5 Things to do to Prepare for a Headshot

#1 Communicate your goals and purpose.

(new website, new opportunity, social media presence, press release, recruitment i.e LinkedIn) –

Pick three words that you would want employers, colleagues and  your followers to use when describing you as a professional. Now, look at your current headshot. Does it convey those ideas? If not, how you would create a photo fitting that description? What would you wear? What facial expressions would best convey these qualities? What body language or pose? The answers to these questions will help you prepare for your upcoming photo shoot.

Show the photographer examples of what sort of headshots that you like.  That will give me information on how you want to be photographed.

What are your goals for your headshot
how to prepare for a headshot

#2  What to Wear?

You have to love it !

Be yourself with your style .  You want it to be about you and not your clothes.

Think of clothese that have a contrasting neckline, contrasting colors, different shapes and different structures.

  • Choose clothing that is age-appropriate and fits well; make sure it is clean, neat,  wrinkle-free that isn’t really old and has been washed 50 times.
  • Bring more changes than you think you will need. Bring formal, cocktail, casual, and business attire. Men, bring a V-necked sweater, Tshirt, buttondown shirt, tie, and jacket.
  • Darker colors draw attention to your face. Saturated jewel tones are best – green, blue, red, purple, burgundy. Solids are better than patterns. Avoid distracting elements such as big buttons, text, or logos. Be sure that the fabric closest to your face provides a contrast with your skin (fair-skinned clients should avoid pastels and cream/white).
  • V-necks are most flattering for women. Avoid low necklines, narrow straps, or strapless dresses, which result in too much skin in the frame.
  • Keep jewelry simple – necklaces tend to be distracting in a headshot.

#3 The Week Before

It is important to be healthy and well rested. Exercise, eat right, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol and partying at least 24 hours prior to the shoot. Avoid excess fats, oils, and salt; drink plenty of water. Avoid things that stain your teeth such as coffee and wine. Avoid tanning (real or fake) before the shoot – sunburn never looks good in headshots and is difficult to photoshop away.

Here are some other things you can do to prepare:

  • Practice posing in front of a mirror. Rehearse a few poses and expressions that exude confidence, warmth, and approachability.
  • Consider bringing a friend to the shoot – someone who makes you laugh and smile.
  • Make a special playlist that will energize and inspire you during your session.
  • Make the most of your photo shoot schedule – plan ahead so you arrive on time. Know where your shoot is taking place, how to get there, and how long your trip will take. If you are working with a stylist and/or makeup artist, make sure they have directions.
  • Take the time to organize your wardrobe and iron your clothes the night before. Pack everything you will need so you won’t feel rushed on the day of your shoot.
How to prepare for your headshot session
prepare for headshot

#4 The Day of your Session

Treat a photo shoot like you would a performance. Don’t skip breakfast! Your body will need the energy. Leave plenty of time for preparation and travel; avoid rushing so you can arrive calm and focused. Arrive on time, with hair and makeup done. Things you will need:

  • Several outfits (with appropriate undergarments)
  • Jewelry and accessories
  • Water and snacks (especially if it’s a long shoot)
  • Makeup and hair supplies
  • Your favorite music (iPod

#5 Makeup and Hair

  • Practice your look several times before the day of the shoot. Aim for “natural glam.” Avoid glitter, shimmer, or products with excess sparkle or shine (such as moisturizers.) Avoid powder, which tends to emphasize pores and lines on camera.
  • Don’t stress about a last-minute breakout – we can remove any unwanted blemishes (and even brighten your teeth) in the retouching process.
  • Decide if you want to wear more than one hairstyle, and in which order.
  • Some clients opt to hire a makeup artist and hair stylist, or bring a friend to help.
  • Don’t get a new haircut, highlight, or color right before the shoot.
  • Don’t try a new product on your hair, face, or body the week before the shoot.
  • Consider having your eyebrows professionally shaped about a week before the shoot.
  • Guys – check for unwanted facial, nose, and ear hair before you arrive.


Makeup and Hair for headshot

How to Pose for a Headshot