The Fail-Proof 5-Step Guide to Getting YOUR Ideal Headshot

Know what you want your end result to look like + tell your photographer or show them examples

Knowing what you would like to achieve with a headshot session is crucial. Make sure you think about this and research examples of other people’s headshots to get ideas for what you want, and also, what you don’t want. Talk to your photographer about these ideas and, even better, send them examples before the shoot. During the session, your photographer might be tethering the images (the camera is connected to a PC/laptop and the images pop up on the big screen instantly as s/he is shooting).Tethering is great, because you can see your images instantly and you can make adjustments on the fly, right there.If they are not tethering, ask them to show you some examples on the back of the camera as you’re going along. That way you can still see what’s happening in your shots and make adjustments as you go along. This will avoid issues later, like “I wish I had XYZ…

Get your wardrobe, hair + make-up done to your liking and to get the look you’re striving for

If you are getting a headshot done for your company’s web site, make sure you are clear about what your employer expects in terms of wardrobe for the photos, i.e. formal or business casual, specific colors, jacket, no jacket, tie/no tie, etc. A good rule of thumb is to avoid pure white tops, vertical/horizontal stripes and patterns that are too busy.  If you are coming in for your personal headshot, you’re in charge!  Sometimes, we see a person looking stylish and fierce in a photo and we think, that’s exactly what I want! Well, your photographer can only control so much. We can’t control the color blouse, jacket or tie you wore or the way you did your hair and make-up. Those are things in your control. If you want help styling your session, just ask! Most photographers are happy to assist with styling. If you are looking for a very specific and controlled look, opt for a studio session. Environmental factors like wind, bright sunshine and or cold temps will no doubt cause problems if you’re not willing to be flexible with the end result.

Practice your posing with selfies on your phone before your session

An experienced photographer will help pose you during the shoot and elicit your most flattering angles. However, practicing your posing will help you learn your angles – the good ones and the bad ones. This can be invaluable for a headshot To piggy-back on this step, if there are any specific insecurities you have about certain features or angles, make sure you tell your photographer about these at the time of the shoot. We’re not psychic and most times, what you might think the whole world notices about your face, no one actually does. These are internal triggers that we have as humans, but don’t expect your photographer to be cognizant of this. But once s/he knows, they can adjust their posing instructions to you to accommodate your concerns and get the most flattering shot.

Be well-rested, lay off the salt and stay hydrated for your session

No matter how on-point your outfit, hair and make-up is, if you are tired, dehydrated and puffy-faced on the day of your headshot session, you will look it. Photoshop can only do so much and some photographers won’t do extensive photoshopping without additional costs. Keep that in mind if you don’t want that “haggardy” look. And let’s be real, who does?

Have fun, relax, breathe and push yourself to get out of your comfort zone during the session

Getting your headshot should be fun and exciting! You are getting killer photographs done to celebrate and promote YOU. So have fun with it, and push yourself to try something new. And please, don’t forget to breathe… believe me, when a client holds his/her breath, it totally comes through in the photo, and it’s not awesome.


Lastly, this one little extra step is crucial: Make sure you find a professional photographer who has the right equipment, shoots in the style you are looking for and also meshes with your personality and makes you feel comfortable.That will help with all of the above-steps, as well.