Preparing For Your Actor or Corporate Headshot
1. Knowing What You Want:
To get the most out of your headshot session there are some things you need to consider:
- Why do you want a headshot?
- What will you use it for?
- What do you want it to look like?
Start discussing with your photographer what you are hoping to achieve.
2. Deciding on Indoor or Outdoor:
For my longer sessions, we can often do a little of both natural light, and studio light headshots. For shorter sessions, it’s best to choose the one that you think will work best for you. Some people immediately have a preference. If you are not sure, have a read of my post that compares natural light and studio light.
3. Creating A Mood Board:
Once you decide on your photographer, and if you want a studio or outdoor shoot, start discussing what you want your images to look like. I always have my clients email me some ideas and inspirational headshots and portraits that they like. This gives me an idea of what they are after in terms of lighting, style, posing and mood.
Working along with your photographer, getting together a mood board gives a really good guideline for the photoshoot, and keeps you on track during the session too. It can include things from pose, to lighting, to crop, to colour.
Pinterest is a great place to start!
You can find my work on Pinterest too!
4. Posing and Expression
Once you have looked at inspirational photography for your mood board, you can practice some poses and angles in the mirror. Knowing your best side and seeing yourself do the posing can really increase confidence before the shoot, and gives you an idea of what you like or dont like before you get to your headshot session. Practice some posing in the mirror to get an idea of what works for you.
Eyes: Have a look at your eyes when you smile, and when you don’t smile. If necessary, cover your mouth and the bottom half of your face, to see the difference in just the eyes. You’ll notice, the bottom eyelids rise a little when you smile. Practice lifting the bottom of the eyelids (without squinting too much), as it can help give a little more life to your headshots.
Neck & Chin: leaning forwards at the torso a little bit, and putting your chin slightly forward and down can help to extend the neck and avoid any double chins. It can strengthen the jawline and give more shape to the face. Practice pushing your chin forward slightly in the mirror to see what difference it makes to your jawline.
5. Choosing Your Outfit:
I always tell my clients to bring a range of outfit options to the shoot.
Coordinating colour to compliment eyes and hair colour is a great idea. We can also work together with the backdrop choice to tie the headshot together.
Simple items of clothing are often quite effective. Keeping the focus on you and your eyes and face is our goal. The most important thing is to stay comfortable, and wear something that makes you feel great. Keep your outfits ironed to look your absolute best.
6. Hair & Makeup:
Hair and Makeup can make a big difference to your headshot. You want to make sure you still look like you. Keep it low-key, but aim to look like ‘your best self’. Using the guidelines of what you would usually do for an audition (for actors), or how you would look to meet a client (for business) is a good starting point.
If you choose to have your hair and makeup done professionally, make sure your HMUA knows you are being photographed. Avoid cakey makeup and make sure your skin tone looks natural. The more matte your makeup is the better.
Also Remember: brush and floss your teeth before the session!
7. Getting Rest:
Keep yourself well rested the night before your headshot shoot.
Being alert and feeling great will only make your shoot more enjoyable, and you will love the outcome.
8. Eat Well:
Look your best, feel your best.
On the day make sure you eat before your shoot so you don’t feel lightheaded, weak, or irritable.
I recommend eating something that makes you feel great – avoid foods that may bloat you and make you feel self conscious. I also suggest avoiding heavy alcohol drinking the night before, and avoid smoking if you can. You want to keep yourself looking fresh and healthy, and these two things can dry out the skin, make you look rundown, and make your eyes bloodshot.
9. Stay Relaxed:
It is really important to stay relaxed before and during your headshot session. Give yourself plenty of travel time to avoid last minute stress. If you are running behind, just let your photographer know. Make sure you arrive safely, so don’t rush and stress yourself out!
Just remember to trust your photographer. If you have both prepared well, the shoot will go great, and you will look awesome. Try your best not to compare your headshots with your friends or co-workers. The beauty of portraiture is showing who you are and what you look like – everyone has beauty, so relax and embrace yours.