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Photography Directory

4 Effective Tips to Make People Feel Comfortable during Headshot Photography Sessions

headshot photography

As such, headshot photography may seem simple, especially when you take photographs of your family. However, as a professional photographer when you stand before unknown subjects with your camera focused on them, this may become a hard task. Your subject may not feel easy and confident of themselves and you. In such a condition, how would you make them feel relaxed? Here are a few useful tips.

1. Know the View of Your Subject

Each one of your subjects will have a different view about headshot photography. Some may be at ease due to some or the other reason such as they might have done it before, whereas some may not be feel relaxed due to some or the other reason such as they may be very critical about themselves and feel nervous.

To make one comfortable, you’ll have to know what view they already have about their portrait. Some of your subjects may feel awkward at first but may open up within a few minutes. Some others may need a little of your pampering. Some may be so scared that they would prefer to stand before a lion to standing up for a headshot.

After talking to them for a while, you can know what they like. Do they like to talk on politics? Or do they like a general witty talk? Have they arrived from work and so are tired and stressed? The more you understand them, the more they’d become comfortable, like to interact with you and enjoy working with you and the better your shots would be.

The best way to understand your clients would be to talk with them before starting the photo session. Know their expectations and for what purpose they want their headshots. Also, give them the idea of how you’re going to make it happen as most people would not know what to do, and so, would become nervous and stiff.

Don’t forget to ask for their ideas and discuss on how natural and casual shots can be achieved. You can make the best shots by working together with your subjects and not by keeping them out.

Dallas photographer

2. Help Your Clients Choose the Most Perfect Clothes

You can make your clients comfortable by ridding them of the confusion regarding what to wear. As most of the people are stressed out with the thought if or not they’d look good in their headshot, if you help them choose the most perfect attire, they’d feel confident and thus comfortable. For this, you should first learn with what purpose they want their headshots captured.

For Professionals: For professional headshots, you’ll have to take your client’s profession into consideration. For lawyers, for example, formal clothes in dark, conservative colors are perfect, whereas professionals at technological companies are better off with casual outfits in brighter colors.

formal clothes

For Actors and Models: Casuals like t-shirts, button-down shirts, leather jackets etc. are perfect for acting and modeling professionals. However, one should remember to avoid fancy outfits which should be saved for full-body shots and not for headshots.

Also, strong patterns like zigzag, high-contrast, checks etc. should be avoided because they draw too much attention and easily distract viewers.

If you see the headshots captured by Dallas photographer, Rick Porier, you can see how cleverly outfits have been chosen so as to make the persons look confident and shots look impressive.

casual outfits

3. Choose the Right Location

Locations where you’d do the photo shoot also have an important role to play in capturing great headshots or any photos.

First off, it’s better to ask the clients if they have any suggestions about the location. Maybe they’d suggest locations where they’d feel the most comfortable, e.g. their own house or backyard. Or they may suggest locations to which they have a lot pleasant memories associated.

If your clients are unable to suggest locations, you should choose them on the basis of the client’s overall liking, mood and comfort level. Thus, you can choose a garden or park full of greenery if your client is a nature-lover, old buildings such as historical monuments, museums, vintage homes etc. if your client is an admirer of the old architecture, or a beach if your client is in a better mood in the vicinity of sand, surf and sun.

Choose the Right Location

4. Help Your Clients Pose, Naturally!

No matter, how comfortable you make your clients by talking to them on their favorite topics and helping them choose clothes in which they’d feel confident, once the camera is on, many of them may start feeling confused regarding how to pose.

Here you should have specific poses in mind. Your subject’s neck and shoulders should be straight and relaxed so as to look confident. However, they should not overdo this so as to look stiff. Their shoulders should not hunch or slouch.

Tell them to pay attention to their chin. If they lift the chin too high, the length of their neck will look prominent and their face will appear relatively smaller. But dropping the chin too low should be avoided as well as it may gain a double chin. Help them keep their chin in the correct position.

You should also instruct them to avoid standing straight to the camera as that would make their body’s width look prominent. Make them stand at a 45° angle to the camera so as to create a slim look.

stand at a 45° angle

Remember that sitting down is more comfortable than standing for most people for their business headshots. If you’re going to capture their legs in the photo, make sure you choose appropriate clothes for them.

And of course, make them smile! A smiling face is always more attractive to viewers. It makes one look friendly and approachable, and viewers are more likely to respond positively to their photos. However, the smile should look natural and should not be forced which looks awkward. A hearty smile makes one’s eyes radiate happiness too.

hearty smile

Making your clients feel comfortable is the key to successful headshot photography. Once you master the art of making them relaxed, they will enjoy posing for the shots with you and you’ll enjoy your work!