Lifestyle Photographer Based in San Francisco, California.

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  • Meg Stone

Headshot Photography Tips



Recently, I’ve had a number of large headshot jobs fall into my lap. I love lifestyle headshots for business owners, but there is also a time + a place for the traditional headshot so I wanted to share some of my faves from past products as well as some tips for that perfect shot.

Headshot tips-

1. Have your subject stand at an angle. It’s more flattering for everyone! Straight onto the camera makes everyone look broad.

But have your subjects face turned directly toward you. You want the viewer to be able to see the person’s face clearly, it helps people feel like they know you. Literally putting a face to the name.

2. Play with eye contact. Definitely make sure to get a majority of shots with direct eye contact to the camera. Again, this makes people feel like they know you and it gives the impression that you aren’t hiding anything (weird, but true. You look the most trustworthy when you are looking directly to the camera).

However, I do like to get a few shots with the subject looking away or down. Sometimes folks have a need for a slightly less formal shot.

For example I was shooting headshots for the President of a tech company and we were taking some shots for the website of a board she was joining. Almost all of the other members had shots of them looking to the side or looking off in the distance, just offset from the camera.

3. Give them something to do with their hands. Even if you’re not getting their hands in a shot, if you give them some direction with their hands it will make your client feel more comfortable. Everyone hates standing straight with their hands just lingering awkwardly.

An easy way is to tell them to put their hands in their pocket. If they don’t have pockets, have them touch their jacket, cross their arms, or just bend at the elbow + bring their hands together.

4. Relaxed Shoulders. Always verbally tell your clients to relax their shoulders and ask them to roll their shoulders down their back. Basically everyone will tense up slightly when first getting in front of the camera. Even if they think they are relaxed, they aren’t. So VERBALLY say this to each person stepping in front of the camera.

5. Chin Forward + Down. Next verbal cue is to ask them to bring their chin forward + down. Most people will feel like this is sooo awkward at first, but really it’s not and it’s the most flattering angle for literally everyone. This elongates the neck, makes the eyes the focus of your shot and helps with any double chin concerns.