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The Portrait Photographer’s Guide:

Pro Tips and Insights

To Smile or Not to Smile: The Great Headshot Dilemma!

by | Headshot Tips, Photography Advice

Picture this: You’re standing in front of a camera, ready for your close-up, and suddenly, you’re faced with the age-old question: “Do I need to smile in a headshot?” Fear not, fabulous friends! This blog post is here to help you answer that burning question and guide you on your journey to the perfect headshot. So, buckle up and let’s dive in!

First things first, let’s address the elephant in the room: There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Shocking, right? 😱 But don’t fret! The key to a fabulous headshot lies in understanding your personal brand, your target audience, and the image you want to project.

Know Thyself (and Thy Brand)

Start by asking yourself: “What do I want to convey with my headshot?” Are you an aspiring comedian hoping to make people laugh? Then, by all means, flash those pearly whites! Are you a corporate executive looking to exude confidence and professionalism? A subtle, genuine smile could be your best bet.

Think about your target audience and the impression you want to make. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, so make sure your headshot speaks the right language! 📸

The Great Smiling Spectrum

Two headshots of a beautiful blond actress wearing the same outfit and posing against the same background; left photo features a friendly, welcoming smile while the right photo showcases a more bad-ass, confident expression.

Let’s talk about the spectrum of smiles. On one end, we have the all-out, teeth-baring grin – perfect for showcasing your fun, approachable side. On the other end, there’s the closed-lip, mysterious smile – ideal for those aiming for a more serious, enigmatic vibe. And then, there’s everything in between!

The trick is to find the sweet spot that suits your brand and personality. Channel your inner Goldilocks and experiment until you find the smile that’s just right. 🐻

Lights, Camera, Action!

Now that you know there’s no definitive answer to the smile conundrum, it’s time to practice! Get in front of a mirror and try out different expressions. Better yet, enlist a friend to help you snap some candid shots while you test out various smiles. Bonus points if your friend is a pro at capturing your best angles (hey, we all have that one friend who’s a selfie wizard, right? 🤳)

Remember, confidence is key! The more comfortable you feel in front of the camera, the more natural and authentic your headshot will look. So, take a deep breath, channel your inner Tyra Banks, and let your true self shine through.

Get Some Help from the Pros

Still unsure about whether to smile or not? Worry not! This is precisely where professional headshot photographers come to the rescue. Armed with a treasure trove of tricks and techniques, they’re skilled at drawing out genuine expressions from their subjects, capturing the essence of who they are.

A good headshot photographer doesn’t just click away randomly. They’ll invest time in understanding your brand and target audience, ensuring the resulting images align perfectly with your goals. Trust us, partnering with a pro who knows how to capture your best side and select the ideal images for your brand is a game-changer!

So, there you have it – the great “Do I need to smile in a headshot?” debate, demystified! While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, with a little introspection, practice, and expert help, you’ll be well on your way to capturing a headshot that speaks volumes about your unique personality and brand. Say cheese (or “ouistiti,” if you’re feeling fancy 😉) and happy headshot-ing! 📸



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Meet The Author

High school senior girl with a bob haircut, wearing a light purple and gold dress, posing with her hand on her chest at Marie Feutrier's professional portrait studio in Gilbert, AZ, for her glamor senior photo.
 Marie Feutrier, a French transplant in Gilbert, AZ, masterfully captures personalities through her lens. With an accent as charming as her photos, she doesn’t just take your picture, she tells your story, one click at a time.

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