Should I Smile in My Headshot?

One of the most common questions I receive from clients is, “Should I smile in my headshot?” While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, there are several factors to consider when deciding on the best expression for your professional headshot. In this guide, I’ll help you determine whether or not to smile in your headshot and how to choose the right expression that best represents your personal brand.

Consider your industry and personal brand

The type of expression you choose for your headshot will largely depend on your industry and the image you want to portray. For example, if you work in a more creative or relaxed field, a warm and approachable smile might be more fitting. On the other hand, if you’re in a more conservative or formal industry, a subtle, confident smile or a neutral expression might be more appropriate. Think about your personal brand and the image you want to convey to potential clients or employers.

Analyse your natural smile

Take some time to analyse your natural smile and determine if it represents you well. Practice smiling in front of a mirror, focusing on making your expression genuine and engaging. If you feel that your natural smile is forced or awkward, it might be best to opt for a more subtle or neutral expression in your headshot.

Experiment with different expressions

Before your headshot session, experiment with various expressions to find the one that best suits your personality and brand. Try a range of smiles, from a broad grin to a more subtle, closed-mouth smile, as well as neutral expressions. This will help you feel more confident and prepared for your shoot, and it will give us a range of options to work with during the session.

Communicate with me

As your photographer, my goal is to help you achieve the perfect expression for your headshot. Don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns and preferences with me before or during the shoot. During the session, I’ll be guiding you through various expressions and poses to ensure we capture the best headshot possible. Trust my expertise and follow my directions, as I have experience in capturing a wide range of expressions that suit different clients and industries.


To sum up, the decision to smile in your business headshot depends on your industry and your natural smile. By experimenting with different expressions and working closely with me, we’ll create a captivating and professional headshot that genuinely represents you and leaves a lasting impression.

About the author
Gavin Jowitt
is an accomplished corporate communications and branding professional with over 30 years of experience as a creative director and photographer. Awarded Australian Commercial Photographer of the Year in 2019, Gavin has built a reputation for delivering high-quality photography that enhances stakeholder communication. Gavin works with a wide array of public and private sector clients providing corporate, industrial, and commercial photography services.

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