Tyra said it best: smile with your eyes. You don’t have to go full-on Mona Lisa, but your headshot should convey the right vibe for your website. For some, that’s a natural grin; for others, it’s a subtle smirk that says, “I know all your secrets.”
To avoid the dreaded double chin, think chin out, pointed slightly down, and say cheese. Practice in the mirror to get it just right—this pose feels a little weird, but gives the best smiles.
If you’re sitting at a slight angle, slightly tip your front shoulder down (the one closest to the camera). This helps relax your shoulders and elongate your neck.
Tip for photographers: bring a friend. Having someone to cause a little distraction in the background may help some reluctant smilers loosen up a little and give a more genuine grin.
What makes a good background? There’s no hard and fast rule, but generally, less is more. Blurred natural backgrounds raise the level of warmth in a photo, whereas a stark white background puts all the focus on the subject.
Importantly, consider how the headshot may be used. If used singly, we appreciate a unique background. Hung in a gallery setting, we prefer a standardized background to bring all headshots into alignment.
Most importantly, there should be nothing else in the background of a headshot. A lifestyle photo session can capture candid moments in your office, but a headshot should keep the sole focus on the subject—you.