As a professional photographer, my clients often ask for advice on how to prepare for a session. In this brief article, I will provide 3 tips to help you get an awesome professional portrait of yourself. Careful preparation will help ensure success and allow us to work together to help create something special.
Tip #1 – Wardrobe
Although some might say “it’s just a headshot,” the little details matter. We want you to give careful consideration to your wardrobe choices.
The safe bet is to bring some different options to see what photographs best. Do you want a more casual look or more formal? What is the standard for your industry or the field you are entering.
First, we highly recommend bringing a few dark solid colored coats or sweaters. Black, Navy, and Gray all work well for this.
We want to keep the focus of the image on your face and light or brightly colored outfits tend to steer the viewers eye away from the face.
Similarly, sleeveless blouses for women tend to draw attention to the light colored flesh tones of the arms and can also pull the viewer’s attention away from the face.
Some tight patterns can cause Moire and therefore should be avoided.
We don’t mean to suggest you can’t have color in your photo however. A bright and saturated colored top usually works well under the jacket since the colored element is being used sparingly. For men a colored tie works well.
Also think about bringing clothing items that are all the same color family. For example, various shades of blue or perhaps a more monochromatic look with shades of black and gray.
Lastly, clothes should be in good condition, freshly laundered, and pressed. Again the details matter and you want to look polished.
Tip #2 – Hair
Bad hair days happen to us all, but don’t let them ruin your photo. Hair is one of the more challenging things to try and fix in post-production and to keep looking natural. Therefore, it is important to manage hair during the photo shoot.
At a minimum, have your hair styled by a professional just before your session. For men, it’s best to get a hair cut a few days before your headshot session to allow the cut to grow in a little. For the ladies, a visit to a stylist or blow out bar right before your shoot is a good tip. We have another post which links several salons that are in close proximity to our studio.
If your prone to having frizzy hair and the forecast calls for rain, you may want to consult a stylist about products that can help.
Of course the best scenario, is to have a stylist (or friend) with you during the shoot itself, but we recognize not everyone has the budget for that. Not only does a stylist help style your hair at the beginning of the shoot, but they (or a trusted friend) can be on hand to do touch ups and whisk away distracting hairs, as you change poses as the shoot progresses. You will know your hair best and if it is difficult to control.
Although it is expensive to hire a stylist and MUA, considering most people only get a new headshot once every several years, think of it as a sound investment that can be amortized over the life-span of the image.
Tip #3 – Make-up
Great looking makeup is also a key component to a great image. What kind of makeup you use is just as important as how it is applied. Makeup becomes very important if you are prone to oily skin and when looking at skin pores. Blemishes can easily be removed in Photoshop but poorly applied makeup, too much foundation/powder, or large oily patches can be hard to address in a natural looking way.
If your doing your own makeup here are some tips to consider.
Not all make-up is “photo friendly” and some products are reflective under bright lights.
- Avoid makeup with SPF included as a component
- Avoid most mineral based powders
- Use Smashbox products or similar brands that are designed for photo shoots and will not reflect the bright studio lights.
Although your regular amount of make-up probably looks great for everyday use, under the bright studio lights it can also look washed out. Therefore, it’s also important to bring a kits with you for some touchup’s during the shoot and be able to add some lipstick, eyeliner, or blush if needed. Most people end up putting on a little more of these items than they usually wear.
We hope these three tips are helpful when preparing for your headshot session.
If you have any additional questions on how to prepare for your session please let us know and send an email before your shoot.