The Importance of Body Language Part 1 : Chins, Eyes and Camera Height

The importance of Body Language : Chin, Eyes and Camera Height

This is the first part of a multi-part series looking into body language when it comes to headshots and portraits. In the first part, we look at the importance of your chin position / camera height and eye contact and how subtle changes can significantly alter the end-user perception.

Take a look at these images, similar in many ways, shoulders straight on, eye contact with the camera, camera height is the same, similar attire, they are both smiling, but if you were given a choice, who would you rather contact?

The obvious difference is the lowering of the chin – but how does that make you (the viewer) feel about the person?

The Chin

When you lower your chin it can look confrontational or condescending, the appearance can be one of “looking down at the viewer” as if you are superior. In some circumstances this may be desirable – a high powered criminal attorney might want to look a bit aggressive because some clients might be looking for that bulldog in their corner, but for most people a position of equality is favourable so keep your chin fairly level or a very slight dip. Some photographs may opt for a dip because it can mask other features (a double chin for example) but a similar effect can be achieved by raising the camera angle.

Camera Height

It would be hard to avoid looking down at your viewer if the camera height is below your natural eye line; the lower the camera gets, the more confrontational you can look.

Again, if you want to look powerful and above someone, go for it. If you want to look approachable, the camera should at-least meet your eye line so your chin doesn’t have to drop and you can look ‘on par’ with your viewer. I have used the lower camera position for actors that are going for aggressive / powerful roles such as ‘mob boss’ or ‘boxer’ – the image to the left is such a case. Now of course if you really, really want to stand out the by-all-means ask for a low down perspective but there are better ways to set yourself apart without appearing to be demeaning the viewer.


Finally, let’s consider eyes. Stick with me here, but if you can keep your chin fairly level (a small uptick is fine) and look ever-so-slightly up (don’t go mad, you’ll look weird), then it opens your eyes just a fraction and can make you look humble and warm and welcoming. Those are ideal qualities for a majority of my clients but it can take a few minute adjustments to really nail.


Chin, camera height, eyes. The smallest of changes can have the biggest of impacts.It’s not one-size-fits-all but a question of what feeling you want to portray in your portrait. Have a think before your session on what your target audience will respond to – most likely they want to get the ‘warm-and-fuzzies’ just by glancing at your image.

When you go for your headshot session it shouldn’t be down to you to get these right, but your photographer should certainly be guiding you and it always helps if you can spot small changes that can improve your headshot. Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer to lower their camera angle to give you a different perspective. Chin, camera, eyes – make them work together and the end result should be someone you and your prospective clients would be happy to do business with.

By |2024-05-16T13:33:16-04:00May 16th, 2024|Uncategorized|
Go to Top