How to Prepare for Business Headshots

Success in headshot photography is 50% preparation and 50% photography. We will do everything humanly possible to make sure you love your headshot, but your preparation is key. If you’re feeling unsure about how to prep for your photo shoot, here’s a list of 16 keys ways to prep for your HeadShots session.

The Ultimate Professional Headshot Checklist:

The Week Before:

🗹 Plan Your Day: While planning your day a week ahead of time can be difficult, make sure that you don’t have any appointments or other scheduling conflicts in the days leading up to your session. If you’re feeling sick, likely have a scheduling conflict, or just need more time, please email us at There’s no fee if a reschedule is requested with at least 24 hours notice.

🗹 Got Specific Requirements? Send Them Over: While each HeadShots session comes with personalized coaching, our photographers need to be informed of any special requirements you might have for your photo. Common examples include: a certain crop, a certain pose, a certain background etc.

If you have any special requirements, please make sure to email them to along with your name + date/time of your session. We will either make preparations to accommodate you or let you know if your requirements fit outside

The Day Before:

🗹 Check the Schedule: Make sure to you have time to calmly prepare for your photo session. If you’re sweaty or appear frazzled, this will reflect in your photos.

🗹 Check Your Email: If you have an outdoor On-Demand session scheduled with HeadShots, we may send you a weather advisory warning you that wind or rain the following day will not be conducive to headshots. We honor all customer appointments regardless of weather, but you may waive your right to a reshoot if we warn you that the weather isn’t cooperating. In these circumstances, we will 1) Propose alternative dates/times for that same location and 2) For customers in time-sensitive scenarios, offer an indoor alternative.

🗹 Get 8 Hours of Sleep: You don’t want bags under your eyes in your photos – they are almost impossible to remove in photoshop. All HeadShots packages include minor editing like removing acne, hot spots, and other inconsistencies.

But, we cannot guarantee that we can help with bags under eyes.

🗹 Know Thyself: Look back at past photos of yourself that you’ve liked. Were you wearing a specific color? Was it from a specific angle? Do you have a favorite side?

Sessions are fast, but your HeadShots photographer is always interested in hearing what you like from your photos. If you can bring a photo of yourself that you like, we’ll try to replicate that photo.

Also, if you typically have hair issues, try to plan for this beforehand. You only need to get your headshot right once every couple years! Getting your hair done the day before is worth it.

The Morning Of:

🗹 Dress For the Job You Want: Stick with solid colored tops. They’re more flattering and less distracting. Jackets and collared shirts are highly recommended. Depending on your industry, you may be tempted to wear casual attire. But, based on our experience, we recommend you dress up for your professional photos.

Try to avoid any large pieces of jewelry or excessive makeup. Avoid logos or badges on either your shirt and your jacket – or you risk looking like an advertisement.

For guys, unless you have a strong preference, try not to wear an undershirt with your dress shirt. If you do, wear a white undershirt – not a black or grey undershirt.

In general, you want solid-color and high-contrast outfits. For example, white shirt and blue blazer, white shirt and black blazer, or blue shirt and black blazer etc. Usually, black shirt and black blazer looks less striking.

Make sure your clothes are ironed and/or without wrinkles. If you have a lint roller, use it the night before.

For clients with acne or red permanent marks on your face, don’t wear a red top. If you have admittedly yellow teeth, ( we all do 🙂 ) don’t wear a yellow top. These will amplify the impact of that color on the photo.

Still don’t know what to wear? Check out our guide on What to Wear for Business Headshots.

🗹 Shave, or Don’t: Either cleanly shave or maintain a trimmed beard. Anything in the middle looks sloppy. When in doubt, shave. However, do not shave immediately before your shoot – as razor bumps and discoloration will become more apparent.

🗹 Manage Stray Hairs: Fly-away hairs can be difficult to remove from photos. We will do everything possible to minimize strays, but if you have any products you can use to fight the frizz, please give them a shot on the morning of your shoot. Using a tiny bit of water 5 minutes before your shoot will also help.

🗹 Follow Local Covid-19 Guidelines: Please bring a mask to your shoot, and check your temperature the morning of your session.

5-Minutes Before:

🗹 Check Your Hair: A little water goes a long way. Make sure you don’t have hair sprouting in all directions. Our editing team can easily remove single strands of hair, but clumps of hair are much more difficult.

🗹 Check Your Face: In a photo shoot, the flash on the studio lighting reflects off any sweat or dry spots, making portions of your face look shiny. At least some makeup is highly recommended for preventing shine/sweat spots.

Even if you have a dry face, do NOT apply lotion to your face within 4 hours before your shoot…If you need to, do this in the week before your headshots shoot.

If you don’t wear makeup, just before your shoot, grab a wet paper towel and wipe down your forehead, tip of nose, cheeks, and middle of chin. Then, get a dry paper towel and pat those areas dry. Our editors can remove some shine from your face, but not everything.

🗹 Check Your Top: Your HeadShots photos will only capture you from the half-chest upwards.  Make sure to 1) Pull your shirt down so that you don’t have wrinkles 2) Depending on your shirt, button your collar buttons and 3) Hide any undershirt that you wouldn’t want included in the photo.

🗹 Check Your Glasses: Dirty glasses stick out like a sore thumb. Try not to wear glasses that have “transition lenses”, as they will look like sunglasses in your photo. If you can, make sure your glasses are glare resistant, or lighting will interfere with the quality of your portrait…we may have to take off your glasses.

🗹 Relax: You’re going to look great! Stress and anxiety will show up in photos, so get yourself in a good mood. Listen to your favorite song and do a little dance at your desk before your session.

If you want some more tips, check out the 6 Most Common Mistakes Clients Make Before Headshot Sessions.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, please email us at



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