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Prepare for your headshot
It is a common misconception that the headshot process is similar to school yearbook pictures: you sit on a stool and it’s one-and-done, over before you know it. However, this is simply untrue. Depending on time constraints and positions, headshot sessions often vary in timing. CEO headshot photo shoots can take up to two hours, while average working professionals and executives tend to spend up to 20 minutes with photographers hired by the company.
Either way, it is better to allow a decent amount of time in your schedule for headshot sessions and follow these 6 easy tips on how to prepare for your session to ensure you and the photographer get the best results possible.
1) Before the shoot, share as much information with your photographer as possible
A headshot session is generally short and thus requires some preparation beforehand to ensure that both the photographer and the subject are on the same page of what they want out of their headshot.
Before the shoot, share your expectations with the photographer in terms how what the overall look and feel you would like to achieve from this. The more information your photographer has beforehand, the easier it is to direct the session to mold to your expectations.
2) During the shoot, don’t forget to relax
Sounds simple enough, but often the hardest to accomplish. If you are not relaxed, that mood will be conveyed in the photo through body language and expression and diminishes the quality of the photo.
Try to focus on improving your posture throughout the shoot, and listen to the photographer’s direction. If at any point, you have concerns, express them. Whether it is before the shoot, or during, do not hesitate to voice any concerns as they arise.
3) Dress comfortably, get some rest, and hydrate
To avoid dark circles, hydrate plenty beforehand and try to rest well the night before. In terms of clothing – definitely be your usual stylish, fashionable self but bear in mind that the subject of your photograph is your face and not your outfit. Make sure to wear something you feel confident and comfortable in so that mood comes through in pictures.
For a traditional business look, classic dark suits are a great choice. To choose a well-pairing tie, aim to wear a shade that falls between the color of the suit and shirt underneath. A v-neck undershirt underneath is optional.
For a business casual look, skip the jacket and opt for a colored dress shirt or blouse that, ideally, is darker than your skin tone. In both cases, aim for small simple jewelry.
You can always bring different clothing options to choose from while on set. Also, take care that the outfit does not bunch when you sit down or have it buttoned.
4) Avoid wearing busy clothing and jewelry
Choosing the right clothing for a headshot is often difficult, but by eliminating some things that do not work in pictures, it might be easier to choose an outfit. Avoid turtlenecks and clothing with bold and distracting patterns and colors. Also, try and avoid clothing with grid-like squares or minuscule herringbone patterns. Avoid shiny and reflective articles of clothing. Female executives may want to avoid wearing short sleeves or sleeveless blouses as they draw attention to bare arms.
Also, it is best to avoid all-white dress shirts or blouses if you are not wearing a jacket or sweater over it. White shirts often cause a loss of detail and depth in a person and easily washes them out.
Jewelry tends to be a tricky element, but the key component is to make sure it not distracting. Eschew earrings that dangle longer than an inch, and are reflective.
5) Bring a small supply kit
Whether the headshot session is two hours or two days, a small supply kit is necessary to ensure that your headshots will turn out amazing. Make sure to bring previous headshots so you can easily communicate your expectations to the photographer. Also, make sure to bring various grooming supplies such as lip balm and a hairbrush
6) Err on the side of simple hair and makeup
Ideally, the hair and makeup in a professional headshot should be timeless and classic. Style your hair, and apply makeup before leaving. Make-up should be clean, and most importantly, natural.
To eliminate shine, apply a layer of translucent powder to face and neck. This also has the added benefit of shrinking the appearance of large pores and evening out skin tone. Take care to avoid products with shimmer and sparkles, and also avoid overly bright colors.
Ultimately, your headshot will be used in many different instances. These include your company websites, collaterals, social media channels and media opportunities wherein you are interviewed, or you participate in media opportunities where you could potentially be interviewed or profiled. And in an increasingly digital world, it is better to have a professional headshot ready to provide in these situations. Furthermore, a professional headshot is integral for event promotion where you could be speaking or honored. It is also useful for maintaining brand consistency.
Ultimately, your headshot might be your first and only impression, reflecting your personal brand as well as your company. It could be a deciding factor between new business and a lost opportunity. You decide.