Headshot Personality Types-Part 1
They say you only have one chance to make a great first impression. When your headshot is the only chance you get, the stakes are even higher. Without conversation or time spent with another person, can it be possible to get a genuine sense of who they are? Can you experience a sense of trust, authority, or relief just by looking at a photo of someone?
We think you can.
In fact, we think you should.
A photo of a person is not a true portrait unless it shows us who they are—that ever-elusive personality that we hope matches your first impression.
As a business owner, bringing personality into your headshot is not only a good idea, it is a necessity. The problem is, too often, through no real fault of their own, the personality that shows in a person’s headshot doesn’t match who they truly are. Body language, positioning, a smile, or the lack of one – it all contributes to perceived personality.
So, who are you?
And how do you want to be perceived?
The answers to those questions should guide your next headshot session because you are more than just a photo.
In this first part of our three-part Headshot Personality Series, we break down a small sampling of different Headshot Personality Types, along with tips and tricks for how to pull each of them off to make sure your next headshot lets people know who you truly are.
If you offer coaching or consultation services, you need to show that you are a good communicator and listener. To do this, lean in slightly towards the camera. A sitting pose is best for this, just as if you were having a conversation with a dear friend. You might rest your forearm on your knee while keeping a relaxed and attentive posture. You can either smile or keep a casual but attentive face depending on how serious or fun your conversations with clients tend to be. Make sure your arms don’t fully cross your body to maintain an open and welcoming position. If you are wondering what to do with your hands, you can clasp them loosely in front of you or let them relax by your side or on your thigh.
Using these techniques, you’ll create an attentive posture that conveys warmth and lets people know you are ready to listen to them and help them through their struggles.
I’ve started seeing this pose used more and more in office headshots. Classic rules of posing would have the subject at an angle towards the camera. This creates a flattering shape and adds depth to the image. With the Friend Pose, the subject stands square to the camera, usually leaning to one side or the other which creates a sense of vulnerability. It also helps to establish trust as the subject stands square in front of the viewer with nothing to hide. Add a slight head tilt and a nice smile to accompany this pose. The key is keeping a relaxed stance. When you stand straight and rigid to the camera, this creates a power pose that has the opposite effect.
The Friend pose is great for company headshots that want to show an approachable and friendly environment.
Opposite to the Friend Pose is “The Aggressor”. In most instances, this is a personality you want to avoid in your headshot photographs, however, there are times where a pose like this can be beneficial. Perhaps you are a prosecuting attorney, or you are working to combat global climate change. In these instances, taking an authoritative stance of aggression may be exactly what is needed.
To pull it off, you’ll want to look as tall, and wide as you can which creates a sense of intimidation for the viewer. To get this look, square your shoulders to the camera and lean forward. Have your photographer take the photograph from a slightly lower angle. Keep a serious face and a strong body stance. You might put your hands in your pockets and angle your elbows away from your body. Do not cross your arms in front of your chest. Many people think this makes you look tough, but it is actually a defensive position and for this pose, you want to be on the offensive.
When thinking through what personality you want to show in your headshot, remember that you usually have more than one. Be sure to capture a few different expressions and poses so you have a variety to choose from. An aggressive lawyer also needs to be a good listener and communicator. A business coach might be friendly, but also wise. You want to show multiple sides of your authentic self as it relates to your clients in order to build the trust that leads to long-lasting business relationships.
As you can see, just making a few tweaks here and there to body language and positioning can make a huge difference in how your personality is perceived through your headshot. You should always take this into account when working with a photographer to create what will be your most important first impression.
If you are ready for new headshots reach out to Worthwhile Media. We’d love to take your first impression portraits.
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Worthwhile Media is a full-service branding agency focused on custom content creation through effective storytelling in the mediums of photography, video, and the written word. Offering subscription-based services and single photography sessions, they provide images and content for web, print, social media, and public relations. From headshots and banner reels to seasonal marketing campaigns, Worthwhile Media is available to meet all your content creation needs. Reach out today to schedule your free discovery consultation.