When it comes to posing and composing your subject for a standard portrait headshot, getting the look you want requires trying various poses depending on their personality and the reason for the headshot. Here’s a few tips I use as part of every headshot session I shoot.
1.One super pet peeve of mine is missing body parts. I personally dislike headshots in which your subject is missing an ear. They have two ears, your doing a “HEAD” shot, make sure you have angled their head so you can see both ears in the shot.
2. Its much more appealing seeing the entire head as well. Often model shots can have part of the head cut off at the top. This is not the case for with a corporate or actor’s headshot.
3. You also need to make sure the arms create some sort of space between the arm and the body unless your subject is folding their arms. A power headshot can look great with your subject looking straight on at the camera and arms folded. However, most headshots won’t look great with arms folded and you will need to create some space between the arms and the body. You can achieve this by having them have their hands on their hips, thumbs in front pockets or back pockets. Try various ways that work the best for your subject.
4. Finally, advise your subject to tighten their core. By having them tighten that core stomach muscle it automatically forces great posture in a very natural way. There is an unspoken authentic power that comes from strengthening that core muscle. That power will come through in the images.
Bottom line: Guidelines help make your headshots go from Good to Outstanding. It’s okay to break the rules as long as they enhance the story of the person you are trying to tell. Get to know your subject, find that power in who they are and it will help to utilize a few technical skills along the way.