A guide to headshots for men
So, you’re looking to get your headshot updated – maybe for LinkedIn or for your website team page. Whatever your reason, it’s often the first impression people will have of you, your brand and your image, so it’s an essential investment. In this guide, we explain what makes a great male headshot and why with some tips and tricks for getting the most from your headshot photoshoot.
How are men’s headshots different from women’s?
One question many people ask is why men are posed differently to women. The reason for this is that there are often different goals for their headshots.
For men, the pose is usually more about accentuating angles and raw power. Whereas for women, there tends to be more focus on soft features and curves.
Choosing the right conditions for your shoot
Indoors or outdoors?
The majority of headshots are taken indoors, however, there is an increasing demand for outdoor headshot photography too.
Whilst indoor photography gives you much more control over the conditions, lighting and background, outdoor (or environmental) headshots can create more interest in the photo.
Trust in your photographer – speak to them about the goal of your headshot and what you’d like it to reflect, then ask if they have any thoughts on where your session should take place. They should be able to draw on their knowledge and experience to come up with great ideas.
The goal is usually to pick a location with as much natural light as possible, whilst avoiding harsh direct sunlight.
If you choose to have your headshot session outdoors, try to choose a sunny or slightly overcast day but definitely avoid dark and rainy days!
Your photographer should bring along any extra lighting that might be required to help get the best from your headshot session but be sure to make sure you communicate with them about this and reschedule if you need to.
Choosing a background
Selecting a background for your headshot will depend on what you’d like to achieve from your headshot. You could consider:
- a neutral, plain background
- a coloured background
- your office environment
- outside the office
When it comes to picking out something to wear for your headshot session, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Wear something that fits well and makes you feel confident;
- Wear something that looks new – no fraying, torn sleeves or worn-out jackets;
- Bring extra shirts, jackets, ties, particularly if you’ve opted for multiple ‘looks’;
- Try to stick to classic looks rather than trendy ones for a more timeless photo.
Ultimately, your headshot is a reflection of you as an individual, so wear something you would normally wear to work and that you feel comfortable in. This will allow for a more natural, flattering and authentic headshot photo.
Colours and accessories
When it comes to your clothing, the best advice is to keep the colours neutral. Most men choose to wear a suit for their headshot session – usually dark grey or dark blue. Bright colours aren’t a great option as they can look overexposed, as well as being distracting.
If you’re wearing a white shirt, be sure to layer a jacket or tie over it to avoid the ‘floating head’ look. Coloured shirts work well too but avoid anything with distracting patterns and bright colours.
You should avoid wearing sunglasses and too many accessories (keep the chunky gold chains away from your shoot please!).
It’s likely that you’ll use your headshot for at least a couple of years, so make sure your facial hair is representative of you on an average day. Decide for yourself how much facial hair is right for you, whether that’s a clean, close shave or a bushy beard.
When it comes to haircuts, be sure to do this at least a week before your photo shoot, since brand new haircuts and colours can leave you with styles that aren’t quite right, or look too much on camera. Don’t do anything drastic that you might regret and don’t have time to change!
Feel free to bring your grooming products along to your shoot so that you can freshen up and make sure you look your best ready for your headshot session.
Preparing for your headshot
Practice your facial expressions
Whilst this may seem like a daft thing to be doing, practising your facial expressions in the mirror is a great way for you to see what you’re comfortable with.
For serious expressions, you want to come across strong, not angry. Whilst for less formal photos, you want to come across friendly, not silly.
Pick out a playlist
If you’re nervous about your photoshoot, try making a playlist of upbeat songs that help to make you feel energised and confident. You can either listen to your playlist just before your shoot, or even ask the photographer to play it in the background during the shoot itself.
Pack what you need for the following day
There’s nothing worse than arriving at your headshot session without something or turning up feeling stressed and nervous. So, it’s a good idea to prepare as much as possible the night before, including:
- Clothes – make sure these are clean and ironed;
- Accessories – from watches and rings to hair gel and glasses;
Once you have everything ready to go for your shoot, the final thing to do is to get a good night’s sleep! You don’t want to be rocking up for your headshot session with a hangover and dark circles under your eyes. If you’re well-rested, de-stressed and relaxed coming into your shoot, the results will be much more impressive and engaging.
How to pose for your headshot
The right pose and facial expression can make all the difference when it comes to your headshot. The style of your pose should suit your position, job and persona.
One of the key tasks for men’s headshots is to accentuate the jawline, which should appear well defined and angular. To achieve this, try to push your chin out and downwards a little.
Your eyes should display a sense of character. This can be achieved by squinting to narrow the eyes ever so slightly.
In general, men should either keep their heads in a neutral position or tilted slightly away from the camera – not towards as is common when doing headshots for women.
When photographing men for their headshots, the aim is to create a ‘V’ shape, with broad shoulders and a thin waist.
In order to make the shoulders appear as broad as possible, it helps to have them square on towards the camera and possibly leaning slightly towards it. At the same time, you can make the waist appear slimmer by keeping the lower body angled slightly away from the camera and keeping the upper body closer to the camera.
Hands tend to be one area where men struggle quite a bit. Here are a few different things to keep your hands busy during the shoot:
- Hands in pockets
- Thumb hooked in pocket or belt loop
- Arms crossed
- Fixing cufflinks
- Use a prop like a mug or newspaper
Maintaining a good posture for your headshot is essential, so stand tall with your shoulders relaxed and try to keep your core tight.
What you do with your legs will depend on whether you choose to sit or stand for your headshot.
If you’re standing for your headshot, try crossing your legs at shin level with your weight on your back leg or stand with your legs shoulder-width apart (one closer to the camera). If you’re leaning against a wall, why not try placing one foot on the wall, with your knee bent?
If you choose to be in a seated position, place the ankle of one leg onto the knee of the other for a more natural pose.
For more guidance, why not also check out our 10 Great Tips for Awesome Profiles Pictures or read more about How To Prepare For Corporate Headshots.
Also, check out some great portrait headshots taken by Splento’s professional photographers or even book a photo session for your new headshot.
Whilst most commercial photographers charge either a day rate or quote based on the unique requirements, Splento provides professional headshot photographers at a fixed hourly rate of just £99, including retouching and editing of your images!