How to Plan for Your Personal Branding Headshot Session

Professional headshots can make a big difference in how you are perceived by others, especially when it comes to signing new business or getting a new job.

The headshot is a key component of personal branding, one that, unfortunately, is neglected sometimes.

That is why a headshot session is an investment all business owners should take into consideration. If you’ve never done something like this before or you have, but you want to make sure you’ll look your best when the time comes, then this post is for you.

Here’s how to plan your personal branding headshot session.
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1. Do some research

There are many different headshot styles you can go for and each photographer will have its own. It’s important to look at different styles so you can find one you like and would work best for you. Not only the shooting style, but the retouching work, as well. Pinterest is a great tool you can use for inspiration. You can create a board where you will save pictures with portraits you really like. Either way, you should look into as many portfolios as possible before deciding on the style you want to choose.

2. Decide on the location

You can choose between an in-studio session, an on-location session, or an outdoor session. If you’re considering a classic or modern approach, then you can go for an indoor headshot session. It’s a great option for those of you who won’t have that much time on your hands. For an indoor session, we typically photograph on a white, grey or black background. However, for an executive portrait, we will often use a personalized environmental element.

If you want to have a headshot with a more casual appearance, then we recommend going for an outdoor photo shoot. You should work with your photographer to select the best location for you that will convey your brand message and put you in the best light possible. When thinking about locations, It’s important to avoid busy backgrounds and distractions since you want your face to remain in the center of attention.

3. Bring a variety of clothing options

Branding Portrait Model Headshot Session

Choose a few different outfits in case you’re not quite sure what’s best to wear. You can also consult with your photographer before the day of the headshot session and they will advise you on what would look best.

Ideally, you want to keep it as simple as possible. You don’t want to wear bright colors which will distract too much. You should also try to avoid strong patterns, large collars or logos. Still, if you want to wear something which has a pattern, try to keep it simple.

Make sure the clothes will be wrinkle-free, especially if you’ll be wearing a dress, blazer or a nice shirt, which are more unforgiving materials. Photoshop isn’t a miracle-worker and using it to correct wrinkled clothes would take a lot of time and money, so it’s best to bring them already ironed.

Solid colors such as white, grey, black, navy or burgundy are great options. My tip is to start with a blouse or a shirt and then add layers to it to create the outfit.

Last, but not least, be sure to remove any pet hair that might be on your clothes. I have lint brushes and steam irons, but it’s best to come as prepared as possible.

4. Decide on a hairstyle

Try to keep a classic, timeless look for your hairstyle.

Women should opt to keep their hair down, but you can also do a few shots with your hair up so you can see which one looks best. You can do some loose curls to add volume to your hair.

Both men and women should bring a brush and some hair gel with them so they can keep the flyaways under control and rearrange their hair before and during the session.

5. Choose a natural makeup look

Women should keep the makeup as natural as possible. Add just enough foundation or concealer to cover blemishes or redness. Avoid shimmer, sparkles or bright colors on the eyes. Bring some makeup products with you in case you need to retouch your skin. Exfoliate your lips the night before with a toothbrush to get rid of any dead skin and keep them looking soft. Use a moisturizing lip balm to avoid dryness.

Don’t do any treatments on your skin the night before. That way, you’ll avoid any irritations which can occur. Don’t forget to tweeze or trim your eyebrows if needed.

Men should shave right before the photo shoot and use a cooling gel or aftershave to avoid skin irritation. If you have oily skin, then you should bring some oil absorbing sheets you can use to absorb any shine.

6. Rest well the night before

Headshot Photo Shoot Sleep

Be sure to get a good night’s sleep and drink plenty of fluids 24-48 hours before your headshot session. Avoid partying and alcohol as much as possible. If you need to go out, don’t stay out too late because you need to be, look, and feel well-rested.

By getting enough sleep, you will be in a good mood and be able to enjoy yourself, which is a win-win for both you and the photographer.

7. Practice makes perfect

Take a good look in the mirror and try to figure out which facial expression you want to go for and also how you’d like to face your camera. The photographer will also help you find the angle which works best for you, but it doesn’t hurt if you figure out what you’d like first.

It’s not silly at all to practice different poses or expressions. After all, you want to look as good as possible in the headshot so it represents your personality. Still, keep in mind you should not force your pose. Just be yourself, relax your shoulders and hands and you’ll see how everything falls into place.

Now You’re Ready for Your Headshot Session

Ready Scrabble Tiles

Online, first impressions are critical, especially for professionals. People form their first impressions in a fraction of a second so you want to make sure your headshot projects confidence and professionalism.

If you need help updating your headshot, whether it’s for your Social Media profiles or your site, feel free to contact me at 301.238.7090 to set up a complimentary consultation. 

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