Headshots aren’t just for actors and models anymore. If you need to market yourself in some way (i.e. a business owner or author), if you represent a company, or if you have a LinkedIn page, you need professional headshots to ensure the public is seeing the most professional you.

Here’s how to prepare for a professional headshot photo session:

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Clothes

  • Solid colors are best. If you really want to use a pattern, be sure to keep it simple. But remember, patterns can distract from your face, so solid-colored shirts that elongate or feature your neck are ideal.

  • Bring a few outfits just to be safe. Remember, if you don’t feel comfortable in it, don’t bring it.

  • Pack your bag the night before so you’re not stressing on the day of the shoot.

  • Make sure your clothes are ironed and pressed. Photoshop can do a lot of things, but taking out wrinkles can be challenging – and will delay the delivery of your pictures.

  • Bring a lint brush or roller.

  • Don’t worry about shoes. It’s a headshot, right? But if you want some full body shots, then bring some shoes!

Skin & Nails

  • I’m going to sound like your doctor, but drink plenty of water during the week prior to your shoot – it’ll keep your skin fresh and clear. Also, avoid fried and salty foods when possible, stay out of the sun as much as possible and get plenty of sleep!

  • A professional headshot session is not the best time to try some wild colors or patterns on your nails. Keep it simple (nude works best) so to not distract from your face. And make sure they’re done, for your hands may be included in some shots.

Hair

  • Bring a brush and some hair product to help with those random loose strands.

  • Arrive with your hair down. If you want, you can put it in a ponytail towards the end of the shoot for a more casual look.

  • If you need to pluck any hairs, do so in advance. You don’t want irritated skin for your big shoot. Also, if your skin is irritated when shaving, then shave the day before.

  • Thinking of a fresh cut or new hair style? Do it about a week before the shoot. That way you’ll be used to how your hair looks and feels – and not thinking about it while in front of the camera.

  • If you can, hire a hairstylist for the morning of the shoot.

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Makeup

  • Start natural. Be sure to cover any blemishes. Eyeshadow and dark lipstick can be added later in the shoot.

  • Try not to use any matte makeup styles – it’ll dry out your skin.

  • Don’t forget to bring your makeup and moisturizer with you. If you can, hire a makeup artist to do your makeup before the shoot and to be around for any touchups.

  • Bring lip balm or lip gloss to help keep your lips looking soft.

  • Brush your lips with a toothbrush the night before the shoot to remove any dry skin.

  • Don’t try any new or extreme beauty regimens, like tanning or facial peels, before the shoot.

  • Don’t forget to clean up your eyebrows and upper lip hair.

    This may sound weird, but don’t forget to practice ahead of your headshot session. We have our good and bad sides, so knowing which side is which will help you get the shots you want (and the angle you want). And if you’re not sure, then test out a few facial expressions in front of the mirror.

During the Shoot

  • Nervous? That’s okay. Not everybody is used to having a professional photographer in front of them and lights going off around them. Put on some music if it’ll help ease your nervousness.

  • Not being used to a professional photographer also means not being used to being posed. Some poses may feel weird, but your photographer knows what he’s doing and the end result will look great.

  • Relax! If you’re tense, it’ll show in the pictures. So relax your eyes (no deer in headlights look) and your smile (no cherry red cheeks).

  • If you need a break, then let me know and we’ll take a break!

And again, relax! We’re going to take plenty of photos, so there’s no need to be overly critical of yourself. You’ll get to see the pictures right after we take them, so if there’s a particular look or shot you didn’t like, we can redo it.

After the shoot

  • If there are certain imperfections you want removed – or kept – then let me know.

  • But be mindful that not everything can be “photoshopped.” If you’re concerned about anything in particular (i.e. a double chin) then let’s talk about it before we start taking pictures.

  • It can take up to two weeks for final images to be delivered to you. If you have a particular deadline, be sure to talk with me before our shoot ends.

So practice makes perfect, and preparation makes for perfect pictures. Just be sure to know what you want, communicate any questions or concerns you have to your photographer, then relax and have fun!