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Should I Smile In My Headshot Photo?

"I hate my smile!"

At the beginning of nearly every headshot session I am asked "Should I smile?".


This is usually closely followed by "I hate my smile!".


It's the most common question I get asked as a photographer. Whether clients feel they need permission to go ahead smile for the camera, or they generally dislike their own smile, there are many anxieties that lie around sitting for the camera.

If this sounds like you then don't worry at all, you are not alone and it is my job to help!


Here are some things to consider:

  • Think about your profession and the image you want to convey in your headshot photo. If you work in a serious profession where trust is based on formality, rather than personality (such as law or finance), a serious expression may be more appropriate. A smile may be perceived as too casual or informal. On the other hand if your brand is more focused on your customer relationship, or in the creative industry such as marketing, a smile can be a great way to showcase your personality and approachability.

  • Consider your target audience and hwo you are trying to engage with your photo. If you are appealing to a younger demographic a warm smile can be a great way to connect with them. If your audience is more mature, or conservative, a more relaxed or serious expression may work better.

  • Your personal style and comfort level. At the end of the session, you get to view your gallery and select your favourite images. My job as the photographer is to give you a superb range of images that authentically reflect you. I will help you achieve some great natural smiling photos, then you can decide whether you wish to select and use them, or stick to the non-smiling shots. It's completely your call but we will always consider the intended use of the photos before deciding. You want maximum effect in return for your investment, so it is important the choices are considered.

If you have any anxiety or fears around booking a headshot session, or how you may feel when in front of the camera, I am more than happy to ease your concerns and discuss how the session works on a free introductory video call.


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