portrait photographer

The Secret To A Great Headshot Pose: 'Chin Forward and Down'

Every client that sits on my posing stool at The Headshot Studio will hear the same phrase come from my mouth: "Can you put your chin forward and down for me?". After the initial confused expression from my client they start to understand what I mean once I show them on the back of my camera, the difference this simple action can make to a headshot or portrait. This move basically accentuates the jawline and eliminates double chins, and always looks great. Pretty much every headshot on these pages uses this method.

This headshot was taken while testing my lighting setup without any direction from me - Far too much neck on show.

This headshot was taken while testing my lighting setup without any direction from me - Far too much neck on show.

This headshot was taken with full direction and posing from me with chin forward and down. The camera is in the same position.

This headshot was taken with full direction and posing from me with chin forward and down. The camera is in the same position.

With selfies, we have been conditioned to position our heads and tilt our neck up as high as we can, and although in most situations it removes the double chin, it doesn't look natural and a professional headshot using this position would look bizarre to say the least! We converse and usually view other faces at the same level as our own and a professional headshot should reflect that.

Taking one for the team here - This selfie of myself taken on my phone is in the elevated position that is really popular. While it may seem flattering, the angle is not natural as we normally interact with each other at eye level...

Taking one for the team here - This selfie of myself taken on my phone is in the elevated position that is really popular. While it may seem flattering, the angle is not natural as we normally interact with each other at eye level...

Taken with the same phone, this selfie is more at eye level with the chin down. Note: I hate taking selfies.

Taken with the same phone, this selfie is more at eye level with the chin down. Note: I hate taking selfies.

At our headshot sessions, I usually take a few test shots while I perfect my lighting without giving any direction and its interesting to see what positions my clients believe would be best - more times than not, they default to tilting their chins up (I would've done the exact same thing before I discovered this posing technique). Once I have sorted my lighting and give direction and posing advice, its fun to show my clients the difference just tilting their chin forward and down can make.

I discovered this technique from renowned American Portrait Photographer, Sue Bryce, and the pose has been widely adopted by other portrait and headshot photographers across the globe. Another great way of explaining it is to imagine there is a piece of string attached to your chin and it is being pulled down.

While the traditional selfie pose has a style of its own and its place on social media, websites such as LinkedIn require that professional edge, an edge that can only be achieved with a professional portrait and posing achieved, in part, with 4 simple words: Chin forward and down.

Thank you so much for reading, if you're ready to drop that chin and step into our studio for that professional headshot you've been meaning to get, drop us an email or fill in the form below and lets make it happen!

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The Fear of Being Photographed

Hello and welcome to our first blog post!

Being a Headshot Photographer in Reading and Wokingham for a while now, today I want to talk about something i've noticed that (almost) every single client of mine has in common - everyone arrives with a certain anxiety about having their headshots taken.

Geoff was very self deprecating before our Headshot session - but look how cool he looks!

Geoff was very self deprecating before our Headshot session - but look how cool he looks!

Luckily I've managed to change everyone's state of mind by the end of the session and everyone leaves with a smile on their faces, but I am shocked by how uncomfortable people feel about having their headshots done either when they make first contact with The Headshot Studio or when they first arrive.

I find this strange as modern culture is dominated by smartphone cameras and selfies, so you would assume that everyone would be used to being photographed - So why the headshot phobia?

A quick Google search brings up Scopophobia, which is the fear of being stared at by others or the fear of drawing attention to oneself. I'm sure there are plenty of people that suffer from this, which seems like a form of anxiety, but I don't think that this applies my clients, as they probably wouldn't contact me in the first place.

Wendy was more confident than most (she is American!) but some self doubt remained at the beginning of the headshot session, these thoughts quickly dissapeared after a chat before the shoot and the results speak for themselves!

Wendy was more confident than most (she is American!) but some self doubt remained at the beginning of the headshot session, these thoughts quickly dissapeared after a chat before the shoot and the results speak for themselves!

I think that the main culprit for these thoughts and feelings of my clients is down to low self esteem. We all suffer from it (I know I do sometimes) and with the media and the internet throwing out unrealistic (and in most cases heavily photoshopped) images of perfect looking people, its no wonder that people feel the way they do about themselves. Sure, unrealistic beauty has been around for a long time in the form of TV and print, but the internet, and particularly smartphones, bombard us with these images wherever we may be, all day long.

Below is a fantastic Ted talk hosted by American Headshot Photographer, Peter Hurley (a bit of a hero of mine) and psychologist Anna Rowley and they make some fantastic points, its well worth a watch:

 

So What Can I Do To Help?

I am incredibly focused on making sure my clients are comfortable and happy during our headshot session. I do this in a number of ways. First, I always take several minutes to talk to my clients when they arrive at The Headshot Studio and get to know them, so they become more comfortable with me and studio area itself. I don't starting taking photos until I feel as though my client is comfortable in their surroundings. I have relaxing music playing in the background during the headshot session and selection process which is great for ambience, and I keep the the entire headshot session lighthearted, relaxed and carefree.

Every single client leaves our studio in a more positive frame of mind than when they first came (I constantly hear "that wasn't so bad" or "That was a much nicer experience than I thought it would be"), and that surely is the best kind of job satisfaction there is.

Book your Headshot session with The Headshot Studio (even if you suffer from Scopophobia) via email or by calling 07917 825 318.

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