I Took My Own Head Shots & Learned 10 Important Things About Posing

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I Took My Own Head Shots & Learned 10 Important Things About Posing

I Took My Own Head Shots & Learned 10 Important Things About Posing

Ten years of guiding people through their session in front of my camera has taught me a lot about posing, but not quite as much as 20 minutes in front of my own camera did. I swear I forgot how to human when I was in the “hot seat”.

Here is the progression of faces in the first few minutes:

  1. Realized my lighting was NOT slimming my face, changed my lighting
  2. Forgot how to human, lip is trying to makes its escape off my face
  3. Trying to make “normal” faces, looking like a half smoldering half “I’mma kick your butt” face
  4. Landed on something I like, even though I as looking at a stain on the carpet, just slightly off camera

Edited version:


I want to be very candid with you guys, and show you the good, the bad, and the beautiful. Because every person at every shoot ever, has probably had more images that they hate then ones that they love. And most photos we see are edited, so in the spirit of honesty, I wanted to share one images SOOC (straight of out camera) vs. edited:

Btw, makeup really helps a lot. My favorite way to bring out my eyes in a shoot is FAKE. LASHES. They will make such a difference in your photos!

And now, reality check! Before getting to that pose up there that I like, came this awkward glory below:


This. THIS is why photographers may not want to show you the back of the camera. Heck, even during my own shoot I was hesitant to see the back of the camera, because I didn’t want to see a photo of myself that I hated, and then be obsessing over a double chin, or squinty eye during the rest of my shoot.

Above is a shot my hubby snapped of me. I feel like this “what I really look like”. But below are some images I snapped once he left the room, and I felt more comfortable hamming it up for the camera. You will see the difference. You guys, thank goodness there isn’t video footage of me fake laughing, leaning into the camera, tossing my hair around, etc. I’m sure I looked ridiculous, but I landed on some photos that I feel look like me at my best.

My point being, don’t be afraid to really go for it at your session. Those will be the best shots. You think those instagram models are nailing it on the first shot? Here is secret: hell no they aren’t! They are patting the side of their hair, looking strangely slightly off camera, and “candidly laughing” for several attempts before finding the photo they love.

Fake nose crinkle, and fake laugh. Also, fake lashes.

These “natural” looking shots that I love, actually felt super weird. I was sitting on the edge of my seat, angling my chin out, turning my shoulder slightly to the side, sucking in and laughing, or throwing out my best big smile.

This photo is totally random because my daughter decided to crash my shoot, but I’m putting it in here because…how adorable is she?! Answer: the most adorable!

The shot I love, vs the awkward one that came a split second before it:

Can you handle the cringe?

So, in conclusion, here is a roundup of how to look “on point” at your session! ūüėČ


  1. ¬†It’s hella awkward

– for everyone, so don’t be shy! Get in there, and have fun.

      2. It takes practice

– you won’t nail it the first time. That’s okay! Keep shooting until it get’s better.

¬† ¬† ¬†3. It won’t feel natural

– Sitting on the edge of your seat, sucking in, keeping your eyes wide and leaning to what you think is your best side won’t feel normal. I swear I couldn’t even remember what my “regular” face feels like.

¬† ¬† ¬†4.When you’re uncomfortable, it probably looks good.

-Again: sitting, leaning, sucking in, ¬†pouty lips and all that… it may be a little uncomfortable to hold that pose, but it’s worth it! Trust your photographer and power through.

     5. You will have to loosen up -release your inner supermodel!

-Don’t be afraid to play with different faces, or poses, or even throw out a giant fake laugh. Your photographer will love that you’re changing it up, and you will land on a expression that you adore. Feel free to strike a pose. Do what you need to do, crank up a great playlists, or take a shot before you start shooting….let loose a little!

¬† ¬† ¬†6. You’re going to look silly, and that’s good

-for myself, and for my clients, I’ve seen that the best moments happen in a split second in between silly or awkward moments. Go through some poses that don’t work, to find the ones you love.

¬† ¬† ¬†7. You don’t want to see the back of the camera

-Seeing yourself caught in an “awkward” moment can be a major hit to your confidence. Keep striking poses, and trust that your photographer will deliver the best images to you, ones that you will feel great about

      8. Follow the photographers guidance

-(and try not to cringe when the direction is strange) Someone behind the camera can see what will look good, even if it sounds or feels weird. I often say things like “relax, breathe out and leave your lips parted” or “look at me like you’re going to ask me a question” I’ll also give direction for tiny details that make a big difference: chin out, shoulder turned, etc, etc. Your photographer may sound crazy, but they’re doing it to help you look your best!

     9. Play with your hair or pockets

– hands can make or break your shoot! It’s so hard to know what to do with them! Here is my advice, put them to work! Play with your jewelry, run your finger through your hair, rest a hand on your neck, or hook your thumbs in your pockets.

   10. Gather Inspiration

-Still feeling a little uneasy? Go online and gather inspiration from your favorite models or photographers before you show up to your shoot.



Once again, photo of me looking cute up above vs photo of me looking like I malfunctioned a half second before:

p.s. Duck lips live on!


Did you enjoy this? You might like : Tips For Photographing Toddler

I own a photography business in San Antonio, and I specialize in branding shoots and family sessions. Let’s work together! Click here.

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