How to prepare for a headshot photo

Have you ever wondered about how to prepare for a headshot and what it involves? 

When it comes to how to prepare for a headshot photo, planning is key 

It is not everyday that you go for a photoshoot ! Even though photoshoots are more popular, for most people they remain an occasional event that you might do once every two years.

Even for those that are not camera shy, preparing for it will need some planning, getting organised and communicating with the photographer about it.

What happens during the session is another matter and at that point, the majority of my clients, will ask me to guide them and get them to try different things out.

Making you feel relaxed and in good hands, is my priority number one and I will use a number of techniques to help you enjoy the experience and also get the desired results.

Communication is ongoing 

The first reason clients get in touch with me is because they need new headshots done as the old ones are, well, old and out of date. They don’t look the same and want to have a new set of fresh pictures for their linkedin profiles or website.

In the first emails we exchange, I try and find out more about the client, what do they do, what kind of personality they have, what do they enjoy so that I can pose them in certain ways and see how far we can go with trying different set-ups, looks, positions.

When clients have a clear idea of what they want I do ask them to send me images of what they like and we create an image board beforehand. 

However it is very common that they will not necessarily know the different looks we can create and are often pleasantly surprised by a different background, sitting down rather then standing up, using props, turning the head and looking away etc.

What can you do to prepare for a headshot photo?

Often having that first conversation makes clients, feel prepared for the headshot because they know we have a plan. We have ideas, we know what we are trying to achieve and we know how we will get there.

There are some things that you can do before the session to get ready for headshots.

  • Clothing – I recommend to have two changes of clothes available on the day, for e.g. a shirt and a jacket and another shirt or top.
  • Hair – it is generally a good idea to have your hair done/cut before the day to make sure you are happy with the way your hair looks on the day.
  • Make-up – for ladies if you wear make-up, to be make-up ready.
  • For all – to have a good night sleep and relax and enjoy.

Lighting and different set-ups

Lighting will make a massive difference and great lighting will make even a tired person, look amazing. The softer the light, the better and when the soft light fills in the area around the eyes and the whole face, the skin looks glowing and the eyes look alight.

I take care of the lighting and I will adapt it to each situation. So for example if the headshot session is taking place in your office I will bring the necessary equipment and set-up in the office choosing an area that is well lit and has an interesting background such as glass. I can also bring other types of backgrounds that match the specific shoot.

During the same shoot, it is possible to experiment and try different looks, such as the glass background, stepping outside the office, or creating a lifestyle look by shooting the person while working on a desk, writing down notes or smelling a freshly brewed cup of coffee.

Making use of props to represent your environment

I particularly love taking headshots in a way that shows the environment in which you work. If you work with plants, let them be part of the shoot. If food development is your speciality let’s get creative with some tomatoes and cheese. Books are also great props, a computer desk, plants, lighting, interesting chairs, you name it.

Experimenting with the environment around us is great and allows me and the client to be creative. 

Creating a gallery

The different set-ups, the props and the environment around the person, will all have an effect on the final images and how the headshots will represent you. Adding variety is a key factor for me and I will create different looks to present to my clients.

Since the next time, you are likely to have your headshots done, will be in a few years, why not make the most of the current session and create different images that you can use during this time.

Usually a gallery has between 30-40 images for my clients to choose from. The final choice includes a number of different looks, the formal headshot, the lifestyle headshot, the one with the props and the environment. I am always happy to include a few product or action shots that I gift as they might come in handy at some point.

A food developer client who I did the headshots for recently, also received a few free images of tomatoes she can use on her profile, to visually show that she works with food.

Was this helpful?

I would love to know if this helped you in any way, by giving some clarity on what you can do to prepare for a headshot and also how I could help you with refreshing your headshots.

If you would like to enquire for individual headshots or team headshots, please take a look at my “Headshots and Businesses” page which explains the different types of headshots I do for companies and small businesses.

If you have any questions I haven’t answered, please do let me know.

I also hold regular “Headshots for Charity” events where I offer to take headshots at a location in Tooting Bec or Balham against a contribution to charity. 

How to prepare for a headshot photo

To find out more about my services take a look below

As well as helping clients to prepare for their headshot photos every step of the way, I also take care during the photoshoot to guide and set-up the photoshoot in a way that works for you.

Take a look at my Personal Branding Photography, ideal for entrepreneurs, founders and teams for brand enhancing photography.

For business headshots to update your linkedin profile or your website, take a look at Headshots.

The importance of headshots in today’s online world

I found this article very useful to remind me and clients about the importance of a great headshot in today’s digital world.

I recommend it.

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