Style Advice Q & A

How to Prepare for a Photoshoot

Deborah Boland
Deborah Boland : photo by Lesley Bohm

Hi Deborah,
I am planning on having new head-shots done and am very stressed out just thinking about it.  I hate to be photographed and  feel very nervous about the entire process.  Most of all, I don’t have a clue as to what I should wear.  HELP, I’m not feeling all that fabulous after 40 these days.Thanks, Carol H.

I am sitting here blurry eyed and exhausted but couldn’t feel more excited and invigorated.  I just got back from a recent photo shoot with Lesley Bohm Photography  where I spent 4 hours getting prepped and shooting just to get a few new photos for this website.  I’m tired because I worked so hard to make sure my outfit looked good before the shoot and now I’m  elated because I love how my photos turned out!

If you are going to get a new headshot done for business, or for a special event, like a wedding or family reunion, you will want to do a little preparation for it.

I spent most of the day before the shoot strategically planning the 3 outfits that I wanted photographed.

Here are 10 tips I want to share with you:

  • Pick the best photographer you can afford.  Do your homework and find a photographer who has a reputable business so you can view their work.  Better to go with a pro than a friend who does it for a hobby.
  • Get your make-up and hair professionally done. Tamara Gold made me look Glam. She is incredibly talented!
  • Have an idea of what colors look best on you.  This is really the first place to start.  If you know what colors make you look your best then stick with those.
  • Know what level of formality you want to project.  Depending on the event you will want to dress appropriately.  The fabrics and styles you choose will affect how people perceive you.
  • Take some time and look at other people’s head shots.  Print out the ones you like and analyze them.  What are they wearing?  How are they posed?  What do you like about the photo, which ones do you not like and why?
  • Pick fabrics that fit your personality.  Solids are best, but patterns can work for full body shots. Know that bold patterns signal creativity.  If you are in a serious business, you will want to stay away from large prints.  However, if you do have a creative personality you can express yourself with color and pattern.
  • Once you have an idea of what you want to wear pick out at least 3-4 outfits and take a photo of yourself in them.   I did this only to be surprised after we took a few snap shots to find out the outfit I thought was going to be just perfect did not look good at all!  I ended up having to run out to the mall and buy a few new things.
  • Pick your accessories with care. You will want your accessories to enhance not distract. Once again you will be able to tell in the test shoot if you have made the right choice.
  • Always hire an experienced hair and make up person the day of the shoot.  This is well worth the extra money.  These people are pros and know just how to get your make up so you look your best without looking over made up. See if you can pay the extra so that they will stay for the entire shoot.  That way they can touch you up since the hot lights can melt your make up and your hair can start looking limp.
  • Don’t be afraid to move and change positions during your shoot.  Little things like leaning forward or keeping your chin down will help your look friendly and more natural than standing stick straight and stiff.
  • Try laughing during the shoot.  You will have more fun and it will loosen you up.  Don’t be scared.  Once you are there and get your make up on and your hair all fixed you will feel like a princess and shine!

Have you taken a headshot lately? What tips can you share? Please comment below!  

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6 thoughts on “How to Prepare for a Photoshoot

  1. Hi Deb,
    I have specialized in makeup and wardrobe for photography for approximately 15 years. Your information is right on.

    A couple more tips for headshots – Keep it simple, the focus should be you not your clothes and accessories. Solid 3 season fabrics, minimal accessories (unless you always wear a lot), makeup done to look natural, the goal is to look like you.

  2. As a professional makeup artist I thank you for giving us a shout out. Too many women don’t realize just how much work, experience and education it takes to get a beautiful shot. You both look fabulous!