Military Head & Shoulders Photography Best Practices

Article 1 min
Use these tips to take the best head and shoulders studio photos. Check your service-specific regulations to ensure your photo is set up in accordance with those guidelines.

Follow these tips to take professional head and shoulder-length photos of your subject:

  • Set up the shot so the top of the frame is two inches above the head and the bottom of the frame is at, or just below, mid-chest.
  • Pose the subject facing camera with left shoulder forward.
  • Select the background governed by your service or unit standard operating procedures.
  • Set the camera height to be level with the subject’s upper lip and the tip of the nose.
  • Use a camera aperture that will allow for the eyes and ribbons to be in focus.
  • If the service member has sleeve rank, take the photo in a manner to allow the sleeve rank to be vertically bisected when cropped for the final print.

When in the studio, use the infographic below as a quick reference.

Imagery of placing subject in natural pose, a light-colored background, an f/8 aperture setting, framing from at least 2 inches above the top of the head to below the feet, and camera positioning at the subjects waist.
Review the recommendations on posing, background, frame, aperture setting, and camera position for a full-length portrait. Note how a professional portrait looks on a service member with a shave waiver. Be sure to check with your service-specific regulations.
VIRIN: 200727-D-ZW071-0003

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