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Directing a model is a skill that every photographer needs to have, and a recent shoot with Olivia gave me an opportunity to practice! One of the most important features of someone’s face is the jawline. Unfortunately, if a person sits or stands naturally, without direction, they usually don’t look their best on film. They have a tendency to lean back and smile. They may have a double chin or look like they’re slouching.

As photographers, we need to direct people and help position them for the most flattering results. Doing “The Turtle” (made famous by top model, Tyra Banks) is one of the silliest expressions I’ve heard, but it describes how you feel when you accentuate your jawline for a photo. You have to literally stick your neck out like a turtle! Go ahead, try it! Here’s a link to Tyra’s explanation.

“Chin-Forward-and-Down” is another common phrase, but it’s a little confusing, and most people end up sticking their chins out too far, and their chins look too big in the camera. I recently heard another phrase that works a little better: “Forehead-to-the-Camera”. If you point your forehead to the camera, your chin automatically goes down, AND our eyes get bigger, which is always better! If you’re getting your headshot taken soon, it’s worth practicing these techniques in the mirror. This also works with selfies!

A tutorial by Peter Hurley (a rockstar headshot photographer in NYC), will explain in detail how this works. Below is the video (it’s a little long, but worth the lesson). Even if you’re just posting your profile on Facebook, it’s worth looking your best!

Here are the best shots of Olivia. Some of them have better jawlines than others, but sometimes you have to sacrifice a fun, natural expression for a slightly double chin.