re unable to direct your customer, you can whip out my
Headshot posing basics: getting started
Every great headshot present starts with the same basic characteristics.
First, ask your subject to bring their shoulders back and push out their chest.
Then direct your subject to lean along with their forehead. In other words, they ought to always keep their forehead inclined ever so slightly toward the particular lens (while pushing their own face slightly forward). Remember that the forehead lean can be subtle, and you should take care to ensure it looks natural.
Check out the two images below:
For the left-hand image, We asked my subject to maintain her head straight. As well as for the right-hand image, I actually asked my subject to the actual forehead lean. Can you view the difference? The right-hand chance is slightly more engaging, a lot more dynamic, and features additional depth.
Note that you’ll almost always need to alter the subject after they’ve bent their forehead. Most people tend to lean in too far or even lower their chin too much, so ask them to make small adjustments until you find an ideal angle.
After that continue one with one of these professional poses:
one Crossed arms
This first pose comes from traditional headshots, and it is super easy to pull off: the crossed-arms pose.
Of course , it’s hardly an original pose, but simply by changing location, asking the topic to add a slight lean, and loosening up the tightness in the crossed arms, this pose can feel surprisingly contemporary. Plus, sometimes a classic headshot is what the client wants!
In the example beneath, the subject is leaning somewhat back into the brick wall structure while crossing his arms and maintaining an upright posture. When asking ladies to do this pose, I like to encourage them to cross their arms freely; otherwise, the shot may feel quite severe and cold. Men have a bit more room to keep the arms limited, but be sure to avoid that will same severity.
You can always use the location to create different moods. For instance, the shot below relies on the well-lit location to add warmth:
Since the subject is a girl, I asked her to include a slight hip tilt and to drop the shoulder nearest to the camera. My goal has been to soften up the crossed-arms pose, which can sometimes really feel too harsh.
2 . The lean
Many clients want a lifestyle feel in their headshots – and an easy way to get this more relaxed, informal look would be to take the subject outside and ask them to lean against a wall.
For one, a simple lean against a wall or railing can make the shot feel so much more natural than a rigid-backed image. And the wall may add context to the shot, plus the wall texture may inject a bit of character in an otherwise-bland image.
In the example below, the subject is leaning against the wall. The texture of the wall adds interest, and the lean softens the present for a natural look. We didn’t want the chance to look too informal – the subject is a lawyer – so the client stuck with the suit jacket, which contrasted nicely against the wall.
Note: However the subject should lean, it’s still important for them to keep good posture. Ask them to lean with their bottom half whilst preventing their entire back again from slouching into the walls. Alternatively, they can gently slim with one shoulder to maintain balance while keeping their own posture upright.
If the subject starts to look a bit stiff, have them “shake it out, ” take a deep breath, and settle back to the pose. Sometimes, they just need a break from all of the posing!
The following is another example of a bending headshot pose:
In this case, the subject wished to look casual – while also coming off since polished and professional. The subject leaned one arm in the railing for a casual feeling, but the nice clothes and the upright posture kept the shot relatively businesslike.
(In this particular case, the crossed-arms present would have created an image that was too formal for the client’s needs, but the lean was perfect. )
3. The upright sit down
Sitting stances work well for headshots, and also you actually have a few options to work alongside. For instance, you can ask your subject to sit on a set of stairs with their hands joined more than their knees:
Ideally, the knees end up slightly higher than the hips, which can easily occur on stairs. In the example above, the subject is sitting down on steps, loosely sleeping her hands over her knees while still maintaining her posture upright (very important! ). If you’re not really careful, a sitting create can come off as well casual – but the relaxing hands and the upright posture help to avoid such an problem.
Alternatively, you are able to ask your subject to position themselves symmetrical to the camera before leaning slightly forward, with their legs apart and their hands folded together with each other. This is a hugely popular pose for men, and it works specifically well for medium-formal shoots.
I also want to use sitting poses whenever using multiple headshot subjects. For this next example, I inquired the subjects to take a seat on different stairs (my objective here was primarily in order to balance out their height variations! ):
In the photo above, the subject on the top step will be leaning slightly on the railing, which helps show a bit more of his torso. His arm is casually relaxing over his leg (similar to the popular male pose I just discussed). The front issue is leaning back and in order to his left, helping to unify the two subjects. Since both of these men are business partners, it was important to maintain a sense of friendship in their poses.
4. The walking issue
I love walking headshot poses, and here’s why:
- It loosens up the subject’s body if they are a little stiff in front of the camera.
- It encourages an even more natural expression because you may chat with them as they stroll.
- It creates a feeling of movement that translates into a deeper connection with the viewers.
As well as, walking headshots are easy to do, especially outdoors. Just find a nice background, take a couple of steps back from your subject, and ask them to walk towards you. As they go, fireplace off a series of shots (your camera’s burst mode is a good idea here, but isn’t essential).
Since you don’t have as much control over the setting with a walking subject – they’ll be constantly relocating, after all – I’d suggest using a longer lens and also a wide aperture to blur out any distracting history elements.
So that as always, encourage your subject to maintain good posture whilst walking (and if possible, in order to lean their forehead forwards! ).
5. Do an action pose
This is where modern headshots obtain fun.
You are photographing a subject, often for business – and you have a chance to express something about what they actually and/or what their personality is like.
If they make a product, keep these things show you a product (and click a photo! ). If they do some sort of training, ask them to execute a bit of what they do. If they have a hobby, ask them to bring out some equipment, get dressed in uniform, and so forth.
With this kind of fluid posing technique, it isn’t really so much about giving detailed directions; instead, just let the subject do their thing. Keep your camera at the ready, and capture some headshots full of personality.
For the photos below, I gave my subjects free rein to do the actual wanted. I then snapped several frames, as the final pictures needed to capture movement plus activity, in addition feature flattering expressions.
The best headshot presents: final words
Hopefully, you now have a few poses you can use for your next photoshoot! Of course , always make sure the pose you use is a good suit for the interests of the customer (and don’t use these posing ideas substitutes for getting to know your customer, either! ).
Now over to you:
Which of those headshot poses is your favorite? Which do you plan to use? Share your thoughts in the remarks below!