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How To Prepare For Your Headshot Session

Most people assume that headshots are for actors or actresses to help casting directors choose if they’re the right fit for a role, but that isn’t necessarily the case. These days headshots are a powerful way to market yourself. You could be a business person, model, lawyer or perhaps you just want a good clean LinkedIn or Facebook profile image.

Part of my job as the photographer is to relieve as much stress as possible before the day of the session arrives, so that my client can get some great headshots that show off their unique personality!

But you have some work to do as well. A few days before your shoot you’ll want to start getting ready. If you’re properly prepared for the shoot you’ll not only have an easier and more stress free time during the shoot, but the resulting images will look a ton better as well.


As a general rule I recommend the following:

It’s a good idea to bring at least two different outfits with you. These should be different styles and colors (although solids tend to work better than patterns) and should represent the look you want. Also, even though we are shooting only headshots, make sure to wear a complete outfit. We may decide during the shot that you want something that shows more of you so we want to be prepared!

Clothing is a form of expression and the clothes that you pick to wear will reflect your personality in the images. My best piece of advice when choosing clothes is the simpler the better.

• Solid colors look great in headshots.

• If going with a pattern keep it simple.

• Start with a simple shirt or blouse and slowly add layers.

• Bring a few changes of clothes to the shoot.

• Make sure that ALL clothes are ironed and pressed before the shoot. Wrinkles in clothes are difficult to Photoshop out.

• Bring a lint brush or roller with you.

• Don’t necessarily worry about shoes if just shooting headshots. Comfort is important to get great pictures!

• Leave your colored contacts at home and bring clear contacts with you. Colored contacts can look very fake in photographs. Bring eyedrops with you.

Makeup and Face


• Start natural. Just enough to cover up any blemishes.

• Build up the makeup as you go. Add eyeshadow and darker lipstick later in the shoot.

• Try not to use matte styles of makeup. It will dry out your skin.

• Bring your makeup and moisturizer with you to the shoot in case your skin does get dry or you need touch-ups.

• Bring lip balm or lip gloss with you to help keep lips looking soft.

• The night before brush your lips with your toothbrush to help get rid of any dead skin.

• Don’t do any extreme beauty regimens right before your shoot, like facial peels, tanning or extensive exfoliating. Your skin can end up looking very red and irritated.

• Get rid of any unwanted hair a few days before your shoot. Clean up brows and upper lip hair.

Styling supplies you may want on hand:

o Hairbrush

o Hair ties/accessories (clips, pins etc)

o Makeup

o Makeup removal wipes


Shave right before you leave for a shoot. A 5 o clock shadow can’t be Photo-shopped easily. Use cooling gel or aftershave to help with skin irritation.

If you have oily skin, you may want to bring some oil absorbing sheets to soak up any oil or sweat that might build up during the shoot. The studio lights can get pretty hot. Some great sheets are the Clean and Clear: Oil Absorbing Sheets. You can find them at any Wal-mart or local drug store.

Grooming supplies you may want to have on hand:

• Comb/brush

• Hair accessories as needed

Final Thoughts

The point of your studio session is not only to take great pictures that will eventually turn into awesome portraits, but also to have fun while doing it! While this may seem like a lot of stuff to bring, you don’t need to bring everything into the studio, but you can leave some in the car and bring it in if needed.

What we don’t want to happen is for you to wish you had some accessory that would make a great image and you left it at home! So, while I don’t want you to feel burdened with everything you need to bring, we want to make the most of your studio session.

I hope that helps, and as always it is best to reach out with any questions before your shoot so you are sure you have everything you need.


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