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  • Writer's pictureDean Birinyi

Look Confident in Your Company Headshots by Standing Up

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

I make the people I photograph stand up while we’re working. This helps people feel more confident and makes it easier to show enthusiasm and confidence in company headshots.

My career began with a summer job photographing kid's portraits in K-mart department stores, Walmart's slightly higher-priced precursor. I had to sit the kids down to keep them in one place long enough to be photographed.

I learned that whenever someone sits down, their posture and their demeanor changed. Invariably the kids would slouch and become more passive.

We do the same thing as adults. When we sit, we rest our weight on our spine, shifting our center of gravity towards our back. Our core muscles relax because we’re no longer holding ourselves erect. This causes our shoulders to slump and our backs to curve. We also pronate our neck, exaggerating the roundness of our back and creating an almost humplike effect.

The body language message this posture sends is a lack of enthusiasm and engagement.

We can “sit up,” but this is an unnatural and uncomfortable position and results in photographs that look forced and artificial.

When people sit down in front of a camera, they tend to adopt a passive attitude, and their anxiety about being photographed spikes.

Sample of a bad headshot of the author and a good headshot
Sample of a bad man's headshot and a good headshot

The best way to ensure all your people look like the engaged and enthusiastic team members you need for your annual reports and marketing is to have them stand for their headshots. Most people feel more comfortable in stressful situations if they’re on their feet because they instinctively know they have a degree of control.

I’ve also found that many executives are much more comfortable when they feel they’re in control of a situation.


Dean Birinyi is an award-winning photographer, founder, and owner of Silicon Valley Headshots and Professional Headshots Palo Alto. Authentic expressions of confidence and approachability are the hallmark of his executive and company headshots

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