Over the last couple of months I've taken headshots for some lovely business owners, and I've also had some headshots taken myself. I now know first hand that preparing for a headshot session can be a little nerve-wracking! After all these photographs will become the face of your business, and you'll want to feel really proud to have them on your website, social media profiles or even in the press.
It's perfectly natural to feel a little nervous, but with a little preparation you can set yourself up for success, and walk away with some headshots that you love. Read on for my tips for preparing for your headshot session.
Choosing the right photographer for your headshots
If you want to be sure that you'll walk away with headshots you'll love, start by choosing the right photographer. There are so many options out there when you first start looking for a photographer that it can feel overwhelming - you could choose one who shoots exclusively in a studio, or one who will photograph you on location. You could choose the one who is cheapest, or the one who is most expensive.
Making the right choice matters though - find a photographer who's style you love, who you have good chemistry with and who you trust, and you're much more likely to love your photos. I recommend doing your research, and spending time talking to potential photographers on the phone or in person before deciding whether to book. Give yourself time and space to consider the different photographers you've spoken to, and what each offers before you make your decision.
Looking great in photos is all about mindset
There are lots of things you can do to feel good about your appearance in photographs, but the most important thing is to feel good about yourself. If you are feeling awkward or uncomfortable it really will show in the photographs. So what can you do to change this?
This is definitely a time to invest in you. Think about what makes you feel like you can take on the world - perhaps it's a particular song, reading a motivational book, or your favourite lipstick. Whatever it is, make sure you have time before your session to do that thing and get into a place where you feel fabulous!
It can also help to practice being in front of the camera beforehand. If (like me) you're a little camera shy, you probably avoid being in front of the camera most of the time. But like anything in life, being in front of the camera becomes easier with practice so do it as often as you can before your session.
Choosing what to wear for your headshots
The dreaded dilemma of what to wear! A good place to start when choosing clothes for your session is to think about what you're planning to use the photographs for. Most headshots are for promoting yourself or your business, so what's the image you want to project? Most business owners will choose to wear an outfit that they would wear to meet clients - for some this will be a suit, for others workout gear, and for others something in-between. Each business is unique.
Whatever you choose to wear, it's better to go for clothes that have a bit of shape to them. Loose fitting clothes don't work as well in photos as well fitted ones do - they tend to look even more shapeless and hence less flattering. Opt for something that fits well, has shape to it and is not too loose.
It's also a good idea to talk to your photographer about bringing more than one outfit. Changing a top or other part of your outfit part-way through the session can give a completely different look and give you a wider choice of photos to choose from. You may also want to choose one outfit that you would wear in spring or summer, and another that you'd wear in winter - that way you can share seasonally relevant photos all year round.
Spend some time on your hair and make up
It might seem a bit OTT, but giving some extra time to your hair and make-up before the session can give your photographs a wonderful edge. If I think about those times in my life when I've spent more time on my hair and make-up, or had someone do it for me - such as for my wedding - I have loved the photos afterwards. And that's how I hope you'll feel about your headshots!
Generally speaking it's better to wear a bit more make up than you normally would when you're having photos taken. As a guide, think about how you'd apply your make up for a special occasion. Some clients opt to have their make up done professionally before a shoot - there are lots of mobile hair and make up artists in my area so you may find the same in yours. If you're in London you could try Perfect 10.
If you have colour on your hair and are worried about your roots do get them touched up before your session as it's not the kind of thing that can be fixed afterwards. If you're planning a new hair style, book your appointment for a couple of weeks before the session so you have time to get used to it and feel comfortable.
Over to you
I hope these tips help you walk away with headshots you love. What other questions do you have about headshot photography? Let me know in the comments below - I'd love to hear.