Skip to main content

The Head Position

Lesson 10 from: Powerful Portraits using Body Language and Lighting

Stacy Pearsall

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

10. The Head Position

Next Lesson: Eye Direction


Lesson Info

The Head Position

The head and the heart are connected. What do I mean by that? It's hard to disassociate one's emotions and one's feelings when we talk about the posture in which we find our head, okay. Let's go back to that very beginning, when I said that we as human beings, we still have animal instincts, a lot of the gestures and the sort of, involuntary gestures that we give to others, are, kind of go back to that animalistic idea. The same goes with this portion of our body right here and all of that. What does the throat mean to you? When somebody does this, that's literally a threat. Okay, when a predator in the wild, say a cheetah, takes down, what is it, antelope? I don't know what their prey is. Anyway, they go immediately for the throat. Okay, they choke them until there's no life, and then they disembowel them or dismember them and eat them (laughs). That's no different than how we protect ourselves this way, by the use and the position of not only our body, our hands, but most especially,...

our head. The tilt. The tilt. The tilt. (audience laughs) What does the tilt do? Okay, so the tilt can be a couple of different things. Obviously, when we're in thought or trying to process something that seems like we can't compute, we'll be like, what, I don't really understand that. When we are trying to be seductive or flirtatious, we are going to open that beautiful neckline up and expose our most critical parts to whomever we want to bring into our intimate space. And remember, we're gonna talk about intimacy in a little bit. But we're also basically tilting to let people know that we're engaged. Tell me all about it. Uh huh, tilting. With the tilt comes the nod. The nod has multiple meanings, depending on the context. So, what is this nod? Got that right, or, (audience giggles) hey, I'll talk to you later, maybe offline, or, (audience laughs) Yes please, I would love that! But how about this one? Acknowledgment, right? Understanding, comprehension, attentiveness, listening. When we're talking to our subjects, in the next, in another segment, I'm gonna talk about observation, communication, on all levels, and how we can make a connection. What we are doing with our head, in conjunction with eye contact, can send a message to our subjects. If we constantly have our head averted or away or we're constantly blocking, and I'll talk about that next position, with our chin down, that can send a very negative message. It means that you don't have trust. And if you don't have trust, they won't have trust. Having your chin down is blocking your vital organs. It's feeling a little insecure, it's a sign of anxiety or perhaps you're avoiding conflict. It's aversion. On the flip side of the coin, when we show a sign of respect, particularly in Asian cultures. The British, they bow to the Royal Family as a sign of respect. But in that movement, if we're tilting our chin down, we are showing a sign of submission, which is still in line with that idea of bowing, so to speak. Does that make sense? Now, when I meet somebody, hey, how ya doin'? I'm gonna keep my eyes in a neutral position. We're gonna talk about eye contact in this next part. But I'm also gonna keep my chin in a neutral position. I'm not gonna be like, yo, wassup, how you doin'? Because, remember, we don't wanna be the boss, with our hands behind our backs and talking down, with our chin up, showing a sign of arrogance and looking at our nose, down to other people. Which leads me to, not hitting the back button, Stacy, (laughs) which leads me to, chin up. Chin up. A person of air and confidence. If I were looking this way, beautiful profile, is it not? I can say that because I have an air about me. Having your chin up shows confidence. You're exposing your neck, you're showing a sign of trust. It's not a superiority situation, depending on the context. If I'm here, that's a superiority thing. But if I'm here, hey, how are you, great to meet you, did you check out that show last night? So my chin never dropped, it was always at neutral or up, allowing that confidence, okay? (laughs loudly) Right? Complete, just letting go. When one throws their head back, usually in conjunction with complete and utter elation or I give up, I swear, the whole world is against me! Defeat. For me though, most times when I see this particular gesture, it's in conjunction with just total happiness. And it's usually when people are in the moment with me, and we're sharing a really happy exchange. And they just close their eyes or they look to the sky and they just let loose. That's when I know I've made a perfect connection. Because that is the most exposed.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Gear List

Bonus Materials with Purchase

The Foundations of Light (PDF)
The Accents of Light (PDF)

Ratings and Reviews

Julie V

I had the chance to sit in the audience and absolutely loved this class! First of all, Stacy is very funny and is really good at explaining and showing examples of the body language. I loved learning about how to read people faces and body to know more about them. And recommended the class to my husband who is a therapist for this reason. The other part of the class was so awakening, I never really thought about how having the wrong lighting for someone's personality would bring something off on the picture. Once again, Stacy was amazing at explaining why this lighting would work with one person and not another by showing us examples. If you want to bring your subject personality into life on photos, I highly recommend this class!

a Creativelive Student

This class is amazing! Stacy is an awesome person and listening to her teach and review the class concepts was so easy and fun and entertaining! It is jam packed with information on how to connect with talent and clients. Plus you get to see Stacy in action with subjects in the Demo and Shoot videos. I highly recommend this class! I learned so much and feel so much more comfortable and confident working with a variety of people now.

Jovi Jhash

wow, what an amazing class to learn from. you covered all from body language to storytelling and to reveal almost the true souls of the subjects through portraits. Amazing work and thank you so much, Stacy and creative live team. Stay blessed

Student Work