As a professional photographer, my clients often ask for advice on how to prepare for a session. In this 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 help you create something special.
Tip #1 – Wardrobe
Although “it’s just a headshot” we still want to give careful consideration to what your are wearing. First, we highly recommend bringing a dark colored coat or sweater. We want to keep the focus of the image on your face and both light colored and saturated colored outfits tend to steer the viewers eye away from the face. Similarly, sleeveless blouses from women draw attention to the light colored flesh tones of the arms and can also pull the viewer’s attention away from your face. Therefore, a dark coat or sweater over a light or saturated colored top usually works well, since the colored element is being used sparingly.
Also think about bringing clothing items that are 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.
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 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. The best scenario, is to have a stylist with you at the shoot itself. Not only does a stylist help style your hair at the beginning of the shoot, but they are on hand to do touch ups as needed as the shoot progresses.
Although it is expensive to hire a stylist and MUA, considering most people only get a new headshot 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 or large oily patches can be hard to address in a natural looking way.
When choosing what makeup products to use, here are some tips to consider.
Not all make-up is “photo friendly.”
- Avoid makeup with SPF included as a component
- Avoid many mineral based powders
- Use Smashbox products or similar brands that are designed for photos and will not reflect the bright studio lights.
Although your regular make-up probably looks great for everyday use, under the bright studio lights some makeup can look washed out or become highly reflective. If you don’t want to buy a whole new line of products, hiring a make-up artist who has a photo friendly kit might be one solution.
No matter what makeup product you choose, it’s also important to bring your kits with you for some touchup’s during the shoot. Most people find the bright lights tend to wash out their makeup and they end up putting on more than they usually wear to look “normal.”
We hope these three simple 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 or leave a comment.
For our East Bay Headshots clients, we provide a “Style Guide” after booking which provides all the above information and more so that you are well prepared for your shoot with us!