5. Take time to warm up.
Every professional athlete, successful artist and musician needs to warm up, and likely so do you. Almost everyone starts their session a bit unsure of what to do, overly aware of their hands and apologizing for being awkward. With a lighthearted attitude and the right music this often wears off within minutes, so allowing yourself a window of time to warm up is important to the process. A relaxed, comfortable environment is key to creating pictures that present the best version of yourself. Consider how long you plan to have this image be a part of your brand reputation (personal or business) and give the process time.
If posing guidance is important to you, make sure to ask your photographer how they approach this before you book. Some people respond well to posing specifics, and others are more comfortable getting into their own groove. Each body is unique and photographs differently, but there are tell-tale body language cues that work well for everyone.
Before your shoot, relax your jaw and soften your forehead. Let your shoulders drop comfortably and lift your chin. These positions all express comfort in “the real world” and will translate into a calm confidence in your photos. Notice how this feels in your body and remind yourself of these cues throughout the shoot. I often remind my clients of these as they move through posing sequences, and encourage them to act like they’re in a conversation with the camera. Relaxed body mechanics with an engaged conversational expression, sparkly eyes and a warm smile are the perfect recipe for a natural, engaging headshot.
6. Channel your inner superhero.
Whether it’s nailing your acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize or being interviewed about your rise to stardom, channeling that inner superhero creates the indefinable spark that will make your headshot stand out. Before your appointment, take a moment to reflect on your brand strategy. Are you representing a consulting firm where quick insight and direct communication is key? Are you a counselor who needs to reflect an intuitive, gentle listening ear? Whatever your brand’s superhero may be, embody it and embrace your first impression.
Sarah Doliver is a portrait photographer based in Austin, Texas. You can follow her on Instagram at @new_handshake or like her Facebook page to receive the latest updates on all things headshots.