6 Best Poses for Professional Headshots

6 Best Poses for Professional Headshots - Mastin Labs

The right professional headshot can help clients put their best face forward. Research shows that it only takes a tenth of a second to form a first impression based on someone’s face alone. 

A powerful headshot photo balances a sense of connection with professionalism. You don’t want the client to look staged, but you still want to convey a feeling of competence, responsibility, and excellence. 

Knowing the right poses for professional portraits can go a long way toward producing strong and flattering headshots that clients can use for their LinkedIn profile pictures, networking opportunities, business websites, and more. 

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to master the art of the eye-catching professional portrait. 

Top 6 Professional Headshot Poses You Should Know

The days of stiff and awkward corporate headshots are over. These days, the best headshot tips lean toward poses that feel natural and comfortable to the subject, showcasing their personality and a sense of professionalism. 

Here are the six best poses for professional headshots to help your clients put their best face forward.

1.  Lean-in Pose To Express Approachability

The casual lean-in pose is simple but timeless and effective for business headshots. This classic pose sticks to just the head and shoulders, with a gentle lean-in toward the camera.

The framing keeps the focus on the most important part — your client’s face. The casual lean toward the camera shows off your client’s approachability, helping them look more engaged and connected with the viewer. 

2. Shoulder Angled To Add Depth and Dimension

Like the lean-in pose, the shoulder angle pose keeps it classic with just the head and shoulders. However, leaning one shoulder toward the camera while keeping the face centered adds more depth and dimension. 

This pose draws the eye to your client’s best features while still creating a friendly impression on the viewer. If it starts to feel too stiff or staged, ask your client to keep their shoulders relaxed for a more natural look. 

3. Hands-on-Hips To Transmit Confidence

If the standard poses aren’t capturing the depth of your client’s personality, try a simple yet fun pose, like hands-on-hips. Having the client place their hands on their hips gives the viewer a sense of strength, confidence, and openness. 

Ask the client to keep a neutral facial expression to emphasize strength and leadership, or have them show a slight smile to keep things approachable. 

4. Arms Crossed To Convey Charisma

For an air of confidence, charisma, and power, you can’t go wrong with the arms-crossed pose. The crossed arms give off a strong and assertive energy, especially when paired with a neutral facial expression. 

To lean more into charisma and friendliness, try having the client show a warm and genuine smile. This will keep the pose from looking too closed off.

5. Slight Head Tilt Pose To Convey Friendliness

Sometimes, all it takes is a slight head tilt to add a sprinkle of personality to your professional business photos. A subtle movement of the head can go a long way toward adding personality and charm while keeping a professional demeanor.

Before you start, experiment by having the client tilt their head in both directions. This allows you to identify the most flattering angles so you can guide the headshot session in the right direction. 

The best head tilt poses lead with the forehead, with the chin following behind. Keep the client’s eyes focused on the camera. It might feel odd for the client in the moment, but it can make a big difference in your results. 

6. Playing-With-Glasses Pose for Thoughtfulness and Creativity

Not all clients will want to wear their glasses in their professional pictures. But that doesn’t mean you should leave them out entirely. 

Glasses can play an important role in showcasing a client's personality — especially if they wear them regularly.

For a cool, laid-back, and thoughtful feel, ask the client to play with their favorite pair of glasses in the photography session. For example, have them adjust the glasses on their face, hold them casually in their hand, or take them on and off to capture the candid in-between moments.

Discover How Professional Photographers Achieve Perfect Results

From LinkedIn profile photos to job applications, a compelling professional headshot can help your client make waves in their industry. But the best headshot ideas come from natural yet inspired poses. 

To capture the essence of what your client wants, you may need to experiment with body language and natural positions. This helps you find what makes their best characteristics shine through. 

What happens in the editing process is just as important as what happens with your camera in hand. Once you’ve snapped the perfect headshots, it’s time to start fine-tuning your photos to achieve your artistic vision. 

That’s where Mastin Labs can help. Our intuitive, professional-grade photo editing tools and presets don’t just upgrade your editing process — they transform it. With consistent, stunning results, you can save time in the editing room and impress your clients at the same time. Check out our collections of presets, styles, and LUTs to see the results for yourself.