Chapter 6 What makes an effective head and shoulder portrait?



Since a head and shoulder portrait focuses closely on a person’s face, it allows us to tell more about a person’s personality.  The kind of message we send will be determined by two areas:
  
Posture
  • Good posture is always important and can help show confidence.
  • Normally sitting at a slight angle to the camera slims the body and adds interest.  This avoids a “mug” shot look.  
  • A straight look into the camera shows more strength.  Tipping the head slightly gives the impression of interest or friendliness
Expression: 
Consider the following…  
  • How do I want to present myself?  “Down to business” or warm and friendly?  Nothing is worse than a plain expression.  It implies that the person doesn’t care or is bored.  On the other hand, a forced grin can look artificial.  
  • The secret is in the eyes. The eyes are what we normally look at when we connect with someone. They can show interest, concern, or warmth. The more natural, the better.
  • Imagine “connecting with” or “engaging” the camera.  If it is done correctly, someone looking at the portrait will feel that the subject is connecting with him or her.  

TIP:  The more comfortable you are getting your photo taken, the better you will look.  Take your time, rest if needed, take a breath, wet your lips, let the photographer know how you feel or what concerns you may have. You might even try to practice in advance with a mirror at home.