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Headshot Photography with an Emphasis on Chin and Head Position

It’s the Chin that makes the Photograph

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I absolutely love photographing headshot photographs for clients –  be it for corporate clients or models or acting looks.  This applies to my approach for senior photography as well.

The essence of any great portrait is the client needs to feel relaxed, feel amazing, and totally trust their photographer.

If they have the above three then they will project their persona through their eyes-  if it’s not in the eyes then there is no portrait.

How important is the   in a headshot?  It is the shot!  Placing the chin poorly means that your create a doubkle chin, make the eyes smaller because the head is down, and creates a devious look.  And it will add more weight to the persons face.

So what should they do?  Chin forward and down –  like a small turtle.  I say that phrase so many times during a shoot-   forward and down.  Not extreeme forward and down, just a wee bit.

This will lengthen their necks a lot which is more pleasing to look at.

Part of our goal at Shari Photography is to create headshots and portraits that make you feel great!

Use the Chin wisely.

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Engagement Urban

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The Groomsmen

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Wedding Dress Ritz Carlton

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Dynamic Headshots

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For portraits and headshots there is no finer lens than the Canon 85 mm 1.2.  Breathtaking images when opened up.

Posing tip:


bring the models shoulders into play on the poses. Don’t let them just sit there.

Once I have my position I will ask the model to do a variety of movements with their shoulders-  lift, drop, roll forward, and other simple instructions.


Placement of the chin in relation to the shoulder is the next element.  the key is to keep experimenting-  like have the chin over the shoulder or maybe tilted forward.

But, never have the chin rest on the shoulder.  There must be a gap.


Canon 5D Mk 3

85 mm. 1.2 L

f 2.2   1/500

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Canon 28-300 L Field Report Photography

Canon 28-300 L Field Report Photography


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Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM Lens

Against my better judgment I rented the 28-300 for a sporting event I was hired to cover.  I thought the wide zoom would be a fun lens to bring to my backup   my trusted 300 2.8.

While the 28-300 has an impressive range that it can cover, the quality of the images zoomed out are not worth the range.  Between 250-300 the images are noticeably soft.  Image contrast and color saturation is also too low in all areas.

This lens needs a mono pod because it is heavy.  But even with the monopod and a super fast shutter speed  the images were unusable and unsale-able  for print.  The only images that were decent were around the 150mm range and f 5.6.  At f5.6 there is too much of the background in focus to make the image pop.

It’s a fun lens, but for paid assignments it is not going to work.

Which lens does work?


 Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens

This is a monster that can win every battle.  It is heavy and requires a monopod.  And it’s not cheap.  But the image quality is incredible.

Razor sharp at 2.8, intense color saturation, and good contrast.  If you nail the exposure, then every image is spot on.  It is really incredible how good each image looks!

There are so many times as I edit through Lightroom where I catch my breath because of how incredibly sharp the images look.   And the Bokeh—- intense and buttery.

I have relied on the 300 for the last 8 years for certain events, and it has never failed me.

If you need to use a lens for an event-  get the 300 2.8.  You will not regret it.


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Frame a Wedding Portrait

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I always like to include a frame in photographs.  It creates a lovely balance in each image.  Trick is finding them on a rushed day.

I have a mental check list once I enter any location on the wedding day.

These are must have essential critical features that will make a photograph amazing-

1-  The first on the list is light source-  where is the best light coming in the room?  I’m like a hound –  I am obsessed with finding and using the light  area with the best flow of light.  That’s how I think of light-  a flow.

2-  Clutter- free space-  I am also a furniture mover.  My and my 2nd will move anything we can put of the way to get a clean space in the light flow.  Don’t forget the shoes, bras, bottle, glasses, bags etc… that will be in the background.

3-  Frame-  I love to include a simple frame if possible.  The above image has the 2 rows of light running by each other.  It creates a lovely balance and is not too obvious.  I actually train my eye to look for the above 3 whenever I am in a non wedding location.  At the dentist, hardware store, gas station…  It’s a little game I play to keep me sharp.

There are other mental checklist items which I will post in greater detail  on another post.  But for now, try adding the above to your mental checklist.


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Brides and Dynamic Posing

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