Saturday, August 16, 2008

How to Pose for your Headshot--get the Tension out.

I was asked by the Great Donna Kublin, President of the Arts Council of the North Valley, to take this headshot of the new Chair, Doug Clark, who is a realtor, and is also a Republican member of the House of Representatives. He was so handsome and nice and self effacing, and he brought his ridiculously polite and interesting son with him. The whole thing took less than 20 minutes, including powder, shirt change and test shots. He was a great subject. This man has this picture thing down! Doug was very relaxed, and didn't have any tension showing the whole time we shot, which was really cool. One thing that I noticed about him is that he was totally up for anything that I asked of him, which is shouldn't be, because you as a photographic subject should be totally willing throw yourself into your photographer's hands, without being pummeled into submission, but as you know, having your pictures taken feels awkward sometimes, so people stiffen up. Doug didn't. Most people hold tension in their mouths, or shoulders, or, strange as it may seem, their hands, and when in stressful situations, like going to the dentist, getting assulted by a burgular, having your picture taken (!), the stress starts there. If you wake up in the morning and your jaw hurts, you hold tension in your mouth. Take special care not to clench when you are having your pictures taken. Open your mouth...just a little. Let your lips come apart a little. You can't clench your teeth with your mouth open, now can you? Likewise with your hands. If you're in a scary movie and have to take the person next to you to the hospital for severe brusing, you are a squeezer. There's nothing that turns a tender, endearing shot of a mother and child into a claw handed nightmare than someone who holds tension in their hands. Practice relaxing your hand by holding sand, or an egg during stressful situations before your photo shoot. A huge tension gatherer is in your shoulders. Stand sideways and look in the mirror. If your shoulders are covering your ears and you're not auditioning for a J.K. Rowling film, you have a problem. The best way to get the tension is to let a friend, one of those friends who is usually too pushy for every day hanging around with, in on your secret. Ask him or her to push your shoulders down every time they see them riding up. If your friend isn't around, keep pushing your shoulders down for two weeks. You'll be so surprised at how often your shoulders are up and how high they are. The biggest place that people hold their tension is their foreheads. Take a big piece of tape, stick it on your forehead, and go about your day. You should probably do this while you're at home, preferably alone, but I have witnessed some of my queen bee models walking through the mall with tape on their foreheads, probably being copied by whe wannabees of the world
the next day at school in an attempt to be cool. You will not believe how many times that tapes pulls at your forehead throughout the day. Keep the tape on for a couple of weeks and your eyebrows will stop having a mind of their own. As an extra added bonus, you won't need Botox nearly as often.