Your Guide to Prepare for Headshots

 

Hydrate and Rest. Staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest can go a long way in maintaining a refreshed look. By staying hydrated, you can naturally prevent dry and tight skin, and with staying rested you can prevent from appearing tired and rid those unsightly dark circles under the eyes. Hydrating and resting also aids in creating a natural glow along with maintaining good energy while at your session.

Skin Care and Tanning. Please refrain from tanning (sun or bed) two to three days at least before your session. Tanning will leave unwanted color and texture in your skin that my camera will pick up. If you do want to tan, plan ahead to allow time for your skin to heal. This also holds true for micro-blading your eyebrows, you actually need up to two weeks for this healing process. Anything that effects your skin will need to have healing time. We want your skin to have a natural and refreshed glow.

Planning Ahead. Think ahead for your headshots… are you planning on doing a drastic hair style change, such as going from long to a pixie cut? What about dying your hair? Something to think about for your headshots, if you are planning on doing something of that nature, plan to get that done before your session. We aim to capture the best true to life headshots so they should match how you will currently look.

Know your Role. Whether your headshots will be used on a company website or your LinkedIn, understanding your role is essential to reaching your target audience or clients. Are you a lawyer? Practice on whether you want to convey yourself as approachable and confident or stern and serious. Pediatrician? Kids are very receptive to smiles, parents want a doctor they can trust with their pride and joy. Real Estate or Financial industry? You’ll need to convey an inviting and trustworthy expression. It comes down to conveying an authentic representation of yourself and the position you want to be in.

Attire and Styling. We may not work through them all, and we may not even need to, but it’s better to over prepare than to under prepare your clothing options. Try things on before your session. Do they look and fit nicely? Perfect! Are they too snug? Ditch it! If we are doing portraits in addition to your headshots then you’ll want to consider the entire outfit. Clothes you can easily move around in work best for that part of the session. Also remember if you wear clothes that you feel great in then it will also boost your confidence!​ See below the different examples for both acting and business headshots.

Consult your Agency. If you are signed with a talent agency, I highly recommend you consult with them. They will guide you on what exactly you need to bring to achieve the looks needed for your portfolio. Actors and models who understand their characters and niches will create a nice range of headshots that their agencies can successfully use. Practice, practice, practice, Pull up some inspiration on Pinterest, or YouTube clips, and study. Please don’t be the person who doesn’t do their homework. I want the best for you and together we can make that happen!

Understand the role you want to be in.

Headshot Wardrobe and Styling

Coordinate your attire and styling.

Consult your agency for character marketing.

What Should I Wear for my Headshots

 

Again, this is a headshot experience, to get the best from it keep in mind that it’s all about you. There is no need to over dress, we will get amazing images which comes from your eyes and your expression, not your clothing attire. However, if there is something you own and absolutely love, bring it, we will work it in towards the end of session.

What to wear: 

  • Black, white or any shade of gray (gray on gray is the most aesthetically pleasing).
  • Solid colored earth and/or jewel tones (bonus points if the tones match your eyes.
  • Layers, bring a jacket or sweater that compliments one or more of your shirts/tops.
  • For the Headshots Lite Session bring 2 – 3 outfits. For Headshots Essentials or Personal Branding bring at least 6 – 8 outfits.
  • Also, for headshots, we will only be photographing you from the chest up, portraits/personal branding however will be full body.
  • To see examples of what looks best for what to wear please visit either my Acting Headshots or Business Headshots portfolios.

Pro Tip #1 – Iron or press – Plan ahead to get this taken care of, wrinkles are very distracting and give a sloppy appearance. Please take the time to do this. If your headshots are being done with your company, prepare by bringing your clothes in a garment bag or on a hanger, don’t wear it the day of.

What not to wear: 

  • Baggy or oversized clothing (they add weight and give a sloppy appearance).
  • Loud colors, logos and dominating patterns/textures, (these are distracting, the focus is you not the fashion).
  • High collared shirts/jackets (you have a neck, we want to see it, hidden necks appear stumpy).
  • Wrinkled clothing (again, wrinkles are distracting and give a sloppy appearance).
  • Bright, clunky, dangling or gaudy jewelry (another form of distraction that we are better without).

Pro Tip #2 – Buy and Save – Is there a jacket or top at the mall that’s calling your name? Go back and get it! Leave the tags on, bring it to the shoot then return it when we are done.

Earth or jewel tones matched to your eyes.

Gray on gray is aesthetically pleasing.

Black tops add a touch of sophistication.

Suits and Professional Attire for Business Headshots

(For men or women who choose to wear business suits) 

Pro Tip #3 – Fine Tune Tailoring – If you plan to wear a suit, try it on and make sure the suit is properly fitted before your session, this will give you time to address any issues. Please ensure it has been dry cleaned or pressed and bring it to the session in a garment tote.

  • Bring a couple different suits with various ties and collared shirt combinations.
  • Remember, a suit’s fit can make or break your headshot session.
  • Don’t have a suit? Bring a couple of your best sports coats, those can work just as well.

Bonus Tip – Can’t tie a decent knot? Then no fret! I can honestly tie a darn good looking double Windsor. Bring your ties wrinkle free and I will have you looking snazzy.

Color coordination and fitting is essential.

Black and gray layering is timeless.

White on white is minimal yet pristine.

Please take a few minutes review my Guide to Wearing Suits for Headshots to ensure your suit is looking it’s best for a next level headshot.

Tips for proper suit etiquette? I have you covered!

Click the image for my guide and preventing this suite and tie fail.

Headshot Makeup Artist Team

 

Although it’s not required, I do recommend going with one of the talented artists I work closely with. Their work can be seen throughout my portfolio and home page. Each of the artists are lisenced have been professionally trained in clean and natural make-up, a technique optimal for headshots. You may be asking, why use an artist from my team vs your own, or even doing it yourself, well there are two major benefits –

Benefit One – ​They are trained professionals who are familiar with my lighting system and can meet the the diverse makeup needs of each client, no matter your complexion. The goal of professional headshot make-up is to end with a result that looks like there is not much make-up applied in the first place. That doesn’t mean, less applied, it’s just applied differently using advanced techniques. ​In addition, they can also do light hair styling to achieve different looks throughout your session.

Benefit Two – They remain on set throughout the entire session. By doing so, adjustments are made based on lighting, styling and the clients preferences to build their looks up as we progress further into the session. They also to tend to make-up corrections such as lipstick or eye make-up smudges along with flyaway taming. Frequent hair placements and makeup touch ups are necessary to get the best scenarios in between sets. This allows me to concentrate on working with you to bring out the best expressions with each of the sets. Plus, when it comes to the styling, it’s always good to have a second opinion!

Here’s an article that I wrote “5 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Professional MakeUp Artist for your Headshots”. This will help you decide if hiring a make-up artist is right for you.

If you are hiring my team, please arrive with no product on your face and your hair lightly styled as you would normally wear it on a good hair day.

  • If you own a particular color lipstick or eye shadow, then bring it in, we can try to work that in towards the end of the session.​

Pro Tip #4 – Pampering – You are essentially treating yourself to a pampering session when you hire an on set makeup artist! If you would like to take advantage of this service then please email me and I can arrange to have a team member on set.

For children under 13, I strongly encourage little to no make-up as I want to preserve their natural and youthful appearance in camera. Ages 14 on up, we can apply light and natural make-up, again the goal is to preserve their youth and not make them look older than they are (unless they are submitting for auditions to play older characters).

Again, it is not required to use my team, but just as you are hiring me as a professional that specializes in headshot photography, it’s highly recommended that you hire an artist that specializes in headshot make-up which is clean, light and natural.​

Make-up by Kenzie Meade / Beauty Patrol.

Artists tend to you throughout your session.

Make-up by Becca Schell.

 Tips for doing your own Makeup for Headshots

 

If you’re planning on going elsewhere or doing your own make-up, please keep it simple, clean and natural is the way to go. Also, I strongly encourage to have your artist review my 3 Key Points to Doing Your Own Headshot Makeup. You want your headshot to represent you. Bold or dramatic trends will date your headshot and are usually out in a year… a natural look will always be timeless.

Also, if you are doing your own and your session entails multiple looks then please bring your make-up kit. You can jazz up your make-up as we work through the session (bring your hair products and tools as well). If you use another make-up artist, ask if they would consider coming on set to build up your looks as we go.

Pro Tip #5 – Natural Retouching – I honed my lighting and post production retouching skills in the beauty & fashion industry, so between the two, a few blemishes or minor breakouts will not be an issue. Please don’t stress over this, I got you! Avoid the following make-up products:

  • Any product with SPF or Titanium Dioxide (causes flashback). 
  • Acne medication products (leaves a white cast).

Avoid the following make-up practices:

  • Heavy eyeliner, sharp or hard lines.
  • Penciled in eyebrows with a harsh line, make it natural.
  • Fake eyelashes (a definite no no, they cause the eyes to look dark and heavy).
  • Heavy or hard lined eye shadow (we are doing headshots, not an editorial portrait session).
  • Too much blush (excessive blush will hide your natural skin tones on cheeks).
  • Bold lipstick or lip liner (use natural nude/pink colors with a satin finish, or a hydrating lipstick in neutral colors, to even out chapped lips).
  • Powder foundation (liquid concealer is much better on camera, professionals understand this).
  • Psss…did I mention no SPF? (this will reflect my light, cause flashback and it will render the images useless).

​If you know you want to try out a more dramatic style of makeup, save some inspiration on your phone and we can build the make-up towards the end of the shoot… but let’s start on the natural side.

Disclaimer – Again, it’s not required to use my team, however I can not take responsibility for the usability of your headshots if your makeup artist does not follow my recommendations. If it’s not a true to life representation of yourself then there’s a chance they may not meet the criteria set by agencies, casting directors or employers. I’d be more than happy to chat with them about what is expected and what we need. Remember I want the best for you and I’m willing help out as much as I can to achieve our goals.

Example of clean and natural eye make-up.

Example of too much eye make-up.

Shaving, Let’s talk about this real quick!

 

  • If you are normally clean shaven and this is the image you wish to convey, please shave a few hours before our session if possible. Not the night before, but earlier in the morning if possible. This will give time for the skin to heal and the redness that occurs from shaving to settle down.
  • If you are going for a bearded or scruffy look but also want a clean cut look, then please come how you would rock your facial hair. We can capture that first, then you can go to the bathroom and shave. Please bring your shaving toiletries and a towel if you decide to go this route.
  • Trimming up, I’m just going to say this since there is no other way around it… ear and nose hairs, please make sure those are under control.

Headshot Advice for Actors, Models or Business Professionals

One last piece of advice, especially for budding actors or emerging talent (mom and dad, this includes your children and teens too), is to practice your expressive characters and ranging emotions. The more characters and emotions we can capture, the more robust your theatrical or editorial headshot selections will be. This will in return provide a nice portfolio for you to select form when preparing for castings. As I’ve mentioned before, our overall goal is being approachable while projecting confidence. Being approachable comes from our natural smiles and the confidence comes from our eyes. A great video to watch on confidence comes from the man I’ve personally studied under, world renowned photographer Peter Hurley (you can watch it here – Mastering the Squinch). This is something similar to what I will coach along with several other coaching directions.

If you have further questions, feel free to email me and I will be happy to chat with you. See you soon!

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