Wednesday, December 4, 2013

{within works | 10 tips for the perfect headshot}

For today's "works" segment I am going to do a little something different. At the office we tend to have a lot of photoshoots, and our most recent one was with Addie Mannan Photography. She was in town and we snagged her for headshots for the entire office. Lots of people get really nervous in front of a camera and think that "they don't take good pictures" Well, I don't believe that. I think everyone can take a good photo if they follow some rules. So for today, I'm going to share with you my tips for getting the perfect headshot! I'll show you my proofs from Addie and tell you what I think worked for me and what didn't. 
Also, it's the Holiday Season and I know that we will all be taking photos with family and friends and we ALL want to look our best. Hopefully these tips will help you get the best photo ever this season! Good Luck!

10 Tips for the Perfect Head Shot

1. Makeup should be natural but heavy enough to cover well because the camera is not forgiving. I like a rosey cheek, a natural well lined eye and I use a lipcolor that closely matches my own natural color. Michelle Phan has mastered this look so well. One of her very first tutorials on YouTube (2007) has some great tips. You can find that here. Make sure that you blend your base well. I tend to have a problem with liquid foundation, so I use Everyday Minerals and love it. You definitely don't want your face to be lighter than your neck.

  • line eyes with eyeshadow because it's softer (use brown or black brown but never solid black)
  • line water lines with off white pencil (illusion of bigger eyes) I love the Pixi Eye Bright Liner 
  • dot highlighter on brow bone and inside corners of your eyes
  • pick a cheek color that gives you a natural flushed look. I use a tint instead of actual blush (Benefit Benetint)
  • lipstick should enhance your lips and not make them look out of place (no red, fuscia, or bright pink) I use ZuZu Lipstick in the color Obsession.
  • fill in your brows to make them look fuller and symmetrical
  • moisturize! face, arms, legs!
  • concealer is your best friend today

2. Find your ANGLES. Everyone has just the perfect angle for them and everyone is different. Take photos of yourself with your cell phone and watch how your face changes as you make the smallest of changes. Tilt your chin up and down and side to side. You will find the side of your face that you like best and the angle that works best for your face shape. For example, straight on shots for me are really difficult because my face is really square and by angling my chin down I can help create a different shape with my face. *it helps when the camera is slightly above you*

  • elongate your neck
  • tilt your head slightly up
  • tilt your head slightly down
  • shoulders back

3. Body: Move around. Do not hold the sampe pose for the entire shoot. Someone once said that if it feels uncomfortable, it probably looks really cool. The more you move your body the easier it will be to find the right angle for you. Just like your face (see #2). Front shots are really difficult because they make you look wide. I like to place my shoulders at an angle to create the illusion of a slimmer torso. If you cross your arms (see below) it also makes you look wider and it's not inviting, so if you are looking for a happy welcoming headshot, the arms crossed is not the way to go. Make interesting shapes and angles with your body. Don't go over the top but something as simple of lifting your elbow so that you create a slimmer waist, for example, goes a long way.
Remember: headshots are usually of your upper body, but make sure that you are modeling all the way down to your toes, it will help, I promise. 

  • roll your shoulders back every now and then to avoid the hunch back look
  • stand at a 45 degree angle
  • don't fold your arms
  • elongate your neck
  • make shapes (bend your joints)
  • turn your face slightly to the side to create natural highlights and shadows
  • lean towards the camera
  • be comfortable

4. Smile with your eyes. This one is huge. If you look at the photos below, I am not really smiling with my eyes, my face is at the wrong angle and I look 10 pounds heavier than I really am. So how do we smile with our eyes? Well think about something really sweet, something that makes you soooo very happy. Rainbows, kittens, kisses, babies...whatever it takes. Keep your mouth closed and concentrate on using your eyes instead. Let them tell the story. A little smile with your lips finishes it off.

  • keep your eyes engaged
  • take eye breaks (close them and then open right before the photo is taken)
  • look away from camera and then look back
  • eye drops do wonders

5. Clothing. Think comfort and color. Wear what makes you feel most beautiful. I try to stay away from white because it bounces too much light for a headshot. I also stay away from white backgrounds (example: photos above). I was not prepared for the headshot with Addie because I had only brought my one black shirt. For your photoshoot you want to bring multiple colors and different types of cuts. For example, a V neck is going to elongate your neck where a round neck may make your face look rounder. Just like your angles and body shapes you need to take photos with lots of clothing options to find the one that looks best on you. Again, even though headshots are just your upper body make sure you pay attention to the shoes that you are wearing. You will feel prettier in heels than you do in slippers. Just a thought. Also, if you have a signature necklace or ring, bring it and wear it in a few shots, you'll be glad you did. Oh and if you're planning a family photoshoot, here's a good post on "three colors + pop" rule from Meghan Owens.

  • no crazy patterns
  • wear flattering colors
  • no striped/checkered shirts
  • no wrinkled shirts
  • no baggy shirts (they add weight)
  • jewel tones usually work well on everyone (at least Oprah thinks so)
  • Warm undertones look good in these colors:
  • Cool undertones look good in these colors:
  • If you need to:










6. Hair. Keep it natural and simple. Wear it how you normally would with a little more umph. Hairspray is key here. I have found that having the hair down makes for a better photoshoot. Again, it has to do with your face shape. Your hair cut needs to compliment your positive attributes. This is where a good hairstylist is very important. I have read that the "oval" shape is supposed to be the more pleasing shape. Makeup and angling your face can help with this. Here are some things I have found in my research:

  • round faces = uneven cut/mix of lengths, long layers, deep side part, long side swept bangs, sleek ponytail, defined pixie, angled bobs
  • oval faces = blunt bangs, center part, bob with side bangs, edgy short cut
  • square faces = thinned out bob, tousled shag, wavy ends (ears down), long and straight
  • heart faces = bouncy bob, deep side part, side-swept bangs, long layered waves, pixie with side swept bangs

7. Light. Find your light. It's important to know where your light source it and make sure that your face is being lit by it. Hats/hair/hands all block the light so be aware of that. If the light is above you it will create dark shadows under your eyes. Ideally you want the light source in front and slightly above you. Whenever possible, take your photos outside in the natural light, it's truly the best.

  • take photos an hour after sunrise
  • take photos an hour before sunset
  • don't have the light source behind you

8. Hands. Be concious of what you are doing with your hands. For headshots that is really important. You don't want them to cover your face or look like a dead fish or an Atari claw. Relax them and pretend that you are holding a small bird in your hands. The photos below will show you what not to do.  When all else fails, put them in your pockets or on your waist for a few shots but not all.

9. Smile. Try all of your smiles out. A closed smile is good for a headshot but can also look forced so relax your lips (Here's a video to help with that). Toothy smiles are great but try not to show all of your pearly whites at once. That will come off as a bit silly. When you truly smile it affects your eyebrows, eyes, forehead, and cheeks. That's why forced smiles look...forced. 

  • think of something funny and laugh
  • practice smiling in front of a mirror
  • don't say "cheese" 
  • ask your friends to look at your photos and vote on their favorite smile

10. When in doubt, have a Cocktail. That usually helps in our photoshoots. We make sure that everyone has a drink or two prior to the shoot and we bring our iphones and ipads out to play music and get in the groove. This should be fun, so if you're really nervous then bring a friend along. I usually stand behind the camera and dance so that it gives the model something to focus on and to smile about. I like doing photoshoots in groups because we can all help each other out. If you're going to walk around for the shoot, bring a bag with accessories, makeup, brush, hairspray, etc. You will need to touch up and keep your face looking fresh. Make sure you are prepared for anything. *I usually tuck a flask in there too*shhh

That's it! My top 10! I'm sure that I can think of more but I think this is a good start. =)
Here are the final shots from Addie. I'm really happy with them. Good Luck on your next photoshoot! And let me know if my tips helped!








I highly recommend following Michelle Phan on YouTube. Here are a few more links for her:

Picture Day Tips (school)

How to take the perfect Selfie

Natural Parisian Look

Natural Beauty

For some fun fashion advice, I recommend watching videos by Chriselle Lim.

Oh and Michelle Phan has her own makeup line called em cosmetics

One final note: I am not a professional model or photographer. These are just tips that I've picked up along the way. I've assisted in a number of photoshoots and been in some myself. Taking photos can be fun if you learn to take the fear out of it. One of the best pieces of advice that I have ever received is to focus on what makes you unique. This will show confidence and make you look even more photogenic.



*Cool and warm undertone color palettes thanks to Balancing Beauty & Bedlam

*Skin tone chart from The Art of Style

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