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  • Writer's pictureFiona Bielby

6 Tips for your perfect and professional headshot photos.

How to make the most of your headshot photo session

Preparing for your headshot experience: How I know you to feel before, and how I'd like you to feel after.

It's rare to find someone who loves being in front of the camera. Having any photo session can be a nerve-racking experience, especially when it comes to having your headshots taken; talk about all the attention on you. It can make people feel vulnerable, and uneasy because all the attention is on you and for many (myself included) that's not a place we enjoy being.


Headshot photo of photographer holding her camera, with her laptop on her knee.

If you know how you prepare for the experience, can be a game changer in fact you may leave having actually enjoyed your time with me, my headshot photo sessions are relaxed, fun and easy, they're designed to put you at ease and bring out your best self. It's important to me that you leave feeling like you've accomplished a tricky task and it's even better when my clients leave eager to see their photos.


I'd like to help you prepare to get the most and the best out of your session with me, so here are 6 top-tips I'd like to share with you.





Photo from a headshot session, the client is laughing and holding a coffee cup.

Choose the right photographer for your headshots.

Make sure you connect with your photographer, it can instantly put you at ease.

Choosing the right photographer can be the making of your headshot photos, I don't mean choosing them because they are great at their job, choose them because you think you'll feel at ease with them. Feeling comfortable with your photographer means you'll steer clear of those awkward and rigid images that won't stand out for the right reasons.


If you're worried or uncomfortable in front of the camera ask someone close to you to take a few photos of you to warm you up in the run-up to your session. Move during these photos, look in different directions and then back to the camera, ask them to snap, snap SNAP! That way you'll have some good ones in there. Take a bit of time and look at the photos to familiarise yourself with how you look, that way when you come to your session you should feel a little more relaxed about how they look. Remember your reflection in the mirror is different to how you look in a photo.



Close up image from a headshot session.


What to wear when you come for your headshot photos

Here's a few tips to help you choose your headshot outfit.

Make sure whatever you choose fits well, long sleeves can be flattering but are not essential. Tailored garments that fit well (not too clingy) versa a baggy fit, lots of people will choose baggy, thinking it makes them look slimmer, but sometimes it can do the opposite, you'll know though and if you don't I'll happily help you decide.

  

Dress for the job you want, if you're scouting a formal job in this kind of setting, dress for that, but if you're an artist, an author or the owner of some local business you might want to wear something a little less formal for you headshots, you'll want people to relate to you and if you can create a friendly version of yourself this could really help your audience connect with you.

 

Glam it up, and accessorise your outfit, if you wear glasses and have a funky pair, ear them they'll add character to your images and they could stick in someone's mind, helping them remember you and what you do.


Keep hair natural and how you like to wear it, don't go crazy on the morning of your photos and choose something totally different, these images will be here for a little while so if you do this and wish you hadn't you live to regret that choice. Getting a fresh blow-dry or whatever you like to do to make yourself feel good is always a great idea

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Consider a makeover before you have your session, but only if it's something you'd do for occasions, what I'm getting at here, is to make yourself feel as fabulous as possible, the more fabulous you feel the better your photos will turn out. Show the best version of yourself, be confident and you.


Pick mid-tone plain colours that will keep the focus on you and won't distract the viewer, unless you are well-known for bold and bright colours, that is of course. Matching colours that sit in line with your branding and your website can be a clever way to keep things on theme.


Embrace your femininity, and have fun with muted or bold female colours or soft prints with certain clothing items that can be added in and out. Extremely bold patterns can be distracting so try to avoid these, unless this is on brand for you.  


When it comes to choosing, do be mindful of which colours suit you and your skin tones, I can look ill and washed out in beiges and blacks as I'm pretty pale, a contrasting colour (to your skin tone) will usually work well. I have a whole blog about what you could wear, including outfit ideas!


Relaxed headshot photo of the client enjoy her coffee

Patsy chose to wear this bold denim dress which complimented her skin tone perfectly along with contrasting with her hair colouring. She wanted her LinkedIn audience to view her as down-to-earth, but professional, choosing denim immediately reduces the formalities, yet the chic cut and neckline add a touch of formality too.


Bring props to your headshot session, if they are appropriate.

Props can add an instant clue to what you do for your audience, they can make you stand out.

Depending on what you do, props can add to your headshot session, they can give the viewer a clue to what you do at first sight and also add character, the items you choose to bring show a lot about you and your profession. My future clients can learn I'm a faithful Canon fanatic, just by looking at my photo here.

Professional headshots you know you need them, yet you don't want to look stiff and too formal. You want people to connect with you from the get-go; the times as changing and you're in the right place if you're looking for inviting, relaxed headshots that ooze you.


You want friendly, you want approachable and you want fun!


It doesn't matter what your job is, everyone will connect with someone who's fun, friendly and approachable.


But what to wear, oh my, what a task! When I had my headshots taken, I just dove into my wardrobe and brought out a couple of things I enjoy wearing, that I thought looked smart. I know for some people making these choices can be tough.



Headshot image of the photographer taking a photo.


Take your time during the headshot session

There's no rush, I make sure we schedule enough time to relax during your headshot session.

This might sound so simple but making sure you're not rushing to your session is really important! I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to personal stuff and I'm always timing everything to the millisecond, it's the worst feeling isn't when you're running late or when something happens to upskill your perfectly timed plan of action. I do it all the time, landing somewhere to have my photo taken whilst I'm all flustered and bothered would be my idea of hell. I remember arriving at school (I used to be a TA) I'd dropped the kids off late because something had gone wrong and then I couldn't find the keys, when I arrived at work, I was thrown in front of the camera for my 10-second headshot slot. How did the images turn out? Hmmm, let's not talk about that, hey!


When clients arrive for their headshots with me, I like to think of it as an experience, I book you in for longer than you need because I hate the idea of being up against the clock. We'll have a cuppa, chat a little and do your photos, working like this gives a variety of relaxed images, that make you look confident, professional and friendly.


Hydration and rest.

Drinking plenty and getting rest to make you look your best.

We all feel better after a good night's sleep, don't we? So make sure you get a good night's sleep and drink plenty, it's good for your skin. Set yourself up to be your best self.


Simple relaxation techniques to practise before your headshots

It sounds crazy but it relaxes you and arriving relaxed is a good start!!

Just before your headshot session, spend a couple of minutes in a quiet place away from your desk or day's tasks. Put your hands on hips, and legs apart, take a few deep breaths (in through the nose, out through the mouth) be mindful.


Alternatively, put your arms up in the air, reach up as high as you can and hold it for a few seconds. Imagine your body filling up with warm liquid gradually rising from your toes and fingers up to the top of your head.



Client looking down during a headshot session.

Visualise great headshot photos.

Falling in love with your headshot photos, put yourself in the best mindset to receive them.

If you enter your headshot session thinking your photos are going to look good, it changes your whole mindset, I'll always let you have a nosey on the back of my camera, so you can leave feeling like you've accomplished what you came to do.


It could also help you to take a look at other headshot images you'd like to try out, show me and tell me, I'm always open to trying new ideas. The most important this is to move around, and look away from and back to the camera so you keep a relaxed smile and I'll help you out where possible.



 



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