Personal Headshots in London: 5 Tips for Posing and Styling

18 July 2023

Here are five tips for posing and styling your personal headshot session here in London. As a lifestyle photographer, the corporate headshot does not appeal to me, so you count your lucky stars for this style of personal headshot photography instead! If focussing on your approachable nature / inner goddess / friendly yet serious look is just what you need, read on for how to get it right. From first steps to styling and posing, here are some expert personal headshot tips to help you perfect your vision.

5 Personal Headshot Tips for your London Shoot

1. Vision

For everything else to fall into place, you need to know where you’re headed. For some of you, you have this nailed and your vision is a goal you set annually. It’s the reason you focus on your personal priorities, and so you should be able to sum up your vision quite nicely in three to five words. For some of you, you have more of a gut feeling that you’d like your personal headshots taken here in London, but where or how is more of a question mark. If this is you, ask yourself:

  • What is your specific reason for a personal headshot? Is it professional but bordering on personal? Or is it more personal and celebratory?
  • How do you see yourself? Or, more to the point, how do you want to see yourself?
  • What do you want to feel when you look back at your headshots?

I really love Pinterest for planning out a shoot, so either get yourself a pile of magazines and make yourself a moodboard analog style, or get pinning to a shoot board online.

eco glue and brush, magazine cuttings and scrapbook

2. Location – London focused personal headshots or studio based?

Personally as much as I love London for its amazing old streets, green parks and colourful street art, I am more and more enjoying the non-weather dependent indoor studio. As a natural light photographer I still get the best of both worlds though, and I would encourage you to think about whether you want lifestyle streetscapes and a mix of locations or plainer backdrops (getting the focus on you, not the background). Lifestyle photography can of course still be done indoors.

female writer personal headshot in black against purple background with sunlight angled across face

3. Choose the right outfit

When it comes to personal headshots, choosing the right outfit is crucial. You want to wear something that reflects your personal style and makes you feel confident. Avoid busy patterns that can distract from your face. Instead, opt for solid colours that complement your skin tone – and by this I would encourage brighter colours – or opting for neutrals against a colourful background. Be bolder than you might be inclined to be, as we often shy away from dressing confidently when faced with the prospect of being photographed. Lastly, a range of looks is always better than not enough choices on the day.

women's portraits for change - liberty session portrait in red
female personal headshot in London studio dressed in yellow against coral background

4. Styled or Natural?

How much or how little to style your photos is up to you, your vision and budget. You might opt to style with clothing, make up, florals or more props. And sometimes it can depend on your mood on the day as to whether to include them or not. You can hire / ask your photographer to recommend a make up artist for your shoot if you’re not confident doing your own or just want to go all out for the right look. I often bring in flowers for lifestyle shoots, styled shoots and portraits either to soften a look, accessorise or bring in some colour.

smiling redheaded women's personal headshot in London Bridge against colourful street art

women's headshots in black against pink backlit backdrop with flower in hair

5. Posture & Posing

Body language is key to any great personal photo. Your body language consciously or not, can convey confidence or doubt, approachability or defensiveness. It will even change the way you feel when you’re in your session. So when posing for your headshot, make sure to note a few core rules:

  • Stand or sit up straight with your shoulders back. This will help you appear more confident and engaged.
  • Avoid crossing your arms, as this is a defensive stance.
  • Always find something to do with your hands, don’t leave them dangling: try placing your hands on your hips, in a pocket or lightly resting them on a nearby prop.
  • As women we tend to close our body language down. In my workshops and sessions, I like to encourage you to own and take up more space.

A lot of how you stand, sit, smile or don’t will depend on what you want to convey, which brings you right back to the first step – getting your vision right.

women headshot and Portrait Photograph in London home studio

Get all the Personal Headshot Tips you need with me in London

Book your personal headshot session in with me in my London studio or on location. I will guide you through these five steps and more from the moment you book in. So if this article has helped but you’d still like guidance, I would be more than happy to plan your session with you!