Headshot Session Tips

Jul 13, 2022 | Headshots, MIni Session

Headshot Session Tips

So it’s time to take a new headshot. The last one you took was back when your hair was a different color or before you grew a beard. Your headshot is the first way people “meet” you and you want it to reflect the person you are. Do you work in a professional field? Are you a creative? Starting your own business? No matter your profession, a headshot needs to look professional.

What does professional mean? We’re talking proper lighting, good background and good quality. So many people end up use selfies or a random cell phone image as their headshot and it doesn’t really give off great vibes, no matter your profession. Therefore we’re going to go through a bunch of headshot session tips, to make sure that you’re headshot comes out as good as you want. We’ll talk clothing, poses, backdrops and even photographers! Are you ready?

Headshot Session Tips

Headshot Session Tips #1

Hair and makeup. Make sure your hair is cut a day or two before the session. You want it to look fresh and professional, definitely not overgrown. If you’re getting it professionally done the day of, make sure they don’t use to much product in your hair. You wouldn’t want it to look too shiny or “crunchy” in your photos. Also make sure it looks natural and not too overdone. You’re not trying to win a beauty pageant!

If you’re getting your makeup done, make sure you communicate what the purpose is with your MUA. Camera ready makeup is different than regular makeup, but you don’t want it to be too heavy. Otherwise we once again run into the problem of looking like we’re ready for the runway! Keep the colors you choose neutral and simple so that the look remains timeless. Just because neon colors are in one day, doesn’t mean they’ll be in a week from now!

Headshot Session Tips #2

Clothing. You want to make sure your clothing fits properly. It shouldn’t be too tight or too big. You also want to think about your profession and decide what makes the most sense for what you do. Do you work in a professional office, a lawyer, an accountant etc.? Then you’ll probably want to wear a suit. Are you a creative artsy person? You ‘ll probably want to wear something a little softer to reflect that. It’s al ways a good idea to google “headshots for ___” (fill in your profession) and search under images. You can also do that on Pinterest. This will give you a good idea of proper clothing choices.

Headshot Session Tips #3

Style. Once again this will vary depending on your profession. Some one who works in a professional field will need a more formal headshot, vs a creative person who might like something a little more relaxed. Whatever profession you’re in, you can’t go wrong with getting a formal headshot done. Once you have that, if you want to do a styled marketing shoot for your blog or website, you can explore that further with your photographer.

Everyone should have one basic professional headshot that can use across the board. Website, LinkedIn, social media etc. It also makes you seems much more cohesive when all the platforms have a similar image.

Headshot Session Tips #4

Backdrop or background. Usually a professional headshot is done in an indoor studio with a simple backdrop. Some people like to do them outdoors, but personally I think that’s more suited to a “branding session” rather then a headshot session.*

Most photographers will have options of colors, but definitely ask before the session to make sure you’re happy. Everyone has personal opinions of what they like best, but it’s also good to speak with your photographer and get their opinion. They can guide you in what  color would look best for you.

If you have pale skin you might look washed out on a white backdrop. If you have dark skin, speak with your photographer to make sure they know how to properly light for your skin tone, especially if you want to use a darker backdrop. Actually when we talk about headshot session tips, this is a big one! Skin tone is so important, and if you’re photographer doesn’t have experience in different skin tones you might not be happy with the results.

Headshot Session Tips #5

Poses. Ok, this is another great place that Google or Pinterest can come in handy. Do a little research. See what you like. Your photographer will definitely guide you, but if there’s a specific pose you like, ask! Also let them know what profession you are in. Different poses give off different vibes and you want to make sure you’re doing poses that fit your profession.

Headshot Session Tips #6

Communication. In general communication is important throughout the entire process of getting your headshot done. Everyone you have to deal with in preparation for taking your portraits, from the MUA to the photographer, sure have a clear understanding of what you want. If you want your portraits taken on a white backdrop and your photographer only has dark ones, there is no way for them to prepare without communication. If you want your portraits done outdoors, and your photographer is an indoor studio photographer, you have a problem. All misunderstandings could be avoided with proper communication. This is probably the most important of all the headshot session tips I shared.

Headshot session Tips #7

Photographers. There are so many different photographers out there. Just because someone has been in business for 10 years doesn’t mean they know how to take headshots. Look at their website and/or social media or ask them to see their portfolio. If you like what you see, then great! If you don’t like what you see, then use someone else! A photographers portfolio is made up from their best images. So if you don’t like them, you’re not going to get anything better then what you see.

Another really important thing when talking about headshot session tips and photographers, is personality. If you don’t get along with the photographer, or you feel uncomfortable, then the portraits won’t come out well. Photos are very telling.

If you, or someone you know is looking to have new headshots taken in the Silver Spring, Maryland area, send me an email and we’ll get you on the calendar!


*A branding session is usually around an hour long and will often take place in your place of business. You will want to include images of you working and doing what you do best. Some times part of the branding will be outdoors and you can get simple portraits done during that time.

If you live anywhere near Silver Spring, Maryland (including but not limited to DC, Potomac, Rockville, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington, NOVA) think about booking a session with Yaffa to make sure that you can get the best possible photography experience possible. Let Yaffa help you print your photos and make it all a painless experience.