How to Prepare for a Headshot

For most of us, getting your photo taken can be a little stressful. This guide will help you prepare for your headshot or portrait.

Its all about you!

Your headshot is about you. You are the star. The best headshots show you confident and approachable — ready to take on any challenge with ease. The viewer should want to seek you out or give you a call. Here are a few points to consider to get the most value from your headshot project.

Before even setting foot in the studio. Here are a few questions to consider. If you can answer these questions, you’ll be in great shape. Hiring a great photographer is of course important, but these questions will help guide the photographer in making the best image of you for right the purpose.

What's the Goal?

It doesn’t matter if you’re part of a large organization or a small business owner. What message do you want to send with your new picture?

Where will the image be used?

Where will people see your image? This might include websites, presentations, social profiles, print material, or even a book cover. Normally I will shoot in a landscape format to suit you which will most likely show head and shoulders with the very top of your head ever so slightly cropped. This draws the viewer to your face, providing maximum impact.

If you have specific page layout needs, let me know so I can shoot to those dimensions. For example, if you need a Facebook or YouTube banner, we’ll shoot with a very widescreen frame in mind. However, a narrow magazine column layout may require a different approach.

What image sizes do you need?

Do you have any delivery specs from your web developer or graphic designer? It’s OK if you don’t speak in pixels. Just let me know any details you have before the shoot.

What's the look?

Do you want to appear ready for the board meeting or more relaxed? 

What background is best?

Do you have a background preference? Often  clean, simple backgrounds work best. Solid white or gray backgrounds are very versatile. They’re also easily replicated as your business grows. Environmental backgrounds, which include an office or shopfront background, or even a great outdoor location can add some personailty to your image.

Dress for what you do

It's all about you. If you don’t wear a suit on a regular basis, don’t wear a suit. It’s great to push your wardrobe range for specific needs, but your main image must reflect how people see you in a professional setting on a typical day.

Keep it simple

Unless it’s part of your personal brand, opt for a basic wardrobe. You are the star of these images. So minimise anything that takes attention away from your face. There’s nothing wrong with even a simple, well-fitting T-shirt.

Bring options

Feel free to bring some bolder and softer colors, but stick with solids and avoid heavily patterned garments. Layering is a great way to quickly change up your look in the studio. For example, a casual sleeveless dress can easily be dressed up with a jacket. If you want to wear a tie, then bring a few. Ties are a great way to get multiple looks without a full-on wardrobe change.

Glasses

If you normally wear glasses, bring them. People won’t recognise you without them, and that’s not good. Don't be too worried about reflections in your glasses. Most lenses now have anti-reflective coatings and I have a few techniques to minimise the reflections, so don't worry. The only thing for you to do is clean them so they sparkle! Like, the best clean they ever had.

If you love it, bring it.

Rules are made to be broken. So if a favorite outfit or shirt immediately comes to mind, bring it. Odds are it’s a favorite because the fit is perfect. That confidence comes through on camera!

Womens Hair & Makeup

Plan to be ready for your shoot with your own makeup look. There’s no need to go overboard. Remember that you still need to look like everyday, professional you. Bring hairspray and a brush, just in case you need to do any touch-ups. Probably best not to try out a cool new look just before a shoot. Do what you feel comfortable with and what you know works for you.

Clothing fit

Fitted clothing, as opposed to flowy and blousy items, is best on camera. I create flattering looks with posing but If the clothing is too bulky, you’ll appear heavier than you are. We don't want that!

Jewellery

Shiny, sparkly things are distracting by design. Anything that takes the focus off you works against you, so keep it simple. I normally say to remove earrings and necklaces during the shoot.

Grooming for Men

Arrive with your hair styled and ready to go. If you’re planning a haircut, try to organise that for at least a few days before your session. If you want to go for the scruff look, that’s cool. But it’s either in or out — it can’t be photoshopped.

Don’t worry — you’re off the hook for makeup. I do suggest a little moisturiser though to prevent dry skin. But avoid anything that might clump in your facial hair or adds color.

Clothing fit

Correct fit is really important when it comes to dress shirts and jackets. Make sure your shirt collar is the correct size, especially if you’re wearing a tie. Dig out the collar stays, and make sure everything is neatly pressed. If you’re concerned about fit, visit a tailor. Suits and blazers tend to be slim fitting now. A 10-year-old suit will instantly date the image.


Don't forget to share this page, or my PDF guide, with your friends or colleagues.

Thanks for reading. I hope it's been useful.

If you'd like to find out more about me or my headshot sessions, click here

I'd love to chat and see how I can help your personal brand.

Jay

 

How important is your LinkedIn Profile Headshot?

Headshot or Selfie?

Not every business is the same but  more and more businesses are doing as much research as possible on potential new employees, and their first step is usually LinkedIn. Some companies more traditional in how they recruit staff but its still relevant. It's not just about finding out what you look like, it's about seeing how you present yourself; how you have built your personal brand. This has a massive influence on how people perceive you. Don't mess it up.

Why is a headshot so important? 

Think of it as your first meeting. In the digital age, it has become the norm that we are able know what a person looks like before meeting them in person. Before an interview, or client meeting, the other person will most likely have already 'met you', online via your public social media profiles.

Your headshot has to be working hard for you 24 hrs a day, waiting for somebody to click on your profile, and represent you in a professional manner.

It's without doubt your most important tool in helping to determine somebody's first impression of you - first impressions matter, so make them count.

Smile or Serious?

The answer to this is you should neither smile, nor look serious, but at the same time, do both of those things. Although it's not as complicated as it sounds.  If your headshot is primarily for LinkedIn, then it's most likely for business purposes.

Confidence and Approachability.

A business portrait, or corporate headshot, should almost always, have a mix of confidence, and approachability. It's the perfect combination.

You need to look like you know what you're doing. You've got it together and you're an expert in what you do. There's several ways to achieve this confident look, it can take a little time, because something which comes naturally to most people when they have a camera pointed towards them.

If you look relaxed, in control, then the people looking at your headshot will know that they can trust you with whatever it is they need.

So smile, of course. You don't want to look too serious or confrontational. Any type of expression you give should be genuine so no big cheesy grins. Whether a big or small smile, if it's not a real smile, it's going to look fake and people can spot that very quickly.

An experienced headshot photographer will get those genuine expressions from you, and actually make you smile.

So, your LinkedIn Headshot is very important.

It's the modern day equivalent of a firm handshake, little smile, and a confident look in the eye. It will most likely be the very first thing a potential employer, client, even employee, sees when they need to research you or your business for any reason. Make that first impression a great one!

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Thanks for reading. I hope it's been useful.

If you'd like to find out more about me or my headshot sessions, click here

I'd love to chat and see how I can help your personal brand.

Jay

Headshot Makeup Tips

Pre-Shoot Preparation

A few days before your shoot, I always advise getting into a pre-shoot routine, which is moisturise! That's right, even you men who don't usually moisturise. Ladies, if you're reading this because your man is coming in for his headshot session and he doesn't own his own, help him out! The last part of the routine is drinking plenty of water. Hydrated skin always looks best on camera. 

Using your own Makeup Artist

A makeup artist is not essential. In fact it's not for everyone. Sometimes when there is a large team group it makes sense or if you want something super special. If you decide to use a makeup artist that isn't associated with the photographer (or even if you are your makeup artist), that's absolutely fine, but don't just use any makeup artist. When researching, ask if they have experience in on-camera makeup, specifically for photography. MUAs are paid to apply makeup, and they love doing it. If your makeup artist doesn't have any on-camera experience they may well put too much makeup on you. Not because they're bad at their job, but MUAs with on-camera experience will know that we need it lighter than usual so it doesn't look too heavy in your images.  Things to avoid specifically are a heavy base and too much eye makeup.

Skin

Now I know there's a lot to consider with skin types when it comes to foundation.  I always suggest using a liquid foundation whenever possible for headshots. This isn't a strict rule. I know some people use powder for a manner of different reasons. The main reason I suggest liquid foundation, is because as I mentioned above, hydrated skin looks amazing on camera. I find that powder foundation sometimes tends to make the skin look dry, also it can appear caked on a little easier due to the residue it can sometimes leave behind. Also, if you have freckles, please try not to hide them under makeup. Your freckles look cool!

The main objective when applying makeup to your face is to even out skin tone. It doesn't have to be perfect, we've all got imperfections, and a little bit of careful retouching can work wonders.

Brows

They come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Some of us are blessed in the brow department, some of us are not. My advice is to go careful and understated. Lightly fill them in and don't go mad - they should complement your eyes not compete with them.  If they already look great, don't mess about with them.  

Lips

With lips, there's not loads you need to do. There are a few things you shouldn't do though. 

A light gloss for women or light lip balm for men is perfect. Lip liner will stand out a mile and detract from the natural look we're going for. Sometimes people apply the gloss past the edges of the lips to make the lips appear bigger. The camera (and viewer) will pick this up straight away. Its not good; let's not do that.

Eyes

Last but not least are the eyes.  Many clients comment about how good their eyes look in my headshots.  That's intentional.  I try to make them pop, sparkle, shimmer, jump out of the screen. You get the drift. They're important. And so we don't want to take away from their influence on the overall image by caking them in makeup. I always advise light eye makeup. A nice separation of the lashes, and no fake lashes if at all possible. Fake ones do tend to clump together after a while, and look way longer than normal, but good ones can look quite natural.   If you use eyeshadow, I recommend neutral colors that match your skin tone very closely. 


Thanks for reading. I hope it's been useful.

If you'd like to find out more about me or my headshot sessions, click here

I'd love to chat and see how I can help your personal brand.

Jay