Professional Photographer | Lumosia
Corporate Headshots

How to Pose for Corporate Headshots


How to pose for Corporate Headshots

Our straightforward guide to looking great in your professional portrait.

Corporate headshots have been booked; you have chosen the right clothing to represent you and your brand. You have even managed to get some sleep, eaten well, and drank water for at least a couple of days, but now the big question is, what on earth do you do in front of the camera????? 

So many people come to us and say one of two (if not both phrases). The first is “I am not very photogenic,” and the second is “What do I do?”. 

Good photographers, whether for corporate headshots or any other discipline, should help you pose for your images. Some of the best feedback we get is that we guide people through the whole odd experience of being in front of the camera!

What we will cover

It is such an alien environment to be photographed professionally  that the photographer should do their best to put you at ease and help you look your best. 

Even the word posing can seem intimidating, like it’s some secret that only models know how to do. We think of it as less than posing but simply guidance to help you look your best. 

People come in all shapes and sizes, and while there is no one rule for all, let’s start with some basics that will help you go from being awkward in front of the camera to looking like you have been there a million times before. 

Basics of Headshot Posing

Ensure your clothes fit (not too tight and definitely not too loose). Well-fitted clothes are way more complimentary and also give the appearance of success. 

Wearing a jacket? Button at least one button, or if it’s too fitted, hold the bottoms together. The V line created by the lapels gives the impression of tapering the body. 

Never (well, rarely) stand flat on to the camera: 99.9% of the time, we suggest you turn your body and shoulders slightly off-camera. Either to the right or left (we normally do both during the session). If nothing else, it’s way more dynamic than just standing flat on.

The main reason is that it gives the body shape and dimension and overall gives the appearance of slimming the body down by about one-third!!! 

“CHIN FORWARD AND DOWN” This is the most common phrase during any corporate headshot shoot. It’s a subtle move. Push your whole face towards the camera and tilt it down just a few degrees. This creates a ledge underneath the chin which creates a shadow that creates at least the impression of a great jawline.

Yes, it may feel daft, but it works, especially when your face is pointing straight at the camera.  

Ask to see the difference between doing this and not, and you will be amazed!!! 

Pro-Tip: Avoid hunching your shoulders when pushing your chin forward and down. It can be an automatic counter move. Instead, relax the shoulders at the same time. 

Look into the camera! This may seem obvious, but so many clients initially either look off into the distance or, even worse, look ever so slightly above or below the lens.

Your corporate headshots will appear on many platforms, where they will often be the first impression someone has of you. You would maintain eye contact in real life, so do it in your headshots too. 

Breathe! The quickest way to relax is a few deep breaths through the nose and out through the mouth. We encourage whatever technique you find best to help dispel any nerves.  Doing push-ups is more common than you would think!!!  

Either smile or don’t!! So many people are conscious of their smiles. Yet, typically, with no reason. We will never force anyone to smile. The key advice is to commit to either smiling or not.

A relaxed, moderately happy look will look much better than a tight-lipped, almost grimace every time. However, if you would like to beam from ear to ear, please do. 

Review some of your images.  After a few minutes in front of the camera, ask to see some shots. Its amazing how this can help to get to grips with whats working and what isn’t. You can also check your hair at the same time!  

Trust your photographer (If they seem to know what they are doing). A good photographer will work with you to ensure you look your best. What they ask you to do may feel odd, but it often looks great. This is because they can see how you are from the camera’s perspective and know how you look. So trust them and ask to see some of the images coming through. 

corporate headshots

headshots for you or your team?

Find out about our corporate headshots for individuals or teams. Either on location or in one of our studios. 

Great Posing tips for Head and Shoulders Headshots 

Pose with the whole body: Even though you are only being photographed from the chest upwards, you should pose with the whole body.

Start with the feet shoulder-width apart and the whole body approximately 45 degrees to the camera. You may have a preference on what side you are photographed on. It’s best to start on your favourite side and then try the other (you may be surprised which looks better!!).

Put your weight on the back leg and tilt the body towards the camera. As mentioned before, even with your shoulders turned away from the camera, turn your face to look straight down the lens and focus where the photographer is to ensure a connection with your ‘audience’.  

Lean In: For many reasons, you want to lean in towards the camera. For a start, it will give the impression of being more engaged with the viewer. Think of being in a conversation with someone. If they are interesting and you are engaged in the topic, typically, you will lean in. Additionally, leaning in will taper the body and typically improve the shadow under the jawline.  

Use your pockets! If you are not used to being photographed, standing in front of the camera can seem like the most alien place. We can feel disconnected and almost forget how to ‘be’.

Hands, in particular, seem to be a tricky item to know what to do with. A simple solution is to put the hand closest to the camera in your front pocket. This not only gives you something to do with it but also gives shape to the shoulder, and it’s a pose that feels natural. The other hand can simply hang, or often this goes in the other pocket. Just be careful about changing the shape of the jacket. 

The Chris Tarrant Pose: If hands in pockets ruins the line of your suit or your don’t have any pockets (often in ladies’ suits), you can always use the “Chris Tarrant” pose.

If you remember Chris on “Who wants to be a Millionaire”, he would often stand with his hands together but only touching at the fingertips. This gave his hands something to do. This is a great pose for either head and shoulders headshots or full-length poses. If you have bare arms, it also helps to keep the arms from squishing against your body.  

Fold Your Arms: I know this is potentially a contentious pose. Many of us are told that folding arms gives a closed-off feel. You may have heard that body language experts say not to fold your arms in conversation.

However, in the real world, we do sometimes fold our arms in conversation. It’s often a comfortable position to be in, and depending on the rest of your overall posture and facial expression, it can show you in a very comfortable manner.

Having said that, we can also make this looks like a superpower shot. Especially when shot from below the eye line. 

Tips for 3/4 and full-length poses 

In addition to head and shoulder headshots, we are often asked for 3/4 or full-length images. Thankfully these are often done in the working environment rather than standing alone on a paper roll in the studio. This means that there are often other elements that you can use to assist in that perfect pose. 

Again, Pose with the whole body: If you skipped that part, scroll up a bit and have a read, it will really help. While you are there, read about hands in pockets, this is also a great tip for posing in full-body photos. 

Button your jacket: To give a great shape to the body, it’s a great idea to button at least one button on your jacket. This gives that great V shape and draws in the waistline. 

Use your environment: From a wall to a sofa to a high table or anything that may be useful, it’s a great idea to incorporate this into your pose.

For example, lean against a wall, sit on the back of a chair or simply use a ledge to lean on. The more natural it feels, the more natural it will look. If you are sitting on anything, ensure you sit right on the edge to ensure good posture. 

Fake Walking: Rather than just standing there, we often get clients to look like they are walking. Whether through the office, outdoors, or on their way to a ‘meeting,’ doing something natural will normally look and feel better than an overcomplicated model style pose. 

corporate headshots

studios in london, birmingham and bristol

Find out about our corporate headshots for individuals or teams. Either on location or in one of our studios. 

I hope you found this guide useful. During our headshot shoots, we are constantly guiding our clients to ensure they look great in their Corporate Headshots. If you have any questions or would like to discuss us photographing for you or your team, call us on 0117 330 0234. 

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With London and Bristol studios as well as on location across the UK,  we offer headshot photography at a great price for all! 

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