In this guide, we’ll be discussing the best angle for headshot photos.
Believe it or not, the angle of the camera can either turn you into a double-chin chinny or a supermodel. Well…maybe I’m exaggerating but the angle does play a critical role in the overall result of your image!
Don’t believe me? Quickly grab your phone camera and take a photo from below your chin and then a photo with the phone slightly above your eyes pointing down at you.
The one with the phone pointing down at you is usually more flattering, but we’ll get to that!
We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section):
Table of Contents
What is the Best Angle for Headshot Photos?
When it comes to the best angle for headshots, there is no best angle. But there certainly are better angles than others.
The best photos can be taken by someone who has done this before and knows the best angles.
These best angles will depend on many factors including the subject’s pose, specific facial features, the photographer’s preferences, etc.
The best angle for headshots can also vary between photos and may be best for one photo and not the best angle for headshots in another.
Choosing the best angle will depend on the subject’s pose and how face-on or profile the photo is taken.
For example, subjects with elongated faces are best photographed at an oblique angle (an angle that is not 90 degrees).
People often ask what the best angle is for their type of face. Turns out, there isn’t just one best angle for everyone!
To achieve that best angle you have to consider the subject’s face shape, hair length, and skin quality.
For example, if you have a broad forehead, you should avoid posing straight on because this will make your forehead appear even larger.
In the same way, someone with a wide or round face is best enhanced by posing at an oblique angle (an angle that is not 90 degrees).
In almost all cases it is best to avoid posing from the side of the subject’s face where the nostril is not located centrally over the pupil.
What is the Most Flattering Angle for Headshots?
The most common angle for headshots is to have the camera placed in front of the face looking down at least slightly.
The best angle for headshots like this is to tilt the camera down ever so slightly.
If you want the best angle for headshots with a straight-on pose, one where the subject’s eyes are directly over the camera, it is best to raise the camera up high and shoot downwards.
This angle for headshots will best accentuate the fullness of your subject’s face.
Slight angles work best for headshots because they are best at flattering people who have bad angles or features.
Angles should not be too extreme and would be best left to expert photographers with experience.
Should Headshot Photos Be Straight On?
Headshots can be straight on with the camera parallel to their face, but they are not the most preferred — aesthetically speaking.
There are better angles for headshots that work best when the subject is looking straight on (such as the above the head slightly tilting down as discussed in the previous section).
For example, it is best to have an upward gaze when photographing somebody with a broad forehead or someone with downturned lips because this makes their features appear less pronounced.
But of course, you don’t want to go overboard and have the camera too high up — take some photos and find the sweet spot.
The best angle for headshots if you want to minimize the appearance of wrinkles is best to pose the head slightly turned with the chin directed towards the camera.
This will sort of “stretch” the wrinkles if that makes sense!
So while there is no “one best angle,” there are definitely recommended and common angles, with the most common one being the camera slightly above the subject facing down — while the subject is slightly turned.
This guide is a part of our Headshot Photography Tips Hub, so be sure to check that out for more headshot photography tips and insights.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you tilt your head in a headshot?
Whether or not to tilt your head in a headshot depends on the specific context and desired outcome of the headshot. In general, a slight tilt of the head can add visual interest and convey a sense of approachability, but it should be done subtly and in a way that doesn’t create unflattering angles or distortion of the face.
Can headshots be at an angle?
Yes, headshots can be taken at an angle to add visual interest and convey a sense of personality. However, the angle should be subtle and not create unflattering angles or distortion of the face, and it should still maintain a focus on the subject’s face as the primary point of interest.
What makes a bad headshot?
A bad headshot can be the result of several factors, including poor lighting, unflattering posing, and distracting backgrounds. Additionally, a headshot that fails to capture the subject’s personality or convey the desired image can also be considered a bad headshot.
Nate Torres is a seasoned photographer and marketing consultant, providing educational photography content while also teaching photographers how to grow their business and brand through SEO. Beyond the lens, he’s an authoritative voice in the photography industry, serving as a speaker and photography author for renowned photography publications such as Photofocus, SLR Lounge, and Fstoppers. An entrepreneur and lifelong learner at heart, Nate is also the co-founder of Imaginated, an educational platform. Nate shares his insights on his YouTube channel, “Nate Torres,” and on his personal photography blog, Nate Torres Photography. But his expertise doesn’t stop at photography. Whether it’s elucidating the nuances of marketing within the realm of photography or sharing broader marketing insights, Nate Torres brings to the table a wealth of expertise, ensuring readers and audiences benefit from both his photographic acumen and marketing knowledge.