Optical correlation has a rich history in image recognition applications from a database. In practice, it is simple to implement optically using two lenses or numerically using two Fourier transforms. Even if correlation is a reliable method for image recognition, it may jeopardize decision making according to the location, height, and shape of the correlation peak within the correlation plane. Additionally, correlation is very sensitive to image rotation and scale. To overcome these issues, in this study, we propose a method of nonparametric modelling of the correlation plane. Our method is based on a kernel estimation of the regression function used to classify the individual images in the correlation plane. The basic idea is to improve the decision by taking into consideration the energy shape and distribution in the correlation plane. The method relies on the calculation of the Hausdorff distance between the target correlation plane (of the image to recognize) and the correlation planes obtained from the database (the correlation planes computed from the database images). Our method is tested for a face recognition application using the Pointing Head Pose Image Database (PHPID) database. Overall, the results demonstrate good performances of this method compared to competitive methods in terms of good detection and very low false alarm rates.