My Photographer's Top 10 list of ways to prepare for an incredible business, professional or actor headshot session. Of course everyone is different, so this is general info based on years of experience and work with headshot clients. If you have questions on this information, please ask!
Top Ten Tips for a GREAT Headshot Session:
- When selecting your photographer consider, FIRST: that you resonate with the work you see on his or her website/portfolio. Are the eyes the main focus of the shots? Do you feel personality and connection in the subjects? Is the lighting flattering? Do the photos look approachable and professional? SECOND: do you feel comfortable communicating with your photographer? Is he or she willing to talk with you on the phone? Your comfort level the day of your session is critical to getting great connection in your photos.
- Wardrobe: Generally you should bring 3-4 different looks to your photo session. We may not shoot them all, but it’s great to have options. Think simple, and keep wardrobe options in line with your brand. Think about varying necklines and fabric textures. Clothes that fit close to your body are more flattering in photos (no matter your body type, I can pose you in more flattering ways if your clothing is not baggy or boxy). Think about colors that compliment your skin tones (bring options outside of black or white -- colors that compliment your eyes, skin tone or hair are best). Nothing flashy or busy that will distract from YOU (so no logos or busy patterns). Jackets and layers are great to create variety. Jewelry will often distract from you, so unless it’s part of your brand (and you are confident it will stay that way until your next headshot session) you may want to skip it. NOTE for ACTORS/MODELS who have agency representation: definitely talk with your agent if you think he/she will have input regarding styling!
- At least a week prior to your session: gather and TRY ON your wardrobe items. If you’re only doing a headshot, no need to worry about pants (I mean, you’ll need to WEAR pants to the session, of course... ) Check that they are clean and that they still fit you well. Don't forget to include any undergarments needed (i.e. no striped undershirts/black bras under light shirts!!) and... please launder / press as needed. And if we have an urban or location session in which we will be walking around, be sure to PACK your wardrobe in a way that it is portable and can comfortably sit on a sidewalk while we are taking photos.
- If step number three has left you uninspired, perhaps it’s time for a new shirt or two? (which is why step 3 is NOT the night before your session). No need for anything fancy unless that’s your brand. Your headshot should be a direct reflection of you, as you are. For actors, you want to arrive at your audition looking essentially like your headshot for it to be the most effective tool.
- A few days prior, make sure you stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. Think of this as you would preparing for an audition or interview. This will help keep your skin clear and eyes bright! Don’t stress if you wake up with blemishes the day of your session (and don’t mess with them as it will generally make them worse -- let photoshop do the magic there!)
- Exercise the week prior so you feel great (especially if that’s your thing), but there’s no need to put off a headshot or portrait session just so you can “loose a few pounds.” You’d be amazed what good posing can do to flatter every and any body! Light exercise before your session can add a healthy glow to your skin.
- Day of session: make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with directions to our meeting place and leave yourself time to negotiate traffic and parking. Nothing worse than arriving frazzled, except perhaps arriving late when there might be a session scheduled after yours. Loosing out on session time stinks!
- Eyebrows / Nails / Facial Hair: clean up / trim / etc. as necessary, but please DO NOT try out a brand new haircut/style the week before your session (take it from clients who have learned this lesson the hard way)! If you’re getting professional makeup and/or hair, arrive with your face and hair clean. If you wear makeup normally, feel free to bring a snapshot of how you’d like your makeup to look so your professional makeup artist can compliment your normal look, making it "camera ready" (this is especially important for actors). If you aren't getting a professional makeover, wear your normal shades of mascara/lip color, just be sure to refresh right before our session (even if you don't normally wear makeup, mascara and lip tint is great to highlight your features but still look natural). Guys, a bit of lip balm or chapstick can be your best friend for hydrated, non-cracked lips!
- Trust that you’ve hired a photographer who has experience and will be able to direct you into your most flattering poses (this is critically important since you can’t see yourself, after all!)
- If you have done your homework on 1-9, the only thing left for you to do is to relax into the session, HAVE FUN and allow your photographer to direct you to project your very best!!
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CHEERS to creating a fantastic HEADSHOT EXPERIENCE!