Getting your headshot can be nerve-wracking. Most people feel vulnerable when they're in front of the camera. This is because most of the time when we're getting our photos taken, they're quick snapshots that are more than likely done with a phone. And they're done by family or friends so the comfortability factor is high.

Mix in a studio, some lights, a big camera, and someone you just met, that's when that vulnerability sets in.

My job is to make sure you have some exercises going into your headshot session with some confidence knowing what you like and don't like, and why that is. We're a team. I'm only as successful as my work proves, and I can't be successful if you leave here with images you're kinda "eh" about.

Let's dive in ...

More than likely you've already dove into my tips about how to best prepare for your headshot session. That helps with the clothing, hair, skin, etc. But as I learned from the amazing headshot guru Peter Hurley, a great headshot is about confidence and approachability. The confidence comes from the eyes. The approachability comes from the mouth.

Let's start with the eyes.

Have you ever noticed movie stars, models, and just about most people who have their portraits on the cover of magazines have a certain look to them? If you look at the eyes, they're never giving that "deer in the headlights" look. They have a very slight squint. It's not like they're trying to read a menu from far away, it's more like they have a certain confidence about them. Having millions of dollars and stylists help with that confidence I'm sure. But it's also as simple as working the eyes a little.

Hurley has created a video about what a squinch is and how to practice the squinch.

But it's not only about the eyes. If the eyes give you that confidence, the mouth showcases approachability. This can be done in a lot of different ways through various angles and facial expressions.

Most people don't look at their expressions in a mirror. But you're going to give it a shot.

I want you to practice the following seven facial expressions in the mirror. Go through them slowly and while looking straight on, slightly left, and slightly right.

  • Flat — no smile at all
  • Smirk — like you have a secret
  • Smile — You're normal go-to smile
  • Super Cheese — Big, toothy grin
  • Surprise — This will show you what you're eyebrows can do
  • Sneaky —The squinch with a smirk to it
  • Sultry — Work some cheeks movement in there, eyes and lips

This exercise will do a few things for you. It's going to show you how your eyes are affected by different expressions. It'll also highlight what your side is, and it's not just the way you part your hair. The point where wrinkles become more prevalent will come front and center and you'll know at what point they show the most. And most importantly, you'll determine what looks works best for you and your brand.

Practice these looks and make a few notes about what works best for you. And if you went through this and can't figure out which one works, that's okay. But at least you'll have a little bit of practice under your belt and know how to work each look during the session.

During our session, there may be a few images where you're caught mid laugh, or you look happy. About half of the people that see these happy images, love them, but try to talk themselves out of using them for their headshot.

Here's our take on these "happy" images ...

If you're a happy person and you're the type of person that loves to laugh, don't be afraid to show that in your headshot.

Your headshot should represent your personality. If you're a strictly business type of person, then a happy image probably won't represent you well. Just as a super confident, all-business headshot won't work for you if you're fun and laughing from the first moment you meet a client.

We'll be sure to capture headshots that match your personality and brand.