How To Take Great Headshots in Photography

For television and film actors, models and theater performers, a great headshot can be instrumental in landing that new role. While there are many professional services that you can avail of to have a great headshot taken, you might want to find a way to do it yourself.  Here is how.

  • Everyone has a good side.  Have you ever noticed that certain celebrities stick to a specific angle when their picture is taken?  Or noticed how some actors always have pictures of them that look the same, even if it was done by different photographers?  That is because people have a “good” side that looks more photogenic and appealing.  Try to identify your own good side by spending a day taking numerous head-on photos of yourself.  Try angling your face in different ways, with full smiles and partial smiles.  Afterwards, compare the many photos you took and see which ones tends to appear the most appealing.  These should give you a clear indication of your good side.
  • Practice favoring this side when photos are taken.   Practice as well variations on how you smile, whether having your teeth fully visible or whether you keep your mouth closed.  Also try the tricks of smiling “with your eyes” and pushing your tongue against your upper palate to see if they make a difference.  Some would swear that there is a discernable difference when both are done.
  • Be aware of the tendency of a double-chin forming if you hold your head too low.  Contrast this with holding your head too high to the extent the camera is now peeking into your nostrils.  Find the best balance to maintain.   Also be aware of the unique marks or features that are present on your face.  Moles, dimples and scars can be interesting features that further reflect your character.  Be sure to consider carefully if you want the photo to be retouched to reduce such blemishes.  A blemish after all might be seen more as a beauty mark by others.
  • Focus the camera correctly. Once the camera is set on a tripod, focus the camera by zooming into the subject’s eyes and then adjusting it manually for a good crisp focus, and then zoom back out to the comfortable level you plan to have the shot taken.  This will also reduce the possibility of barrel distortion.  

Lastly, if you are to be the subject of the photo shoot, be sure to schedule any facials, skin treatments, haircuts and the like to be done a week before the photo shoot itself.  This gives you enough time to have any last minute adjustments made if necessary, as well as time for your skin and hair to “grow into” the adjustments to look less recently fixed or done.  You want your headshot to look natural after all.  Avoid scheduling drastic hair styling changes, or new skin treatments within a week or two of the photo shoot.   If you set them too soon, you might find yourself stuck with a bad haircut or an unfavorable skin reaction to the treatment on the day of the pictorial itself.    Beauty should look effortless, even if it requires proper planning in real life.


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