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5 Tips for Preparing for Your Headshot Session

ABC's of Headshots - Part 2


headshots part 2

I’ve been shooting entrepreneur and actor headshots for many years. Some people are returning clients who are seasoned at being photographed – updating their headshot every two years. For others, it’s their first experience. So, what makes a good headshot and how should prepare for one? Aside from what we covered in part 1 – a good headshot reflects you and your brand. You’re selling your wonderful face, but your personality should also shine through with a photo that pops!

Check out our 5 tips for getting ready for your headshot session.

1. What kind of headshot are you looking for?

Outdoors? In the studio? Three-quarter body shoot? White background? Dark background? It’s always a great idea to bring examples with you to show the photographer. It will help them understand exactly what you want. Or, what you don’t want. If you had a previous headshot you were unhappy with bring that too. Remember, a photo is worth a thousand words to explain what you are looking for.

2. The many looks of you

Think about how you will be using your headshot and what you want to project about yourself. For instance, actors should think about what kind of roles they will be auditioning for and what kind of characters they want to play. What type are you? Young ingenue? Older character actor? Romantic lead? Discuss this with the photographer in advance so you both are moving toward the same outcome.

I suggest two different kinds of expressions for business people and actors: An open, inviting smile and a non-smile. Don’t confuse the non-smile with a look that is angry or serious. Think of it more as looking off in wonder…the model face – determined, capable, in control. For men this can be harder to capture, as “serious” can translate as “criminal” – and we don’t want that! Practice your many faces in front of a mirror.


If you are an author of an upcoming book, what impression do you want to give your readers about yourself? Self help authors will want to look friendly, trustworthy and approachable. W here as a true crime writer may want to look serious and knowledable.

I always ask people what their best side is, and I'm amazed when they look at me questioningly. This is the age of the selfie! We all know, consciously or subconsciously, what angle we look best at. But don’t fret if you can’t tell, a good photographer can figure it out quickly.


3. What to wear

Your headshot is about you, not the clothes or jewelry you have on, so keep it simple.

  • Choose a neckline that is flattering for you. No one can go wrong with a V-neck shape.

  • Choose solid or jewel tone colors. Maybe something that brings out your eyes.

  • Whites and patterns are a no-no. White is often much to contrasty under the studio lights, and we don’t want anything to take away from your face.

  • Keep your jewelry simple – no heavy necklaces or earrings.

  • Make sure your clothing is clean, wrinkle-free and lint-free.

  • Bring a few changes, so you and the photographer can discuss them.

4. Timing

Don’t schedule an early morning shoot – everyone is “puffier” in the AM. You’ll be at your best by 11 AM or later. Don’t rush to your photo shoot. You don’t want to show-up disheveled and perspiring. Take your time. Know where you are going and plan accordingly.

5. Make-up and hair

If you feel comfortable doing your own make-up, practice it the week before. You want to go for a natural/glamorous look.

  • Stay away from ultra shimmery shadow, glitter, and sparkly makeup.

  • Dark lipstick only looks good on a few people – stick with more natural/neutral tones and a gloss to accentuate.

  • Consider seeing a professional make-up artist prior to your shoot. But, like picking a photog, vet the artist first ­– get a recommendation from the photographer and tell the artist what kind of make-up look you want. We offer world-class professional makeup artists here at our studio.

  • For men, try a translucent powder if you tend to shine.

  • Don’t worry about pimples or if your teeth aren’t perfectly white. We can fix that with post-production retouching.

  • Hair styles should be similar to what you would like in real life - shiny and straight or curly and full. For women, consider getting a blow-out the morning of.


Looking for more info? Give us a call to discuss your needs and see what we can create for you! Schedule a free 15-minute call HERE.

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