Very often as we are about to start the session one of the questions that customers tend to ask me is "do I smile or not?", to which I normally reply "neither".
I am sure you have come across Linkedin accounts where the person looks really serious, and not particularly approachable, but believe it or not, when you meet them in person, they are actually incredibly friendly.
That is why my answer to the question "do I smile or not?", is "neither". We are all different, and we all have different personalities, which is what we are trying to capture during a headshot session.
Even though I do not believe it possible, to capture the whole of somebody's personality in just one shot, as we humans tend to be to complex and there are many sides to out personalities, we do all have a go to facial expression that we use when meeting somebody new. We do not necessarily realise that we are doing it, but we do it nonetheless.
Considering that to all intents and purposes, your business headshot, in this digital age, is going to be the equivalent of you introducing yourself to a new colleague, or a prospective customer, it is important to get it right, and it has to be you.
As a new customer enters my studio I always pay attention to how they introduce themselves, and their facial expression, as that will help me ensure that we are going in the right direction as I review the photos going through the session.
By now I have developed quite a few different techniques that I use to help customers achieve that natural facial expression that resonates with their personality, and the reason why I have multiple different techniques is that everybody is different and different techniques will work with different people.
Going back to the initial question "do I smile or not?", you should do neither, just be yourself. Try to focus on where you will be using your headshot, and what kind of people will come across it. As an example if the vast majority of people coming across it will be prospective customers, try to think back of a real life situation where you met a new customer, and focus on that split second moment where you said "hi", and introduced yourself. That is the facial expression we are looking for, because to all intents and purposes, your business headshot, will be your first introductory meeting with somebody new you have never met before.
This is why headshot sessions can be quite long, as it is not always easy to nail the facial expression, and it is important to get it right, but not to worry as I will guide you through everything, and I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve.