How To Pose For A Professional Headshot

best headshot pose

There are two things most people ask about before a headshot photoshoot. The first one is about what to wear and the second one is how to pose. Aside from looking neat and sleek, posing is a form of body language that affects one’s overall look in photos. A good pose shows confidence and natural ease. Many people, however, look awkward, stiff, and uneasy in their headshots, which isn’t good because it portrays lack of confidence. So how do you make good headshot poses? Use this guide to help you know how to pose for a professional headshot.


What you should know about headshot poses


You will appreciate the importance of pose once you understand how powerful it actually is. 

The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” couldn’t be truer when it comes to headshots. A pose is a coded message of body language that speaks directly to your brain. 

The way you look, dress, and how you move (or pose in the case of photos) speaks volumes, sometimes even more than words could convey. If you want your headshot to portray you brand and professional value, authority, and power, then you should look your best in your photos. 

Here are some tips to look best on your headshots. 


Posture is everything

A good pose starts with posture. Straighten your back and relax your shoulders back. Be natural though, or you will look stiff. Do not slouch your shoulders or hunch your back.

In many cases, photographers will scream “shoulders!” at their models, especially when they see clients looking stiff and tense. This tension shows in the face and all over the body language. 

The key to look natural in your photos is to feel as relaxed as possible, regardless of how unnatural the position may feel. 


Know your best angle

Aside from posture, knowing your best angle can make or break your headshot. Most people have flattering and unflattering angles. This is why you cannot just simply copy what other people do in their headshots. The way to find out your best angle is to learn to see yourself from other people’s perspective. This may require a lot of trial and error to see your photos objectively. Do not fixate on certain features that you don’t like about your body and face, chances are, most people don’t mind it. 

How to Pose for Professional Headshots


Your chin must be at the right spot, not too high, not too low. Keeping your chin at the right level will help highlight both your face and neck. Dropping your chin too low and you will risk having a double chin. You also don’t want people to see your nostrils, so do not lift your chin too high.


Lure them with your eyes

The eyes are the focal point of headshots. A good headshot lures people to the eyes. So learn how to use your eyes and draw the observer in. 

Practice different expressions with your eyes and determine the message you want to convey. If you want to look fun, friendly, and approachable, then have a humorous twinkle. Piercing look will give people a serious and powerful impression of you. You can never go wrong with a soft gaze and deep contemplation. 

You can also play with different expressions using your eyes to give you a variety of looks, even when using the same orientation of your face towards the camera. The human mind is visually calibrated to pay attention to the eyes, so use them to your advantage. Know the subtleties of different types of expressions. 


Do not stand straight to the camera

Standing straight to the camera will make your photo look like a mug shot. Rather, tilt your body a little bit and emphasize your width. Stand 45 degrees and shift your weight to your back foot. You can lean slightly forward from the waist to look slimmer. 


Lean on something

Headshots don’t always have to be standing in the middle of the studio (room, or parking lot). By leaning on something, say a railing, door frame, tabletop, or fence can make you look comfortable and relaxed. Make sure you just lean slightly, do not overdo it as this will make you hunch your shoulders and back forward. 


Smile with your eyes

Fact – people are attracted to smiles. Smiling makes you look friendly, approachable, and fun. It also helps in gaining people’s trust and confidence. 

A genuine smile extends from lips to the eyes. To get a genuinely happy smile, think of something that makes you happy. Create that emotion in your head, visualize a happy moment or remember something or someone that made you smile. 

best headshot pose ideas

Final Tip

The best way to look good in your headshots is to feel comfortable on your own skin. Try natural poses and have fun with it. Relax and enjoy the photo shoot! 

what makes a good headshot
Prev Good Headshots vs. Bad Headshots
Next Tips for Better Headshots, According To a Top Acting Coach
what does a headshot look like

Leave a comment

Call us now