Some fashion advisors offer tips on how to manage double chins and neck wrinkles. However, their strategy is to distract the viewer’s attention rather than optically toning down the undesirable structures, and many of their advice are poor choices for photography. On this page, we’ll discuss things that are more likely helpful in photographs.
First of all, don’t go extreme in the effort to manage double chins. You are still much better off choosing outfit styles that are appropriate for your audience, your professional persona and that reflects your career path strategy.
If you are wearing collared shirts, the collar should be of a color that is darker than your skin tone. The light that falls on your face will also fall on the collar, and if light colored, reflects a lot of light back up and give some highlight to create the second chin. If you worry about a double chin, you would be better served to keep the area under your chin dark, but you can’t do that if you wear a bright white shirt with a white collar! The illustrative photograph above includes a white bow tie, which also helps double chin emerge. Choosing a shirt from a color that is darker than your skin tone is probably a good idea.
Of course, this doesn’t matter much if you wear a low neck shirt, because of the greater distance between the fabric and the chin, and the angle is so that most of the light is reflected away from the chest rather than reflected up the chins. It is probably best to avoid white if wearing V-neck or boat neck.
Shadowy lighting can sometimes help, but not always appropriate. This type of lighting is most often used with people with round head because it gives an illusion of a slimmer face while accentuating the jaw line. This approach can be modified to tone down the double chins, by throwing the area into a deep shadow. However, this technique also brings up more wrinkles.
Another trick is the head positioning during the shoot. You can stand in a good straight-up posture with relaxed shoulders, and then lift and move forward the head, giving an extra distance between the chin and the chest. This stretches the skin under the chin, which makes the double chin less likely to show, and also makes it receive less of the light reflected by the shirt. However, many people who are conscious about their double chins tend to feel even more self-conscious by doing this, and this trick may hurt facial expression, an overall negative to your headshot. For best results, practice this technique with a mirror in private before the shoot, and don’t over do it during the shoot.
Then there is a choice of camera position. Typically, headshots are taken with the camera at the eye level, slightly below or slightly above. Slightly lower camera position creates more authoritative and charismatic look, so this is more often used for leaders and fashion photography. Slightly above the camera angle gives more juvenile or friendlier effect. Sometimes it gives more feminine quality to the picture. The last option, together with a wide angle lens and a “duck face” results in a typical selfie look, which is not a very good choice for professional photography. However, when done very subtly, a slightly higher angle can hide double chins.
When practicing these tricks by yourself in a mirror, keep in mind that the camera freezes the motion, so you will see more in the pictures than what you see in your eyes. Also, the camera won’t be where your eyes are, and the camera doesn’t have a psychological filter. In fact, these are why fashion advisors’ tricks often don’t work in pictures.
The ultimate solution for double chins is retouching. It costs an extra fee, but it cleans up the double chins through detailed work in Photoshop. This probably gives you extra confidence and comfort each time you use your headshot. Although this is a very powerful option, the actual benefit depends on the particular image, so please discuss this option with the photographer if you are interested.
Finally, as you see above, there is no perfect solution, and you can’t win all battles. Keep focused on what matters the most for your goals, prepare well for the best results but also learn to be ok with the best realistic outcome.