Preparing for your Headshots

Properly preparation for your headshot session is essential to getting the best look for you. It starts with a discussion about the usage of the images, who will be viewing them, and the “look” / branding you want to convey. For individuals, deciding whether you want a more formal, serious look, or something less formal will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of work you’re doing or looking for, and how your audience might react to different looks.

For businesses, while everyone doesn’t necessarily need to wear the same colors or clothing, you do want the images to have some degree of consistency in background color, lighting, and overall look/impression. Individuals could have different formalities of clothing depending on their role - eg, a software developer may be wearing a shirt or top, while someone in business development could wear something a bit more formal. In general, the look should be consistent with the company branding, markets served, etc..

Below is a checklist of items that people can use, whether for an individual headshot or on-location work:


·         Get a good night’s sleep the night before our session

·         Stay hydrated

·         Let me know if you’re allergic to or are afraid of dogs


·         Wear something you feel comfortable in – something that fits well and that you like

·         Avoid bold patterns/stripes/bold colors as they will detract the viewer from your face

o   An exception here is for beauty/fashion – then having the pattern that complements hair, eye makeup, iris color may work.

·         We’re only shooting from the chest upwards so anything below that is fine

·         If you’re wearing a shirt with a collar, insure that it’s well pressed, not frayed

·         If you’re wearing a jacket, solid colors are best or very muted stripes

·         If you’re wearing a tie, be sure the colors or patterns aren’t too bold/loud

·         Feel free to bring various options for clothing if you’d like (longer sessions allow for images with different clothing looks)


·         PLEASE bring a brush/comb to the session, along with any spray/hair product you generally use

·         For guys, having a recent haircut is recommended – also, if shaving, please avoid razor burn if possible

·         If you color your hair, be sure it has been recently colored

·         Please trim any nose hair


·         Not recommended for men

·         For women, less is more – apply makeup sparingly and as smoothly as possible. Avoid highlight, particularly on nose and cheeks.

·         Watch the transitions, use tight lines for things such as mascara, lipstick, etc. if applicable


·         If you wear glasses, be sure they’re clean and not tinted

Another stellar strategy comes from a great headshot photographer in Duvall, WA, Pete Templin, who advises that to get great clothing options for your headshot session, go shopping. Take a friend or trusted advisor, find something that's super crisp, distinct, yet within the rest of my guidelines here, and here's the fun part: keep the tags on. Wear it for your headshot session, see how it serves you for the camera, then return it if you decide it's not something you'd love to have in your closet

Barry Braunstein