Head Position for Headshots


The Business of Professional Headshots


Lesson Info

Head Position for Headshots

Now here is the key to head shots. There are lots and lots of ways to do this, but I wanna iron this into the three main head positions and what they mean, okay? You have to identify the two shoulders when you're shooting with the body off center. There's the far shoulder and then there's the camera shoulder, and tilting the head to one or the other creates a completely different feel of the image without changing anything else about it. So, this is tilted to the far shoulder. This is gonna be more assertive, more dominant. It's gonna be potentially more aggressive. It could also be more insightful, more interested. Do you understand what I mean? So, let's look at the next one. Typically this would be what you would call a masculine head position, because this is what you would do with men more than women, but it works for women quite well, as you can see. Here we go, straight up. When the head is straight up and down. You don't have to have head tilt in the image. But, I would encoura...

ge you that, with the right person, it can change the feel of an image. Straight up and down is a very no nonsense-- I'm here to have my head shot done, nice to see ya, sort of way of looking at it. Camera shoulder. You see the big change? When you shift your head to the camera shoulder, it's open, it's friendly. It's available, approachable. Typically, this is what is used largely as a feminine pose. I've seen it work for men as well, but by and large, when you're shooting people, if you photograph a man and you do this with his head, you're going to make him look less manly, okay? That's just the way it is. Let me get a great example. Sheldon, come on up. Come on. Right here, okay. You don't need a microphone. We don't need you to talk. I just wanna use your head. So, watch this. All right, Sheldon. I want you to turn your body this way. I want you to point your toe at me. Good. Just put those thumbs in your pockets right there. Good, you with me? Now watch this, we're gonna do this together. This is the far shoulder from your angle of view, right? So, let's go ahead and tilt your head a little bit that way, and go like this (blows air out of mouth). Okay, now if that's your angle of view, that's all right, right? Now, go like this. Hey girl. (crowd laughing) See what I'm sayin'? It becomes-- It's a lot more open. Thanks man, you're all set. It's a totally different feeling, and all you did was move the head. So, let's practice this real quick, too. There are three axes upon which the human head can move. Probably more for some people, but three basic, all right? I've created infallible hand gestures to help people do that. As long as you view it in conjunction with mirroring their movement. So, I give people this speech in a session when they come into the studio. I go, okay, I'm gonna put you in the exact position I need, and then the only fine tuning I'm gonna do is I'm gonna probably have to move your head just to get the right angle. There are three ways you can move your head, and here they are. Do 'em with me real quick. You can move your head like this. Good. You can move your head like this. Good. And you can move your head like this. Good. See? That's it. One, two three. So, now if I want your head in a position, I go okay guys, tilt your head this way. Bring your chin down a little bit, and turn your head just like that, boom. Everybody did it exactly right on the first try. Three axes, three hand gestures. One, two, and three. And that's it. Now, you can get somebody's head in to the right-- Anybody can do it the first time. All you gotta do is display confidence, use the hand gestures, make up your own if you want, and do it with them. It's really, really easy. When you realize how body mechanics work, it becomes less and less mysterious how to get people the way you look. Get the head the closest thing to the camera, and then understand what you're seeing with the position of the head, all right? If somebody has a little more weight on them and you bring that chin down too much, you're gonna make that double chin more pronounced. Or, maybe if they don't have one, you'll make it even look like they do, all right? So, if you want somebody to have that-- You lift their chin, and you lean 'em into you so it stretches 'em out a little bit. There's really not a lot of mystery to it. There are a few key things to do to make people look really, really good.

Class Description

Professional headshots are in demand! Learn how to break into this lucrative genre of photography in The Business of Professional Headshots with Gary Hughes.

Professional headshots are an easy addition to nearly every photographer’s list of services and in this class you’ll get up-to-speed on everything you need to know to launch a headshot business. You’ll learn:

  • 6 Primary styles of corporate headshots
  • The gear that gets the job done
  • Basic posing theory
  • How to get clients and manage inquiries
  • Retouching, organizing, and delivery tips and techniques

You’ll also get to watch Gary in action as he demonstrates shooting and retouching a variety of headshot styles.

If you want to bring home more money and book more business during your slow times, don’t miss this comprehensive guide to running a lucrative headshot business from Gary Hughes.


1Class Overview 2Getting Headshot Clients 3Headshot Pricing Models for Individuals 4Headshot Pricing Models for Groups and Companies 5Payment and Delivery for Groups 6Six Styles of Business Headshots 7Headshot Lighting Gear 8Posing Basics for Headshots 9Basic Standing Pose for Headshots 10Basic Seated Pose for Headshots 11Head Position for Headshots 12Expression Sells the Image 13One-Light High Key Headshot with Male Model 14One-Light High Key Headshot with Female Model 15Two-Light High Key Headshot with Male Model 16Two-Light High Key Headshot with Female Model 17Two-Light Standing Pose Headshot with Male Model 18Two-Light Standing Pose Headshot with Female Model 19High Key Modern Headshot with Male Model 20High Key Modern Headshot with Female Model 21General Q&A 22Constant Light: Low Key Classic Headshot with Male Model 23Constant Light: Low Key Classic Headshot with Female Model 24Constant Light: Standing Pose Headshot with Male Model 25Constant Light: Standing Pose Headshot with Female Model 26Setting up the Background for Extraction Shoot 27Shooting for Extraction Headshot with Male Model 28Shooting for Extraction Headshot with Female Model 29Shooting Low Key Modern Headshots for Extraction 30Basic Headshot Facial Retouching Techniques 31Basic Headshot Eye Retouching Techniques 32Basic Headshot Retouching Techniques: Dodge and Burn 33Basic Headshot Retouching Q&A 34Extracting a Single Subject 35Creating a Headshot Composite 36F-Type Headshot Lighting: Equipment and Principle 37F-Type Headshot Lighting: Execution 38Shooting Headshots in Volume



This was an excellent class! The class covered so much information and great tips and ideas. Gary is funny and has an easy going approach, which makes the class that much more enjoyable. As a struggling pet photographer, I have been trying to find something to supplement my business with that does not involve children/babies, or shooting weddings again and headshots seemed to be a great option. After watching this class, I feel confident building up a headshot component to my business. Definitely recommend this class!