Headshots: The Ultimate Guide
Headshots are essential tools for connecting with your customers and clients.
Headshots of your team are the most essential tools you can use to build brand trust, and professional photos will also communicate quality to your customers. To help you look your best, I've put together this guide about what to wear for headshots. You'll also find makeup tips, as well as general ideas for preparing for professional photos.
These are meerly suggestions, feel free to use disregard any that you feel are contrary to your personally and taste.
A good headshot is one that captures your personality and professionalism in a single frame!! Remember that your headshot is often the first impression you make on potencial clients or employers. Present yourself in a way that reflects your BRAND and VALUES. Good Lighting, Composition, Facial Expression, Styling, Posing and a classic editing are a must. There's so much involved. If you need help please don't hesitate to reach out.
What to wear
Make Sure Clothing Fit is Right
- Clothing should be well-tailored and fitted.
- Wrinkle free
- Avoid baggy or loose clothing, as it will make you look larger in photos.
- Avoid fabrics that are clingy or shiny, especially thin, stretchy polyester or velvet. These fabrics highlight every bump and crease. Do not wear silver or shimmery gold.
- Avoid wearing something that is too tight, as this can lead to bulging.
- Longer shirts are best if you plan to be untucked. They elongate your torso and hide mid-section insecurities.
- Avoid shoulder pads in jackets and suits. Shoulder pads make you look boxy, wide and can convey tension rather than relaxation.
Look Put Together and Tidy
- Arrive with clothing pressed and lint-free. If you are wearing a shirt that wrinkles easily, hang it up and put it on right before photos to avoid it getting wrinkly in the car.
- Wear the right bra for the shirt you will wear. Make sure the color won't show through. Watch for lines and seams from bras that might show through shirts. If you are going strapless or with a tank top, wear a strapless bra (but again, I generally don't recommend sleeveless or short sleeves for headshots).
- Avoid logos of any kind, unless they are your company logo.
If you don't know what tones look best on you, start with determining whether you are a cool, neutral or warm skin tone. Turn off overhead lights and stand next to a window. Look at the underside of your wrist in the window light.
If your veins look blue or purple in natural light, you most likely have cool skin tones.
If your veins look green or olive in natural light, you mostly likely have warm skin tones.
If your veins look blue-green, you likely have neutral skin tones.
Large patterns take over the photo. Solids are best for headshots. Some prints can work when layered with solids over the top. For example, a medium sized floral print under a solid top can be very flattering and add some visual interest to your photo. Avoid really tight patterns or tight prints, like tight pinstripe or polka dots
Shave: Wear facial hair the way you normally would. If you're normally clean-shaven, use an electric razor to avoid redness.
Hair: I highly recommend that you refrain from getting a hair cut or changing hair styles within 2 days of the shoot.
Nails: The hands show in certain poses. Keep them manicured and if wearing nail polish, use neutral colors.
Teeth: Depending on your smile, careful to make sure you brush between any meal and the session, if possible you may want to use Whitening product for a few days before
Hair and Makeup
In general, keep makeup natural. Aim for an everyday look, but be strategic about applying it with the following tips.
Protect Your Skin Before Your Session
- Wear sunscreen in the weeks leading up to your shoot and avoid applying self tanning lotion.
- Drink extra water the week prior to your photos.
- Don't get anything waxed or threaded the day of or the day prior to your photos. Waxing or eyebrow threading can lead to redness. Avoid any major skincare treatment in the same week as your photos.
- Schedule a haircut a couple weeks in advance rather than right before your session, just in case you don't love it or in case you need a little time to learn to style it.
- Only use products that enhance shine. Don't use mattifying products (be careful with dry shampoos on this front!).
- Do your hair in a style you typically wear. Photo day is not the day to try a new style.
- Do not wear your hair in a bun or ponytail. It can look like you don't have hair, or if your head is turned, like you have a big bump on one side.
- Bring a comb or brush and some hairspray with you.
- Avoid shiny, glowy, or dewy makeup, like those that contain minerals or sunscreen.
- Use a matte foundation that matches your skin tone and blends well with the skin color on your chest and neckline. Don't apply foundation too thick; it will cake and enhance wrinkles.
- For more mature skin, use a thin liquid foundation rather than thick liquid or powder foundation. Thick makeup settles into fine lines and wrinkles and makes you look older. Opt for a light foundation with a touch of moisturizing quality, then cover any noticeable shine with a translucent powder.
- If you have makeup with some shine, use a loose, matte finishing powder over the top, like Laura Mercier's Translucent Finishing Powder.
- Use concealer a bit more liberally than normal to cover any blemishes, but make sure it's blended well.
Natural Lipstick with Slight Shimmer
- Lipstick should be shade darker than your natural color and it should stay in line with your color palettes. Wear lipstick with a slight shimmer or gloss.
- Avoid strong lip lines and avoid going outside your natural lines to make lips appear bigger. Both are picked up easily on camera and look strange.
- Neutral Eye Makeup
- Eyeshadow should be in neutral tones.
- Highlight with a matte ivory or white shade under the browline to make eyes appear more open. Concealer sometimes does the trick.
- Do NOT wear eyeliner on the lower lash line. It closes down your eyes, makes them appear smaller, and makes you look older.
- Avoid fake lashes, especially really long ones, as they also tend to close down your eyes, add shadows under your eyes and make eyes appear smaller.
- Avoid shimmery eye shadow. Shimmer falls into creases and accentuates lines.
- Use black mascara. Brown is too light for photos.
Only wear glasses that have minimal to no reflective coating. The purple tint that helps with screen glare is a nightmare for photos.
Make sure the lenses are clean before your headshots.
What to bring
Bring a comb or brush and some hairspray with you.
A second shirt/blouse just incase
Tooth brush / floss if you are eating before your session
I love jewelry, but try to keep it somewhat subtle so it doesn't distract from your face.
Try to avoid anything super flashy, shiny or sparkly to avoid it catching light and becoming a distraction.
So, should you smile in your corporate headshot?
The answer is a resounding yes, By embracing the power of a genuine, well-captured smile, you can project warmth, competence, and trustworthiness, and ultimately enhance your professional potential.