How to look and feel relaxed in your headshots

portrait of a young woman with long dark hair, wearing a dark top. She is looking directly at the camera and smiling.

One of the most common things I hear is “I hate having my photograph taken” or “I always feel awkward in front of the camera” 

First of all, that’s absolutely fine. Being in front of a camera doesn’t come naturally to most of us but there are a few things that can help you to look good in front of the camera

1.     First and foremost Relax before your shoot. Give yourself time beforehand to relax and unwind. Don’t try to fit a 15 minute headshot session between two stressful meetings. While we are on the subject of time, if you really want to come away with amazing headshots, book a longer session so you and the photographer can spent more time together. Whether you want to meditate or put on your favorite playlist, do something before your headshot session that will put you in the right headspace. You can even ask your photographer whether you can bring your playlist along with you.

2.     Engage with your photographer. You should already have an idea of what your photographer is like prior to your session. However, it can also help to ask them a few questions before your session begins to help you feel even more comfortable with them. 

3.     Don’t freeze. Your headshots are meant to tell a story so don’t feel like you have to freeze for several seconds as you wait for the camera to click. Move your head and shoulders and try out different poses as and when they feel right – your photographer will do the rest. And most importantly, don’t forget to breathe. Holding your breath will make you feel more anxious, which will show through in your photos. Listen to the instructions your photographer gives you. They may feel awkward but they will actually make a huge difference to the final images

4.     Think about your character. Because you want your headshots to reflect your character, it helps to repeat things out loud or in your mind that speak to your character. How do you want your audience to perceive you?  Friendly?  Trustworthy?  Empowered? That’s how you need to feel. If that means doing some power poses before the session, fine. Also make it clear to your photographer what you want your headshots to convey. That will give them a starting point for guiding your poses and expressions

5.     Dress accordingly. Your headshot session is not the time to try a new outfit or hairstyle. You want to look and feel good, but you want to be comfortable too. This will help you feel more confident and relaxed for your photos.

There you have it – 5 basic tips that will help you have a more positive headshot experience. Don’t forget to have fun! Your photographer knows what they are doing.