How Should Men Pose for Headshots?

If you’re a man getting ready for a headshot session, you might be wondering how to pose. For many people, man or woman, posing for photos can be stressful. So, practicing in advance can remove a lot of concern.

posing men for headshots

A Common Tip When Posing Men is to Not Overdo a Smile but There are No Rules and Sometimes a Big Smile Works Well

Have a look in a mirror and make some looks you might be after. Sometimes dressing up like you will for your session can be helpful. It’s easier to visualize a look and it can also put you in a proper state of mind. When you meet with your headshot photographer, you can then collaborate on other ideas. So, what can you practice or consider?

Facial Expressions for Headshots

Obviously, the facial expression you use is everything. First, in practically every case you should smile in a headshot. If you’re an actor getting theatrical headshots, a smile is usually not desired. Situations like this one are the rare cases. Smiling is essential because it’s inviting. Remember that the goal of most headshots is for some business gain – getting a job, influencing a sale, etc.

Be sure you smile with your entire face. This means from your eyes to your mouth. Most smiles come across as fake when they are only from the mouth. This is when you smile with your mouth, but your eyes appear as a deer staring into headlights. Your eyes and your mouth are doing two different things.

Your smile should also usually be subtle. Showing teeth can certainly be fine but, usually not too much. It’s not a portrait or candid moment. Try to imagine how much you might smile if you were just introduced to a person for an interview rather than if you just won the lottery.

Your Posture in a Headshot

Posture matters as well but, with most headshots being from around the upper chest and up, there’s a lot you can get away with. Still, generally stand tall to exude confidence. Again, the point of your headshot is to sell you as someone to do business with.

Consider elongating your neck too and be sure your chin is out and not tucked in. Tucking your chin back is a natural reaction for some people when they try to stand straight with good posture. To avoid this, break it down into two steps. First, stand tall with your shoulders back. Then, bring only your chin forward, from the neck, keeping all else still.

You can hardly overdo bringing your chin forward too much. It might feel awkward and as though you have overdone it. But sometimes what feels awkward to do for a pose can work quite well in a photograph.

Your Symmetry

They say symmetry in a face is beautiful. But, often symmetry in your posing can be boring. So, particularly if you’re posing for shots that will capture more of your body, try to avoid being overly symmetrical with your posing.

Draw an imaginary line lengthwise down the middle of your body, through your belly button. Now, try not to do the same thing on both sides. So, don’t put both hands in your pocket. Don’t put both hands straight down your side.

Do something different on each side. Put one hand in your pocket and one hand out. Change what you do with the hand that is out – leave it hanging, play with a button on your shirt, and so on. Drop one shoulder, bend one knee, and so on. These asymmetrical differences on each side of your body make for the foundations of interesting posing.

The Profile Look

Speaking of symmetry, most people have a favorite side of their face. Often this is because most of us have one eye that is slightly larger than the other. In such cases, turning slightly sideways in a photo, with the smaller eye forward, can make a face appear more symmetrical.

Whether this is the case or not with your eyes, try doing some of the headshots at a profile on both sides. The lighting alone can make how you look greatly vary. Besides, one thing you’re looking for in a headshot session is to have lots of options to choose from.

There’s a lot more that can be said about posing but, overdoing it isn’t helpful either. Probably the most important thing to do to ensure good posing is to relax. Your headshot session should be somewhat fun, not stressful. If you can walk out of your session feeling better than you arrived, then you probably nailed the posing.

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