Your Pre-Shoot Game Plan: preparing for your upcoming headshot session

Having an effective pre-shoot plan of attack is a great way to reduce the nerves before an upcoming photoshoot.

The idea of professional headshots or a personal branding session can be a little daunting. All those questions pop up on how to pose, and what your smile should look like. Then deciding what to wear, and preparing hair and makeup can be a little overwhelming.

So here are my top tips to creating a solid pre-shoot game plan to help kick the nerves, and have you on top of the headshot process.

1. Stay hydrated.

This not only applies for the day of your shoot, but for the days leading up to your shoot. Drinking plenty of water will not only help you remain energised and clear-thinking, but it will make your skin look great.

Moodboard of Happy headshots2. Collect Inspiration.

In all my sessions I have a discussion with my clients, and I use this information to create some inspiring mood boards that help guide us for the day of our headshot session. Collecting your own inspiration helps you get an idea on the images that appeal to you. It also gives you the opportunity to look at various posing ideas. You can even practise a couple of poses in the mirror. I definitely suggest this, as knowing what works for you will definitely make you feel more at ease on the day. Of course, your photographer should be directing you as well.

3. Sort your outfits the day before.

There is nothing like rushing around before an appointment. It doesn’t help with any stress you have, which is why I suggest preparing everything the day before. Collect your outfits and make sure they’re all ironed and on hangers the day before. That way you can just relax on the day of your photography session.

Natural light Melbourne Actors Headshot of girl with blonde hair4. Keep your hair and makeup natural.

Not only does this leave you with authentic looking headshots, but you will also find it much easier to stick to your usual routine. You won’t need any fancy smoky eyes or foundation contouring. Even if you do pull off a different makeup style, you might just find you start to worry about how you look. Stick to what you know – you’re beautiful.

5. Find a way to relax.

This could be by listening to music in the morning and on the way, or it could be enjoying 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading with a warm cuppa. Whatever it is that takes your mind off the world, use it as a tool to relax before your shoot.

6. Start your day with a great breakfast.

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A healthy, balanced breakfast will allow you to have the energy throughout your headshot session, and to stay focused. Stick to foods that make you feel really good – avoid ones that bloat you or make you feel blerg. For me, this would be a fresh fruit salad and some yoghurt – but for you, it might be something different.

7. Go over your inspiration and shoot-goals.

Have a quick refresher of what inspires you, and what goals you have for the shoot. Remember that you’re awesome, and you’re going to look great. Have confidence in yourself and your photographer to capture some great shots.

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Whilst it can be nervewracking to have your photograph taken, it is probably going to be an amazing experience for you. If this is your first headshot or branding photography session, you’ll be amazed at the professional results you’ll get.

Don’t worry so much about the little details (your smile, your hands, if your collar is straight). Concentrate on getting to know your photographer and relaxing in their presence.

At the end of the day, it is capturing you and your authenticity that matters.


Need some inspiration? Visit my folio to get some inspiration for your coming shoot! Click here.
For more tips, advice and insights into the headshot process, read my other tips and articles.