Profession Headshot | Karen Forsythe Photography

Need a Quick Headshot? 12 Tips to a SUCCESSFUL Short and Sweet Headshot Session

Are you part of a large team who will ALL be photographed for new headshots in a short period of time?  Here are some things you can do to prepare yourself.

While the ideal situation is a relaxed photo session during which you can try different outfits, find your best side, change your hair, expressions, and get loads of feedback and coaching from your photographer, sip water, chat, get comfortable, etc., when you are on a tight schedule and many people need a new headshot in a few hours, you just don’t have those luxuries.

We are talking about maybe 5 minutes to pull it off.  Yikes! Professional Headshots | Karen Forsythe Photography

Even though the time is short, and your options are limited, here are 12 things you CAN do. Remember, most of these short and sweet sessions don’t get a lot of retouching, unless your employer or you are paying for it, so you will definitely hedge your bet on a great headshot with some preparation..

  1. Don’t wait until the day of the shoot to choose your outfit.  STRESSFUL!  Try on a couple of options and get confirmation from someone who loves you and will tell you the outfit is too tight, loose, old, bright, patterned…too anything.  Generally speaking, too much of anything is distracting. Make sure you can button your buttons without them pulling, that your clothing is pressed, fits you well, and does not “compete” with you and your expression.  Solid colors, textures and knits and layers are best.
  2. Bring an extra outfit to work in case lunch or coffee overpowers you, or if you are planning on multiple looks.
  3. If you’re a guy, find out ahead of time if you need to wear a tie, and either wear it or bring it and know how to tie it. I recommend a double windsor knot, which creates a nice, symmetrical triangle.  Make sure your shirt fits you well in the neck before tying the tie, neither too tight nor too loose.  Also, be aware of memory folds that have developed at the point your collar is buttoned down (if button-down shirt).  They are pesky to get rid of and can be distracting.  A little starch in the shirt may help when ironing.
  4. Consider having your makeup and hair done professionally.  Even for a short session, you’ll feet great and be ready for a nice dinner at the end of the day.
  5. If you don’t have your hair and makeup done professionally, you need to know how to apply it, how to reduce too much shine on your face, keep your hair in the style you like, keep your makeup fresh and natural looking.  Remember, shine on skin is not what you want!  A little shine (and natural color) on the lips is great (girls). Absolute minimum make-up is lip shine/color and a little mascara.
  6. Don’t overdo foundation. Foundation that doesn’t match your neck, is too heavy or has SPF will all just draw attention to the makeup, not you.  Less is more.  Don’t worry about blemishes because retouching them is part of the final product.
  7. Bring a toothbrush and toothpaste, and floss, to work, or wherever you will be photographed….and go ahead and enjoy your lunch!
  8. Bring eye drops to reduce redness of your eyes from fatigue, computer screens, allergies or dry conditions.
  9. Check for nose/ear/eyebrow hairs or other hairs that aren’t where you like them to be.  If you have your eyebrows professionally shaped, do it a couple days ahead to reduce redness.  If you like added eyelashes, make sure you can apply them or have them applied well by someone else.  
  10. Keep jewelry simple.  I don’t even recommend necklaces for headshots, but I leave that to you.
  11. Get some sleep the night before, and drink plenty of water.  Just feeling rested and refreshed gets you off on the right start.
  12. Relax.  Don’t worry about your expression and feel you must start off with a big smile. We will work into it.  You’ll undoubtedly have a number of images to choose from, and the one that has the most organic, relaxed expression usually wins the day!

See also: 3 Simple Steps to the BEST Professional Headshot

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