6 Steps to Better Headshot Photography

Two minutes. That’s what it takes to get through this informative portrait tutorial. But it gives you some very useful ideas on how to nail beautiful headshots that show personality. When it comes down to taking a great portrait, every photographer has his or her own recipe. For some it’s how the end result turns out that matters more and not just the process itself. Improvisation is an important part of that approach. For others, like Peter Hurley, there’s a method to it:

Hurley explains that every step of this routine is planned and organized. He positons the body first. Once the body is positioned the head is then tilted or placed in position. As Hurley explains, the body and the head can move independent of each other. Once the head and the body are in position he composes. Once everything is set he adds the stimuli to elicit a facial reaction and/or combines that with a series of micro directions before making the exposure.

Here’s a breakdown of the steps:

steps to capture micro-expressions

Steps for Getting a Great Headshot

How do you elicit an authentic expression?

Here’s what Peter Hurley did in the tutorial. As he directed the model, he said, “Hold that right there. Chin down slightly. Jam your forehead out towards me. Tilt your head slightly toward the Canadian border.”

laughing headshot

Say or do something that will illicit the expression you’re after.

And, bam, there’s the expression:

microexpressions in headshot photography

A Headshot with Authentic Emotion

As soon as the model gave that expression, Hurley reacted by firing away the exposures.

What do you do to get your subjects to relax in front of the camera?

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