10 Fool-proof Ways To Getting The Best HeadShot Photo

Today we have another guest post from the wonderful Kylie of Moving Lives Photography! She is talking all about the best ways to get the head-shot of your dreams for your business! 

Ok, so you’ve gotten your business or brand up and running, but the dreaded “About Me” page keeps staring at you in the face. It can see into your soul. It’s saying, “write something witty, clever, unique” and you work and work and work and you finally come up with something that makes you laugh, makes you cry, and just plain WORKS for you.

BUT – oh god – you need to take a PHOTO of yourself. You start to panic, your palms sweat, and you start to take short breaths. You keep thinking, “I take HORRIBLE photos, my smile is crooked, I always have a double chin, and I look just plain awkward.”

That’s where I come in. I’m Kylie Bodiya, photographer and owner of Moving Lives Photography. My job is to make you feel as confident on the inside as you look on the outside. I don’t just do headshots, I do contemporary glamour portraits to empower women and make them feel the best that they can be. And because I’ve been doing this for a while, I can tell you exactly what to do and what not to do during your next portrait session to make sure you get the best photos from the start!  Here are 10 things to remember during your next session:

1. Before you book your session, look for a photographer that specializes in headshots and/or glamour portraits. I know this seems rudimentary, but when you research the photographer, make sure you ask them how they make their clients feel comfortable. Do they guide their clients how to pose? Do they take their time or is there a time limit? Ask to see examples of their “before and after” shots – you want to know if they are an expert at photo-editing. 

2. This leads me into number two – you want to check your chosen photographer’s experience with post-processing. Now, of course I’m referring to photoshop, but I don’t want to see your left arm accidentally chopped off. When I say photoshop, I want to know that the photographer has a specific artistic quality of when and how to photoshop. For example: my rule is that I will photoshop anything that wouldn’t be there in two weeks’ time, such as a pimple, scratch, cut, etc. For wrinkles, I will soften, but never remove. And I will “thin” areas that you might not like, but I will never take away your natural beauty.  Take a look at the examples. This is a before and after of a client. You can see that I absolutely did NOT take away her natural beauty. I only enhanced what she already had!

3. If the photographer doesn’t have a makeup or hair expert on staff, hire one if you don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own. You want to feel confident and beautiful and if you get frustrated with your makeup, then just don’t do it. The best thing is to let someone else pamper you for an hour or two so that you can relax and get excited for the shoot!

Ok, you’ve chosen the photographer. You get to the session. The photographer, hopefully, will guide you through your posing, so that you feel comfortable and confident. But there are things that you can be aware of when taking any photo:

4. Sit or stand up straight as if you had a string coming from your tailbone, all the way up the spine, up the back of the neck, and up through the top of your head. Pretend someone is pulling that string.  Your mom always told you to “sit up straight!” Well, it’s true.

5. Now that you’re up as straight as possible, pull your chin forward. Pretend your chin is on a flat plate and pull that plate towards the camera (or wherever the photographer tells you to look). This one always makes my clients look at me strange. Trust me – it feels weird, but looks great. What this accomplishes is it gets rid of any double chins. It lengthens the neck and creates a nice frame for your beautiful face!

6. In some cases, for some people, you may need to bring your chin down slightly. If you are thin, you will probably need to do so.  If you are a bit heavier, you may need to keep it at a 90-degree angle, but your photographer should direct you and what looks best. You also want to make sure that you don’t go down too far that you lose the brow bone – you want to have separation between your gorgeous eyes and your well-defined and equally gorgeous eyebrows! Again, your photographer will help you determine your best head position.

7. The smile is key. I always walk my clients through different smiles and each person is different. Do you need a full smile? No smile? Hopefully your photographer can make you laugh because I always start clicking as soon as my clients laugh because that’s the BEST full smile. But I do also test my clients by doing a “smile with the eyes”. Just relax your lips into a natural non-smiling position and pretend you’re smiling from inside with only the eyes. It will result in a teensy bit of a squint, but just enough to make your eyes piercing. For some people, it works. For others, the full smile is better. Test yourself in your mirror – decide what you like the best and go for it! Take a look at this smile – only in the eyes! 

8. Hands. Don’t get too handsy. We don’t want floating hands everywhere. I always start my clients by telling them to grab their “underbutt.” Go ahead and laugh! It’s ok, I’ll just take your photo while you’re laughing so we get a good smile!  But in the meantime, now that you’ve grabbed your underbutt, tuck your elbows (or as I like to refer to them as “wings”) back behind you. Pretend you’re going to touch elbows. Again, it feels weird, but it forces you be straight, gives you great posture, and it also hides the hands. If you don’t need to see the hands, then don’t.  Take a look at the image below, where we “tucked” the wings! 

9. On the other hand, if there’s a reason you want to see hands, totally cool, but make sure you don’t have “claws”. Relax the hands….make “ballerina” fingers (tuck that middle finger down!).  Or if you’re going near the face, tuck the hands near the back of the neck, like in this photo. 

10. Try subtle differences with each shot – just move the chin slightly, change your smile slightly, or move the hands a bit. Nothing has to be major. Just slight movements could change the photo dramatically. We call this flow-posing.

And remember: HAVE FUN. The only way you’re going to get confident and beautiful pictures is if you have fun with the experience!  And of course, check out some other great inspiration from these gorgeous ladies on my website below!!


kylie bodiya is a fine art portrait photographer that specializes in contemporary portraits of women, children and families. kylie's photography skills will make even the faint of heart feel at ease and comfortable. she envisions every woman being a part of her family's portraits in a way that they feel beautiful and treasured. with a degree in design from michigan state university as we;; as being a professor at the prestigious rhode island school of design, kylie's style is bold, beautiful, powerful and timeless 

Link to website: www.movinglivesphoto.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/movinglivesphotography

Instagram: www.instagram.com/movinglivesphotography