Everyone wants to look better on camera. In this article I’d like to share with you some insight when coming for a headshots session. I will try to give you some guidance whether this is your first time having a photoshoot or just for your Instagram selfies :). So without further ado, let’s get started!

Headshots are handshakes

Let me begin with something I always say on our headshot sessions, “A headshot is like a handshake”, yes ! you’ve heard right: When you introduce yourself to someone you start with a handshake. This handshake can be strong, you might engage the person with the eyes, you might stand up and approach walking towards the other person… on the other side you could just be sitting down laying back and you could just say “hey…what’s up” which is not the best first impression.

Similarly, a headshot is a “virtual introduction” for the first time from you (your face) to a casting director, and the first impression always counts. We actors want this moment to be unique and memorable as it will make the difference from getting an audition call or not. Let me help you with that.

Let’s start first with the posture, as I mentioned before. You have to feel excited about the person you are meeting, (Casting Director) well.. imagine the Casting Director is behind the camera, you want to approach him and lean forward, this instantly will cause a much more interesting effect.

Your body posture is naturally translated to body language and the subtle expressions of your face captured by the camera, all together play a big part. Think about your passport photo or your graduation photo… you were really not excited there, right ?

We’ll use some props in the studio to help you be more comfortable with posture, but remember, lean forward, don’t slouch, Casting Director is here.

This is also what we call in the acting world “The intention” think about the actions of your character and his/her intention towards the camera. is he a tough guy ? is he a vulnerable everyday man ? a strong independent woman ?.

Hold the sub !

We all like Subway, right? A technique that will help with your posture and will make you look slimmer is called “Hold the sub”. This technique is well-known among headshot photographers. I will give credit to the master Peter Hurley from whom I have so much respect.

Imagine you are holding a six foot long subway on your hands, make it real big! (ingredients are completely up to you). Look at the examples below, see how positioning the arms affects the shoulders, neck and the top of the chest.

Thumbs in back pockets

Will help with your posture as well. If you place your thumbs on your jean’s back pockets your chest will look wider and you will feel more grounded overall. Plus, your top will look less wrinkly.


Another gem I learned from Peter Hurley From my experience this works better with guys but girls can always pull this off easy. The squint, there is a subtle difference between a squint that can become a frown or a giving you a daunting look.

What I would like you to do is to focus your eyes on the lens of the camera, thinking of what you see beyond and apply a little bit of pressure on the bottom eyelid. You can practice using a mirror before coming to the session.

See the examples below. She definitely looks better on camera on the right image.

Relax the mouth

This is something I personally adore. Makes you look instantly better on camera. You see this happening with more inexperienced clients, or just when you start a shoot and client is still warming up, feeling nervous or stressed. Mouth looks a bit tense, lips are pressing each other and jaw is too tight. Relaxing will help you also relax your mouth, when you are relaxed, your lips will show a little gap in between showing also a bit of teeth which is also visually more pleasant in my opinion.

A couple of acting exercises that will help you relax your mouth and lips is performing the “brrrrr!” sound a few times. Another trick is to exhale slowly through the mouth to create that natural gap.

Putting it all together

In these images, you can see how different expression are intention is. Using the exact same lighting and camera setup, on the example on the left, subject is slouching, laying back, eyes are not engaging with the camera, mouth is tense. She is not looking her best isn’t she ?

On the example on the right, you get instant attention to the subject. She is leaning forward with a slight squint on the eyes, making her look more engaged with camera. Thumbs are in back pockets making her chest and shoulder more compact and the mouth is relaxed. She is ready for her next big role!. Looking at her headshot I feel she is a confident person, and confident clients book jobs easier. Fact.

I hope these tips will help you look better on camera and build up your confidence before going to a photoshoot. Do you have any other tips? Please share with on the comments section below.