How to look good in headshots


Worried you’re not photogenic?

At our first meeting, it’s common for clients to say they don’t like how they look in pictures. They might also say they dislike being in front of a camera. Does this sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. You want to look good in your headshots, but previous experiences may have left you feeling apprehensive.

We do tend to be our own worst critic, but I’ve also learned that most of the time when people say they’re unhappy with headshots they’ve had in the past, it’s because their expression looks forced and unnatural. A common complaint is that they don’t look like themself, or their smile looks fake.

Forced facial expressions can make you look like a different person, someone you don’t recognize. Definitely not the look you want. Having this experience can make you lose confidence in your ability to take a professional photo you’ll be proud to share. You might feel you’re not capable of looking good in a professional photo.

To this I say… everyone CAN have a knockout headshot. It comes down to two things – Your ability to relax, and the skill of the photographer to give proper direction.


1. Letting your guard down

There’s a certain tightness in the face of a person who is experiencing tension. The facial expression and body language come across as stiff rather than spontaneous. To avoid this, we ease you into the experience before ever stepping in front of the camera.

We’ll get started by talking through a series of questions to find out more about you, your goals, and your preferences. For example, after asking, a client might admit they have a preferred side of the face they want to feature. We might also determine if there’s anything you’d like to accentuate or minimize, or if there’s a specific way you like to smile (or not smile). These intake questions allow us to get to know you better. Equally as important, it breaks the ice, and gives you a chance to settle in. I’ll also assure you that as the session moves along, we’ll stop a few times to review images to make sure you like what you are seeing and address any areas that need adjustment. When we’ve established trust and you’re more relaxed, we can move to the next step.


2. Expression coaching

Your expression is the most powerful element to capturing a winning headshot. It’s what draws people in. It’s up to the photographer to direct you in how to pose and how to look. Expert headshot photographers instruct a client in how to create a posture of confidence and approachability. This involves knowing how to use manipulate the eyes, forehead, and mouth. Together, we’ll bring out a look that executes the vision we’ve discussed during the intake. We’ll also keep the conversation flowing throughout, so you enjoy the experience and forget about the camera between us. As your expression coach, I’ll guide you to dynamic images where you look your best.

If you’ve had an unsuccessful headshot experience in the past and think it’s because you’re not photogenic, I encourage you to let me change your mind. You can feel confident and at ease when being photographed. You CAN look good in headshots!

Get in touch here to discuss how I can show YOU how to look good in headshots and elevate your online image.