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The Ultimate Headshot Guide

People often ask how to best prepare for headshots.

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We have a few tips to give you the best outcome.

Whenever someone books a headshot session for themselves or their team, without exception, the first question is "how should I prepare?" Often times, people feel understandably intimidated or nervous about the big day. But with a little knowledge and preparation, you can not only walk into your headshot session knowing exactly what to expect, but also how to feel prepared the day of your shoot.

What should you wear for your photo?

The best headshot is the photo that looks the most like you. Clothing is usually the #1 concern when folks prepare for a headshot session. We recommend you wear whatever type of clothing a new contact would meet you in for the first time. If someone came by your office or met you for coffee or a meal, what would you wear? If you would be wearing a button down shirt with or without a tie, a dress, a suit, a polo shirt, or something else, then you should wear that type of clothing for your headshot. Wear your hair as you normally would, and avoid jewelry or props that would usually be out of character.

Don't sweat the details.

As the photographer, my job is to worry about all of the little details. We'll adjust all the lighting, check your clothing for wrinkles, identify twisted or out of place items, remove lint, or address anything that might affect the photo. We'll even help you come up with or adjust your pose, if you'd like.

Plus, Photoshop is a wonderful tool that can smooth out the final photo for a more flattering appearance. We've all got things we're self conscious about, and when you are under the lights, sometimes those areas may get more attention that you'd like. Our team is absolutely fantastic at editing photos in a completely professional, subtle, and undetectable way that will put you in your best light.

Check out some before and after sliders below to see two of our headshot edits. We'd bet that if you never saw the "before," you wouldn't be able to point out the edits!

So what are a few things you can do to prepare?

We have gathered a few good tips over the years. Read below for some suggestions to make your headshot go a bit smoother.


Set enough time aside for your headshot session. While planning ahead can sometimes be difficult, please ensure that you or your team don’t have any appointments or other scheduling conflicts right before or after the headshot session. You want to be focused during your shoot.

If you are coming to our office for your headshot, we will have everything set up and ready to go. If we are coming to you, setup will take anywhere between 20-45 minutes, depending on several factors. We generally like to arrive about 45 minutes before our scheduled beginning time to ensure we are most efficiently using your and your team's time.

A typical session takes about 15 minutes per person. This includes taking some photos, reviewing them on a computer, and allowing each person to choose the photo they would like to have edited. We will then edit those photos when we return to the office.


Think through your outfit for the headshot.  In general, you should consider solid-color and high-contrast outfits. For example, a light-colored or white shirt is best complimented by a darkly-colored blazer. Try to avoid any large pieces of jewelry or excessive makeup. Avoid logos or branding as they can look unprofessional or distracting. For guys, wear a white undershirt (not a black or grey undershirt), and make sure it is snug well fitted. Make sure your clothes are ironed and/or without wrinkles. If you have a lint roller, use it the night before.

Avoid tight or busy patterns on clothing.
Clothing items with repetitive details like lines, dots, stripes, checks, or any patterns that are close together cause a phenomenon called moiré. As a result, the camera produces strange-looking wavy patterns that are very distracting and are basically impossible to remove in post. Stick with solid colored tops. They’re more flattering and less distracting.


Clean anything shiny. You will have the ability to clean these items at the shoot, but you can polish your glasses frames and lenses prior to arriving, along with any shiny buttons, etc. that might have smudges, streaks, or finger prints.


Consider your grooming. If possible, get a fresh haircut for your headshot. However, try to get your hair cut 2-3 days in advance to avoid looking like you just got out of the chair, unless that's the look you are going for. Style your hair normally that morning and have a look in the mirror right before your session. Smooth any stray hair and give everything one last look.

If you need to, ensure you are cleanly shaven or neatly trimmed.
Facial hair will definitely show up in the final product, and removing or retouching facial hair is unbelievably time consuming (and most photographers wouldn't include that in photo retouching). If you have facial hair, either cleanly shave or maintain a trimmed beard. When in doubt, shave. However, do not shave immediately before your session as razor bumps and discoloration will become more apparent.

And of course, relax and let it be fun.

Doesn't someone telling you to relax have the opposite effect? Our team will do everything we can to set you at ease, and we'll never tell you to relax. That's just annoying. Most of our photo shoots are very fun, positive experiences, and yours will be too.
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