HEADSHOT TIPS: Preparing for Your Headshot Shoot

Useful headshot tips and information to help you prepare for your shoot and achieve the best headshot results!

Plan the Headshot Styling

When planning your headshot shoot it is helpful to find reference images that have a look or style you like. Reference shots help your photographer to plan the lighting and styling for the shot and be better prepared for your shoot. The colour of the background, pose and composition, lighting etc. are all things to consider. Have a look through our headshot gallery for some ideas and inspiration.

Choosing the Right Wardrobe

When preparing for a headshot photography shoot, it’s important to choose your outfit carefully to ensure that you look your best and feel confident in front of the camera. Here are our recommendations on what to wear:

  1. Choose a solid, neutral-colored top: A solid, neutral-colored top will ensure that the focus remains on your face and not on your clothing. Avoid bright colours, busy patterns or bold prints that may be distracting. Also avoid small patterns
  2. Dress for the industry: Depending on the purpose of your headshot, you may want to dress to fit the industry you’re in. For example, if you’re in a creative field, you may be able to wear something more casual or trendy, while if you’re in a corporate setting, you may want to opt for something more formal.
  3. Dress as if you were meeting a client for the first time.
  4. Keep it simple: Simple, classic styles tend to work best for headshots. Avoid anything too trendy or overly complicated, as it may date your headshot quickly
  5. Accessorize sparingly: Avoid large or distracting jewelry, and keep accessories to a minimum.
  6. Bring a few options: It’s always a good idea to bring a few different outfit options to the shoot, so you can choose the one that looks best on camera.
  7. Make sure your clothes are clean and well-ironed and collars and cuffs are pressed and well-shaped.

Overall, the goal is to choose an outfit that is simple, timeless, and allows your face to be the main focus of the headshot.


Get as much sleep as possible on the days before the shoot. It not only helps with reducing circles under eyes and puffiness but also improves energy levels and mood so you can “bring it” at the shoot!

Prepare your Skin

Particularly for portraits and especially if the images will be used for print, spend some extra time grooming before the shoot. Errant facial or nose hair, uneven eyebrows, dark rings under the eyes, etc. can all be corrected in post-production but it increases the amount of time required and hence the cost, and also can introduce a softness or blurriness to the images which isn’t desirable. Use a good moisturiser the week of the shoot and a peeling cream/shower gel 2 to 3 days before the shoot.


Consider using a professional make-up artist and discuss it with your photographer. If you are doing your own makeup, use a good concealer to hide blemishes and create an even skin tone and a mattifying powder to reduce and prevent shine. MAC Prep and Prime Skin Base are a good choice.

Practice in a Mirror

If you are not an experienced model or actor, it always helps to practice different facial expressions in a mirror and find the expression that you feel best captures the look you want and message you wish to give. During the shoot it is best to include a broad range of expressions but it helps to practise these in advance. Do you feel you have a best side? For a business professional, how much smile is right for your role, company and industry? Feeling uncomfortable in front of the camera will often make a person open their eyes wider than normal, which can lead to unnatural-looking shots. Practice looking relaxed while slightly squinting your eyes, but without wrinkling your forehead!

No Last Minute Grooming!

Don’t get a haircut or facial right before your shoot! Freshly cut hair may sound great but often doesn’t look natural or best. Facials can lead to scabs and redness and blotchiness for several days. As a general rule get any major grooming done atleast a week before your shoot.

Find Your Happy Thought

To bring out a natural-looking smile and avoid forced-looking expressions, find a memory or thought of something funny.

Food and Drink

Stay well hydrated on the days leading up to the shoot but avoiding drinking too much liquid on the day. Avoid alcohol completely the day before the shoot. Certain foods can cause retention of water and bloating and should be avoided if possible. Foods that commonly cause this are cucumber, lettuce, popcorn, beans and lentils, wheat, rye and barley, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, onions and garlic, apples and pears, dairy and carbonated drinks.

Be Open and Honest with your Photographer

Everyone has insecurities and a professional photographer’s job is to help make you look your best. Don’t be shy to discuss your insecurities and ask for what you want and always be honest about what you feel.


And importantly remember, everyone gets nervous before a shoot. It’s natural. Don’t worry and let any nerves become excitement! We are going to have fun and create great images together!

Feeling more prepared after these headshot tips and excited to get started and book your session?

Check out the various business headshot and acting headshot packages that we offer and book your session today!