Posing for a Headshot

Professional headshots are used for all kinds of reason, from putting together a portfolio for modeling/acting to corporate headshots that appear on website or company promotional material. Good headshots are among some of the hardest photographs to take. Posing for a headshot can make your subject feel uncomfortable and self-conscious.  What separates a mediocre portrait photographer from a great one is their ability to make the client feel comfortable enough to take a good picture.  Let’s look at how you can make that happen.

Let them Know Ahead of Time What to Expect

When people know what to expect ahead of time they are far less nervous when the time comes to get their pictures taken.  Some people are incredibly uncomfortable in front of the camera at the best of times.  You can run through your process and what you need from the client, it makes the shoot go easier when you are both prepared.  Here is an idea of what you can tell your clients.

Get to Know Your Subject

When your client comes through your door take the time to get to know them.  You can take five minutes of your session to ask about their day, their work, their family or anything else.  Take the time to explore the reason they are there to get a headshot done, is it for a portfolio or corporate headshots.  Listen to what they have to say and what they need before you pick up your camera.  Watch their body language so you can take cues on when they relax and when they are getting nervous.  Establishing some rapport with your client will help you take more natural photos.

Helping them Pose

For someone that hasn’t done extensive modeling then posing can seem the most unnatural thing in the world and it that is the time that your client starts getting uncomfortable.  Keep talking to them as you take pictures to help make them feel at ease.  Depending on the style of headshot you are taking your client may be sitting or standing.  Portfolio pictures give you a bit more leeway for creativity than corporate headshots.  Corporate headshots are usually done in the studio with the client sitting down.

The key to getting a good portrait or headshot is making your client feel comfortable and relaxed.  Once your client feels comfortable with you then you can grab the perfect headshot both you and your client can be proud of.

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