How to prepare and what to bring
Your preparation guide
There’s more to having your photo taken, than just turning up at the studio and smiling at the camera; so it's worthwhile spending the time to prepare yourself properly.
What to wear
What you wear can be as important as your expression. Clothing should simply enhance you and your features and keep the focus of attention on your face.
When deciding what to wear for your headshot, think about what the shot is being used for. A professional headshot requires professional clothing, so choose what you might normally wear to a business meeting or interview. Remember that you are trying to send a particular visual message as well as look confident and approachable. In general, a jacket creates a senior and professional look.
We have three simple wardrobe rules:
- Love it: We don’t want to shoot you in anything that you don’t feel comfortable wearing. If you don’t feel comfortable, it will show and you won’t shoot well
- Bring it: Sounds obvious but if it’s not in the studio we can’t shoot it. If you’re not sure if something will work, just bring it along anyway
- Wear it: By this we mean you wearing the clothes instead of the clothes wearing you. Your shoot is about you and your face. Clothing should simply enhance your natural colouring and features. Please bring some of your own personal style into your headshot, but don’t let what you’re wearing take over
What happens at the neck is especially important for a headshot. A long neck is attractive and works really well on camera.
For an elegant neck, choose a low neckline. This is particularly important if you are wearing a jacket. Camisoles with a straight across neckline, work really well under jackets, to create the right balance.
To elongate your neck avoid a shirt collar as the combination of jacket, shirt collar, hair and any jewellery can look messy and work against you.
If your neck is long, you may wear a crew neck top or a shirt collar, but if you are wearing a jacket, you will still look better in a neckline that is not too high, as this creates a better line with the jacket. If you fall into this category, perhaps wear a shorter necklace, with a lower neckline, if you wish.
A lower neckline looks good with a longer necklace to work with it. Jewellery needs to be in keeping with your scale. If you have wide cheekbones and wide shoulders you will need slightly larger jewellery than if you have narrow shoulders and a small face. Choose either bold earrings or a bold necklace but not both. Bear in mind that this shot is being used for professional purposes, so your jewellery will need to be appropriate. There’s nothing wrong with a statement piece, as long as it doesn’t look like it has emerged from a Christmas cracker.
Make sure that your shirt collar suits your face shape and that it sits well. If you are wearing a tie, ensure the knot is neat and that it’s the right size. A long neck is flattering, so make sure that the collar stand on your shirt is not too high. If you are not wearing a tie, make sure your shirt collar sits properly.
Choose a colour that you normally wear and like, as this will help you to feel comfortable and confident during your shoot. Give careful consideration to what suits you in terms of depth of colour and contrast level, between jacket and shirt or top. Please try to avoid darker colours such as black and midnight blue, as they can (counter intuitively) make the subject look larger. You can, however, balance this by making sure that you have a good contrast between shirt and jacket. Bold colours work well. We ask all clients to bring along a number of different outfits (tops) in various styles and colours. Together we will see what looks good on you, works well on camera and is appropriate for your target audience.
Please check to see if your shoot allows time for any wardrobe changes.
Professional image advice
If you are interested enough it might be a good time to seek advice from a professional image consultant. They are specially trained and can help you find the colours and styles of clothes that enhance your body shape, features and natural colouring. We work with a number of professionals in this area, who we are happy to recommend. Having gone through this process, we know how much more confident you feel, knowing you are wearing the right styles and colours to match your natural colouring and body shape.
Make sure that your hair is looking its best and if necessary have it cut a week or so before the shoot. If your hair is apt to go its own way, you may like to get it styled professionally before the shoot. If you colour your hair, make sure that any roots are re-touched. If you have long hair, consider having a few trial shots with the photographer, to establish what looks most professional. If appropriate, please bring hair styling products and/or equipment with you on the day.
A great smile is an asset and an important business tool. Research by Reading University, has proved that people look longer at a smiling face. Don’t worry, we know exactly how to encourage you to produce a natural attractive smile throughout your shoot. With that in mind, a hygiene appointment a couple of days before your headshot is a good idea. If you’re worried about the colour of your teeth, perhaps speak to your dentist about whitening treatment. This will need to be done a few weeks before your headshot. Maybe bring along a toothbrush & floss if coming from the office after lunch.
Make-up and grooming
Natural make-up helps you look your best for your headshot. If you do wear make-up, definition is the name of the game so make sure you have the right eye and lip make-up. Shine is the enemy of a good photograph, so remember to bring some translucent powder with you on the day as well as any other make-up you think you may need to touch up. Avoid high gloss or shine lipsticks or bronzers. If you’re worried about your ability in this area, why not have a lesson or book one of our professional make-up artists.
Wrinkles, laughter lines & spots
We can never escape the ageing process, but we can help reduce some visible signs. Generally, we use a soft wrap-around lighting, which helps to naturally smooth lines. We do have another not so secret weapon called ‘airbrushing’ and although we never remove lines completely, as it looks too false, we can help to reduce them further, should you feel the need. Spots on the other hand, which seem to have a strange habit of appearing on the morning of your shoot, can be zapped out with no problem at all.
If you normally wear glasses and have a strong prescription, or glasses with no anti reflection coating, we do advise that you visit your opticians, to either borrow a pair of blank frames or get them to remove your lenses for the shoot, as it can cause problems with reflection and refraction. We can shoot some shots with and some without glasses. You might like to bring along a couple of pairs of frames.
Above all, we want you to relax, have fun and yes enjoy your shoot. The trick to getting a great headshot is preparing properly and to trust your photographer. As this is a two-way experience, we will be getting you to work hard during your shoot too (and you’ll probably find a new respect for models). We do, however, also understand that some people hate having their photo taken, or think they are un-photogenic. This is an area we specialise in and love nothing more than working closely with clients to ensure they love their headshots.
Please let us know beforehand if you have any particular requirements or questions about being photographed.