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Say Cheese! How to Pose for a Headshot like a Pro

Discover the art of headshot posing with guidance from Austen Hunter, a professional headshot photographer with over 5 years of experience in the industry. In this blog post, you'll learn the fundamentals of posing, explore specific headshot poses, and understand how to avoid common mistakes in order to capture the perfect headshot that showcases your authentic self. Dive in and enhance your professional presence with these expert tips.

how to pose for a headshot, headshot posing tips

Table of Contents:

1. Fundamental Tips for Posing in a Headshot

Before we get into to specific posing examples, let's talk about some basic fundamentals of posing. You may not have known, but posing is an artform just like music or dancing, and there's some timeless principles than can be used to flatter anyone. Here are some tips:

  • Maintain proper posture - Stand up straight, elongate the neck, and pull shoulders back gently. This posture makes the face appear more symmetrical and projects an air of confidence and competence.

  • Stick out your chin slightly - Although it may feel awkward, this technique called "the funky chicken" enhances your jawline and improves the overall headshot quality. Be careful not to overextend your chin.

  • Angle your body away from the camera - Instead of facing the camera head-on, slightly angle your body away while keeping your head facing the camera. This creates a flattering leading line from your shoulders to your face and avoids a cramped look.

  • Smile genuinely - A real smile is essential for an authentic headshot. Focus on relaxing your face, visualizing someone you care about, or thinking of something that makes you laugh to achieve a genuine smile.

  • Know your angles - Understand which angles best complement your facial features. Different angles can impact the appearance of your face, nose, and eyes. The "three-quarters" angle, where one side of your face is more visible than the other, is often the most versatile and flattering.

2. Specific Headshot Poses

Now that we've covered some of the fundamental posing tips, let's go over some specific headshot poses you can consider using during your session.

how to pose for a headshot, headshot posing tips

The "Standard" Headshot Pose

It's the standard for a reason - because it's flattering for just about everyone. If you don't have a professional headshot, this is where you start. Simple turn your body slightly away from the camera, and lean your head into the shot. Don't forget to smile!

The "Over the Shoulder" Headshot Pose

The "over the shoulder" headshot pose offers a unique and flattering perspective for your portrait. By turning your body slightly at an angle and looking back towards the camera, this pose highlights your features, creates a sense of depth, and lends a natural, relaxed feel to the image. Versatile and adaptable, this pose works well for various styles, from professional headshots to creative portraits. Choose the over the shoulder pose for a captivating and engaging headshot that showcases your best self.

how to pose for a headshot, headshot posing tips

The "Hands on the Hips" Headshot Pose

The "hands on hips" headshot pose exudes confidence and poise, making it an excellent choice for your portrait. By placing your hands on your hips and engaging your posture, this pose emphasizes your shoulders and creates a strong, assertive presence. Suitable for a wide range of styles, from professional to creative, the hands on hips pose helps convey self-assurance and approachability. Opt for this powerful pose to make a lasting impression with your headshot.

how to pose for a headshot, headshot posing tips

The "Arms Crossed" Headshot Pose

The "arms crossed" headshot pose projects confidence and authority, making it an outstanding option for your portrait. By crossing your arms in front of your chest and maintaining proper posture, this pose accentuates your shoulders and conveys a sense of strength and assertiveness. Appropriate for various styles, from professional to creative, the arms crossed pose communicates self-assuredness and approachability. Choose this commanding pose to leave a lasting impact with your headshot.

how to pose for a headshot, headshot posing tips

The "Pointing at Something" Headshot Pose

The "point at something" headshot pose is a dynamic choice for branding purposes, specifically designed for infographics and marketing content. By directing attention towards a particular object or point, this pose adds a compelling visual element that reinforces your message. Emphasizing engagement and confidence, this headshot pose will enhance your brand's presence and leave a lasting impression on your audience.

how to pose for a headshot, headshot posing tips

The "Lean In" Headshot Pose

The "lean in" headshot pose creates an engaging and approachable impression, making it a fantastic choice for your portrait. By slightly leaning towards the camera with a relaxed posture, this pose fosters a sense of connection and accessibility. Suitable for a wide array of styles, from professional to creative, the lean in pose effectively conveys warmth and openness.

The "3/4 Body Shot" Headshot Pose

While not a traditional headshot, this option offers a relaxed, candid impression by capturing the subject from the knees or thighs and up in a casual stance. This pose allows for better representation of personal style and approachability, making it popular among creative professionals or those in more casual industries. The 3/4 body shot is a versatile choice for creating a unique and authentic personal brand.

how to pose for a headshot, headshot posing tips

The "Touching Wristwatch" Headshot Pose

This concise pose exudes punctuality, organization, and professionalism, while also suggesting a high-status demeanor. As the subject appears to be mindful of time or setting a reminder, it's ideal for individuals seeking to showcase these qualities and convey an elevated personal brand or profession.

Common Headshot Posing Mistakes

Lastly, you'll want to be aware of the most common mistakes people make when posing for headshots. Be sure to avoid these for a quality headshot with star power.

  1. Slouching: Slouching or hunching over is one of the biggest mistakes people make while posing for professional headshots. This can make you appear unconfident or shy, so be sure to straighten up your spine and bring your shoulders back before taking your headshot.

  2. Not looking directly into the camera: While there may be limited exceptions to this rule in the case of creative headshots, you should most always be looking straight into the camera for your headshot. If you are looking even slightly above, below, or to the side of it, it will be noticeable in the final image. If you don't look directly into the camera, it may convey disinterest or aloofness to the viewer.

  3. Faking a Smile: Faking a smile is a great way to appear uncomfortable in your headshot. For this reason, you'll want to make sure your smile is genuine. Be sure to visualize something positive and practice in the mirror when preparing for your headshot session.

  4. Being too Stiff or Rigid: If you're tense or rigid during your session, it's going to show up in your headshot. If you're feeling nervous about your session, focus on your breathing and consciously relax your self to avoid this headshot posing mistake.

In conclusion, mastering the art of headshot posing is essential for creating a captivating and professional portrait. By following the fundamental tips and exploring specific headshot poses, you can avoid common mistakes and capture the perfect image that showcases your authentic self. Remember to maintain proper posture, smile genuinely, and work with a professional headshot photographer like Austen Hunter to achieve the best results. Now that you're equipped with these expert tips, it's time to elevate your professional presence and make a lasting impression with a stunning headshot.

how to pose for a headshot, headshot posing tips

Austen Hunter Photography is a Headshot Photographer operating out of Pensacola, Florida. With his team, he delivers high-quality headshot images to working professionals, creative entrepreneurs, and corporate clients from Gulf Shores, Alabama to Destin, Florida. Austen Hunter is an internationally published photographer and is known for creating headshots that leave a Great First Impression. Book your headshots with Austen Hunter today.



Austen Hunter Photography is a photographer based in Pensacola, Florida who specializes in family beach photography, military portrait photography and professional headshot in a bold and clean style. Austen Hunter has been locally recognized and internationally published . He uses a variety of both natural light and off-camera flash to capture images. People usually book Austen for outdoor portrait sessions or sessions conducted at his home studio.

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Chelsea, Headshot Client

"Wonderful experience! Wanted an updated headshot and Austen and Sarah were amazing. The studio was clean and incredibly nice, Sarah even provided blotting pads to help with shininess I had during photo shoot. 10/10 recommend to anyone wanting to get a photo taken! Thank you again!"


Tammy, Headshot Client

"We are so glad that we found Austen. He did a wonderful job providing us with quality headshot photographs. He made us feel comfortable and gave us good suggestions for posing. We look forward to working with him again in the future!"


Daryl, Beach Client

"Austen and his team were amazing! They were able to capture exactly what we wanted for our engagement pictures and also provided us a tent to change clothes. I would highly recommend him and I would definitely use him again."

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