Welcome to our first Helpful Tip Tuesday!!
Each installment of this series will give helpful tips from posing, outfit choice, product differences and more to help you have the absolute best session possible. In this month’s Helpful Tip Tuesday we will be discussing posing as well as some handy tricks for taking great photos on your smartphone. It has been said that your head shot is your virtual handshake to a potential employer or client. People are visual learners by nature so your head shot/ profile photo is the very first impression made with potential clients or employers. Your personal social media profile photo can be anything you want but I always recommend a professional head shot for any professional social media sites like LinkedIn or your website. Let’s start with posing. Now I could write a whole post about posing but let’s start with a few basics.
1. Ballerina Neck -
My first recommendation is ‘Ballerina Neck’. Whenever I have a client sit down for a head shot, the first thing I always say is “Sit on the edge on your seat.” This will automatically straighten your back and it also visually slims your legs since they are now pointing more toward the ground. Once you’re on the edge of your seat, push your shoulders towards the floor and lift your forehead up towards the ceiling. Don’t point your forehead towards the ceiling or else we’ll be looking up your nose! Simply lift your head towards the ceiling and push your shoulders down. This will instantly elongate your neck into what I call “Ballerina Neck”. In the first photo you can see I sat on the stool not near the edge and didn’t straighten my back. Now look at the second image, it looks like I instantly lost at least 5lbs!
2. The 45 -
This is the one posing trick that will be your best friend! Keep “The 45″ in your pocket when you are out with friends and they want to take a group photo or when you find yourself on the red carpet in a fabulous evening gown, which could happen right? The 45 is a standing pose tip but can also be applied to sitting in a group pose. The 45 is simply this, always try to angle your body so you are 45 degrees towards the camera. Take this first photo for example, placing my hands on my hips to create separation (we’ll get to that in a second) I look like the new linebacker for the New England Patriots. There is a reason why Superman stands this way. He wants to appear large and masculine. Not exactly something I want to portray in my sassy profile photo. In the second photo, I simply angled my body 45 degrees to the camera and voila!
3. Give me some space -
Space is key when you are trying to slim your body in a photo. Letting your arms hang by your side visually enlarges your body. Whenever possible, create space in your pose by placing a hand on your hip or even behind you in a seated pose. Look at the first photo, leaving my arms hanging down by my side even while using “Ballerina Neck” creates extra width around my torso and hips. Not cool. In the second photo, I created visual space around my torso by simply placing my hands on my hips. Now let’s try this trick in a seated position. In the third photo you can see the added visual weight my arms are adding to my torso. Now let’s look at the fourth photo. See that visual space I created by placing my hand behind me?
4. High not Low
Speaking of sitting poses, for the best possible angle always have your photographer take your photo from above you, not at your eye level and never from below your eye level. When your photographer takes your photo from slightly above you, it visually slims your face and puts more focus on your eyes versus your nose giving you a flattering youthful look. When your photo is taken at eye level or slightly below, the majority of the focus of your photo will be on your nose or worse your forehead. Also when your photo is taken straight on in this way, any wrinkles or shadows under the eyes will be more prominent too. Let’s look at my first photo (these are without makeup so be gentle!), I naturally have super dark circles under my eyes so when my photo is taken straight on, it looks like I haven’t slept in years. Which is sort of true since I have 2 small kids! Now let’s look at the second photo, again with no makeup, taken at a higher angle. See the instant difference in my under eye circles? See the emphasis this angle puts on my eyes? This is the look we want to achieve with your head shot/profile photo.
5. Session Tips -
This is not a pose but a few helpful tips to help you have the best head shot session possible.
- Professional hair and makeup application. I always recommend to have your hair and makeup styled by a professional. Remember this is your first impression so make it a great one! If you would like to style your own hair and makeup, we have a board filled with hair and makeup tips on our Pinterest page here.
- Outfit selection – Bring at least 2-3 outfit choices with you to your appointment. Be sure to try your outfit choices on before your appointment so you know everything fits correctly. Here’s a little tip – match your top to your eye color if you have light colored eyes or wear a neutral color for dark eyes. We have multiple boards on our Pinterest page here to help you with your outfit selection.
- Bring a lint roller, extra comb, a small makeup bag (for touch ups between outfit changes) and a small bottle of hairspray to tame fly away hairs.
- And the last tip is… Have Fun!! Smile with your eyes to show your awesome personality!!
So there it is, 5 tips to help you achieve the best head shot/profile photo possible! Stay tuned for next month when we discuss how to prepare your children for their photo session!
Have you ever been at a get together with friends and wanted to take a group photo? You give your phone to a well meaning friend who immediately places all of you in front of a window. You get your phone back and you’re disappointed. You and your friends are super shadowy while the window behind you is perfectly exposed. This is an easy problem to fix on your phone but first let’s explain why that happens in the first place. When you place the light behind your subject in a photo, you are “back lighting” your subject. When done correctly, this technique can produce some gorgeous results. Unfortunately most phones or point and shoot cameras can not expose for back lighting on Auto mode. So what can we do? Here’s a little trick that can improve your iPhone photos while taking the photo on your phone. When your subject is in front of a brightly lit window or large area of bright sky, select the darkest area of the photo on your phone screen to tell your phone to expose for this area. By doing this, you are telling your phone to “expose for the shadows” which will instantly brighten your photo. See in the first photo of my daughter, she is totally shadowy while the sky behind her is perfectly exposed? Now let’s tell the camera to expose for the dark lettering on her shirt. It instantly brightens the photo by exposing for the shadows.
I hope you enjoyed our first installment of Helpful Tip Tuesday! Sign up for our newsletter by entering your email to right to be sure you don’t miss our next installment, ‘Preparing your child for their portrait session’!