We’re all guilty of posing our subjects poorly, especially early on in our careers. However, some of us are still not quite comfortable with photographing people, especially if we need to take professional-looking headshots (yep, I’m that person).
In this tongue-in-cheek video, photographer Pete Coco mentions five of the worst headshot poses in a hilarious way. So, I’m sure his video will help you learn something and make you laugh.
- The hard lean – the hard lean forward accentuates the subject’s head, making their forehead look larger. For us with an already large forehead, it’s not flattering at all. Plus, it makes them appear awkward and makes both the subject and the viewer uncomfortable
- The hard lean shot from space – for this pose “from 30 years ago,” as Pete describes it, “the client sits in the world’s lowest stool while the photographer shoots down on them from the International Space Station.” This results in the effect of looking through a peephole and seeing a person whose body appears comically small compared to their head.
- The angry shoulder – in this type of headshot, the most prominent part of the subject’s body is their shoulder angled directly towards the camera. Even if the person is smiling, if the shoulder is close to the camera and lifted up, it makes them appear aggressive. This pose is even worse when there are shoulder pads involved, but thank goodness it’s not the 1980s anymore.
- Cross my arms and hope to die – crossed arms in headshots are not bad per se, but there are so many ways to mess up this pose. If the person wears more than one layer of clothes, the crossed arms will appear forced and uncomfortable. Also, there are hands to think about, which often end up looking super-awkward in the shot.
- The combo rombo hellscape – this is, essentially, the combination of two or more of the poses mentioned above. Imagine, for example, “The angry shoulder” shot “from the ISS.” Yikes.
Joke aside, I believe that taking good headshots is more difficult than it may seem. I admire everyone who knows how to interact with models, pose them correctly, and take shots where they look both relaxed and professional. If you’d like to improve your headshots skills, here’s a bit about the psychology of headshots, the best lenses, and tips for taking them without studio lighting.