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Two and a half years ago I was introduced to the renowned New York City based Headshot Photographer, Peter Hurley, and taking his three-day “headshot intensive” where I learned copious amounts of information by the best in the business on how to photograph an incredible headshot image.


There are many pieces to creating an incredible headshot image, including but not limited to, quality lighting, proper shadowing technique, hair and make-up, clothing, and communication with your subject throughout the session.

It’s All About the Squinch

A couple of additional points, Peter Hurley has made famous as a result of a couple of YouTube videos.  The first point is referred to as “The Squinch.”  Now officially trade-marked, the Squinch, or Squinching, is very different than actually squinting which you’ve probably heard of.  If I was to ask a subject to squint, they would, in turn, most likely close their eyes to the point of becoming slits.  What Peter had realized was that what he coined as a “Squinch,” was much different.  When one “Squinch’s,” the lower eyelid rises.  This is the result of the muscle in your eye called the orbicularis oculi muscle which essentially closes the eyelids raising up.  As of this posting, the “It’s all about the Squinch,” video on YouTube has racked up over 2.8 million views. Los Angeles based photographer Justin Berrington has his own take on Squinching:  “It’s not always easy to get “Squinching” right away. So what I like to do is have my clients visualize themselves in a sandstorm and imagine they are trying to find their way through that storm. Then it’s just a matter of adjusting their squinch intensity from there.”

It’s All About the Jaw

The second concept that Peter Hurley has made famous and a part of headshot photography lexicon is “It’s All About the Jaw.”  According to Peter, “the number one way to improve somebody’s appearance is to get their jaw line out.”  There are a few reasons for doing this. When I ask a subject to bring their forehead out and down, the resulting tension in their jaw results in a stronger jawline which in turn creates a stronger image.  A stronger jawline first and foremost allows the light to wrap around the jaw to create stronger, more angular lines in the face as opposed to softer, rounder images.  Simply put, it strengthens the overall image of a person. Secondly, as we age we tend to add weight beneath the jaw line in the neck section of your “face.”   When you jut your chin out you’ll tighten up that saggy skin making you look younger and thinner (do I have your attention now?). The third way add strength to an image is to drop the front shoulder facing the camera just a touch which will also then strengthen the face and jaw. As of this posting, Peter’s “It’s All About the Jaw,” has over 3.7 million views on YouTube:

While these might seem a bit strange the techniques work and I will guarantee that if you follow them when taking any type of photo in the future you will come across looking more confident and approachable!