If you’re anything like me, in front of a camera is not exactly your happy place. Add on a layer of pressure from the expectation that you look professional, approachable, put-together, and attractive in your headshots, and it’s a recipe for a panic attack.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Over my years doing portraiture and headshots, I’ve compiled these 5 simple tips to make your headshot session a breeze.
1. Go Pro
When I was a kid, my mom used to always say “anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time.” Of course that was infuriating when used in the context of doing my chores or schoolwork, but as an adult I am constantly impressed by how much this rings true.
Pretty much any time I try to cut corners on something important, I end up regretting it and spending double the time and money to go back and get it done right.
The same is true with your professional headshots — if they’re worth doing, they’re worth doing right. You are going to get much better results if you work with a professional photographer who specializes in headshots and portraiture. Your buddy who does sports photography or your cousin with a DSLR might seem like a cheap and easy option, and heck, they might even do an okay job, but the photo that you use to represent yourself and your brand deserves much more than whatever is cheapest.
Of course not everyone has extra money sitting around just waiting to be spent on professional photos — especially if you’re just getting started with your business or brand — and so, of course, do the best you can do with the resources available to you, but I encourage you to think about your headshots as an important tool worth investing in.
A photographer who specializes in portraiture will be able to guide you into poses and expressions that are not only flattering but convey the message you’re looking to send with your brand. They will have the specific skills and tools necessary to make your headshot stand out from the crowd and get you noticed.
2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Have you ever woken up in the morning after eating a big, salty, junk food dinner the night before and just felt dry and bloated and gross? I sure have.
Proper hydration is super important when it comes to looking your best, especially in photos. It makes your skin look soft and supple, keeps your eyes from being red and puffy, and helps to keep your skin clear and even.
With my clients, I recommend that they really focus on hydrating a few days to a week before their headshot session.
3. Rest Up
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. Getting proper rest before having your photo taken is one of the simplest and best ways to make sure you look your best. You should try to get at least 8 hours of sleep for at least the two nights leading up to your headshot session if at all possible.
4. Don’t Try Anything New
You may feel like you need to “level up” your look for your professional headshots — new haircut, new clothes, new makeup, the works. However, the only times I have ever had a client want to redo their headshots were both times when the client had taken a big step outside of their comfort zone and ended up feeling uncomfortable and not like themselves in their photos.
If your makeup routine is usually pretty simple and natural, the day of your headshots is probably not the best time to try out wearing a full face complete with fake lashes and contouring.
If you’ve been getting the same basic haircut for the last year and a half, you might want to wait until after your headshot session to decide to go wild and switch it up*.
In fact, I don’t even recommend wearing brand new clothes.
Feeling comfortable and confident is one of the most important factors in your headshots turning out great. You should show up looking and feeling like yourself, and for most people, that means sticking to what you know.
*Bonus tip about haircuts: especially for folks with short hair, schedule your haircut appointment 3-5 days before your headshot session.
5. Keep It Simple
At the end of the day, your headshots are about highlighting who you are, and everything else is just extra.
Did these tips help you feel more prepared for your headshot session? Do you have other tips that you swear by that could help out someone getting their headshots done for the first time? Let me know in the comments!