The amazing jawline.

2012-05-22 by . 5 comments

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So the jawline trick from the amazing Peter Hurley has been all the rage among portrait/headshot enthusiasts since it was released.  A jawline can make or break a picture.  It’s a difference between ‘eh’ and to quote Peter, “SHABANG!“.   Peter has specialized in headshots for years and dropped this bomb:  put your forehead toward the camera to accentuate the jawline.

Seriously, turtle your head forward a bit – you shouldn’t look like a cartoon character, but if it feels natural, you’re probably not doing it right.  This is if you’re head on, looking straight at the camera.  If you’re at angle – shift your whole head, ears first, toward the camera.  You’ll get the same effect.  The skin stretches out and shadows outline the jaw, giving it shape and definition.  For somebody with a double chin (like yours truly), it can work miracles!

(Shots were done with the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII on loan from our gear grant program – give the program a try!)

Here’s a self portrait.  The first one was me just standing around in a ‘normal’ pose.   Embarrassed to put this online…yes, yes I am.

Here’s the next one – utilizing the jawline trick.  My forehead shifts forward and slightly down.  Notice the dramatic difference in the jawline and the overall feel of the picture!


Next time you’re doing headshots (hopefully not of yourself!), get them to crane that neck forward a bit.  If it feels wrong, they’re probably doing it right!  Show them the difference just a little jawline can make.

Peter covers the trick extensively in the video linked above.  This is a short example and small ‘how to’ on just how powerful it can be.



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  • rfusca says:

    For those interested, clamshell lighting and a bare flash on camera right.

  • David says:

    You do look considerably more badass in the second shot, nice work!

  • Clabacchio says:

    I quote David; and not only because of the jawline 🙂

  • ElendilTheTall says:

    The extra make-up in the second shot makes a lot of difference.

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