© 2019 SPIE Background: A requisite for fNIRS studies of cortical blood flow is that sufficient photons are transmitted transcutaneously for the fluctuations in cerebral hemoglobin oxygenation that occur during neuronal activation to be detected. Transmission is determined by the specifications of the fNIRS device, but also influenced by the characteristics of the skin. Epidermal pigments can attenuate photon transmission; the literature states that in dark skinned subjects some NIRS devices may not achieve sufficient photon migration to monitor cortical blood flow. Hence, as fNIRS use is spreading, we describe a simple head tilt maneuver where positional redistribution of cerebral blood volume will confirm if photon transmission is sufficient. Methods: A repetitive head tilt maneuver (bending forward from a seated position, hold for 30 seconds, returning to original position X 5) performed by a pigmented (African) subject and a non-pigmented (Caucasian) subject. A 23- channel portable fNIRS system with dual wavelength (750 and 860 nm) emitters and photodiode detectors was worn over the anterior cortex, and changes in oxy, deoxy and total hemoglobin concentration measured at 50 Hz. Results: Data from both subjects were compared and found to have a comparable pattern of change in oxyhemoglobin concentration and temporal response to the effects of head tilt; clear arterial pulsations and minimal noise were also evident. Conclusion: We suggest the head tilt maneuver described as a feasible test to confirm the adequacy of transcutaneous photon transmission where fNIRS studies are to be performed in subjects with pigmented skin to detect hemodynamic change in the cortex.