Learning how to find your best camera angles is a matter of determining what your goal for any given picture might be. Do you want to connect with the viewer? Appear enigmatic? Showcase your goofy sense of humor? Once you decide on your intention with the image, play around with these different angles to see what fits you best.
The full-on: A full-on face angle with your head directed at the camera and eyes forward makes the viewer feel like they’re sharing an intimate moment with a close confidant.
Three-quarter: If you want to create both connection and depth in your image, try the three-quarter angle: Position yourself at a slight angle to the camera, with relaxed arms and shoulders.
Side piece: Avant-garde and polished, the profile shot showcases the slope of your forehead, nose, and chin.
Lowered look: For a picture that emanates badassery, try angling your face downward. This dramatic face angle is great for fashionista photography.
Head-on, facing the camera: In this classic shot, your face is angled toward the camera, allowing your look and personality to shine.
Leaning in: Leaning toward the camera slightly creates a sense of familiarity and comfort, as though you’re chatting with a friend.
Over the shoulder: Finally, this slightly edgy angle can make you seem oh-so-mysterious.
Do some self-reflection. To determine your personal good angles versus your bad angles, spend some time with your reflection. “Get in front of a mirror or, better yet, a camera, and get a very close-up shot (head and shoulders),” advises acting coach Cathryn Hartt. “You can even use your smartphone to record or take still photos. Slowly change directions and angles of your face to see how it reads on-camera. Turn your head slowly from one side to another in each direction. Tilt it from side to side. Bring your chin slowly down and slowly up. Look at your face as if it were a painting to see what makes a more interesting picture. Some angles might make you look harsh. Some may make you look sweet.”
Snag your best smile. Practice different smiles—mouth open and closed, corners of the mouth up and down, smizing and not—to see what type and angle fits you best.
Take it on the chin. If the nose knows, the chin wins. These tips, compiled by Hartt, can help you find your best chin looks and angles for different roles:
- Chin slightly up: This angle makes you appear to be the goofy best friend or second banana. (Chin up too high makes you come off as a snob. Chin up even higher can help you to look maniacal.)
- Chin slightly down: Try this picture angle when you want to appear as the lead. When you shoot your headshots, doesn’t the photographer remind you frequently to bring your chin down a little? This causes your eyes to open a bit and allows the light to catch your cheekbones.
- Chin down a bit more: Use this angle for bullies or power characters of any kind (including villains as well as powerful action heroes). If you are supposed to do a monologue where your victimized character finally decides to claim her life, try starting with your chin up and, as you get courage, bring your chin down to the power spot.
- Chin down too far: Avoid this angle unless you’re aiming to look creepy and demonic. As you change, start with chin up more and slowly bring it down as you morph into the monster.
- Chin slightly down and three-quarters turn: Everyone looks great with the chin slightly down and your head turned about three-quarters to the side. This angle is great for anything from flirty, innocent, and shy, all the way to mean and mischievous.