So, you’ve booked your actor headshot shoot, read the make-up and what to wear blogs. But now, standing in front of the camera, all you can think is ‘does my top look good?’ ‘is my hair frizzy?’ etc etc

In my shoots, I love chatting with actors and getting to know them. Although I enjoy it, I see it as a vital part of the shoot. Why? Because when most people face a camera, their instinct is to ‘hide’ i.e shrink physically- we spoke about this and other problems that arise in our previous blog  so I won’t go into it here. Here, I want to focus on practical poses you can focus on. Some of these simple posing cheats are inspired by American photographer, Peter Hurley (although our photography styles are very different) Other ideas I’ve picked up along the way.

1. Stand tall, roll your shoulders back and engage your tummy:

Basically use all those tips your movement and vocal tutors gave you! Of course, we don’t want shots of you looking like The Michelin Man but a relaxed, open and upright posture makes a massive difference to your headshots.

2. Squint: 

Most people open their eyes widely during a photo shoot, which when you think about it is funny because that’s what we do when panicked, and panic is the last thing you want your headshot to scream! Instead, slightly squinting the eyes has you look more engaged, and interested. Cerys Knighton is a good example of a photographic squinter.

3. Lean in:

It feels unnatural at the time, however it isn’t noticeable in your headshot; it just gives you an air of confidence and engagement.

3. Jut your head forward:

Most people pull away from the camera and the result is the chin gets lost in the neck, which isn’t very flattering. Jutting your head forward slightly, elongates the neck and gives a sense of engagement to the headshot. Charlotte’s a good example.

4. Lift your chin up:

Again, this might feel unnatural, however it’s a really great way of communicating approachability and openness. Be mindful of overdoing it. Some people’s default is to lift their chin too high in an effort to over compensate. This can look haughty and forced. If you’re unsure, chat to the photographer (about anything) and you’ll discover your natural positioning.

5. Shift your weight:

Even weight balance can sometimes lead to a ‘mug shot’ looking headshot.  Shifting the weight from one hip to another or moving the feet, creates a more dynamic image.

6. Do something with your hands/keep them active:

For example, place one behind your back and the other in your pocket. They wont be seen in your actor headshot, however they can really add to the energy of the overall picture.

7. Move your body:

Never don’t stand frozen still looking like you’re about to be hit by an oncoming truck! Move your shoulders, torso, arms- experiment. Try new postures. It will make it a much more enjoyable experience and give variety and energy to your portfolio. Win win.

Best of look in your next shoot!


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