Preparing for a Head Shot Session

Your head shots are a window into who you are as a person. The person potentially hiring you should be able to get a sense of what you bring to the table very quickly by looking at your head shots. One image should be able to convey your presence, style, bits of personality, and how you would appear if you showed up in-person.

Clothing

  • Wear clothes that are comfortable and flattering. You do not want to be uncomfortable. It will show on your face and in your body language.
  • Avoid visible branding and labels.
  • Remember that the emphasis for this is on your head/face. Take care of your skin and drink plenty of water in the week before your session.
  • Avoid bold colors or patterns and lines/stripes. Solid neutral colors work best.
  • Do not overdress.
  • Make sure to steam, press, or iron all items of clothing that need them before the shoot. You want to look professional and put together.
  • Bring several outfits to change into. Each outfit can portray you as fun, sophisticated, professional, etc.
  • Wear clothing that does not crowd the face. This include turtle necks and cowl neck sweaters.
  • Varying neck lines will change your look. Bring a selection of crew neck, v neck, and other gender appropriate styles.
  • Contrast is most important. Wear clothing that does not too closely match your skin color. If you have fair skin and light eyes try wearing blues, pinks and neutral grays. If you have green/hazel eyes try medium browns, greens and orange. If you have darker features you can get away with most colors but just make sure that none of them are too close to your skin tone.
  • If you always wear glasses, bring them along. Wear them.
  • Texture in clothing is OK as long as it is not distracting.
  • Limit your jewelry. Be minimal.
  • Well fitting Dark jeans/pants are usually a good idea.
  • Collared shirts and blazers are OK to bring. Darker shirts are preferred if they are not being worn under a blazer/sweater/jacket. Only bring a white button-up if it will be worn under something else.

Hair and Makeup

  • If you wear makeup it should appear natural.
  • Translucent powder may make your skin appear smoother in photos.
  • Avoid shimmery, shiny, or glittery products.
  • Most adult men won’t need makeup but if you’d like to be prepared anyway you can pick up some skin tone matched base, concealer, and powder for the shoot. Sometimes it does help to tone down skin’s natural tendency to shine, glimmer, and show wrinkles.
  • If you have super straight hair try to give it some volume so it will accentuate your face.

Men

  • Depending on your goals, it may be easier to arrive with a couple days of stubble to use in a few shots then to shave for the remaining photos.
  • It is very important to bring clothing that fits you well and flatters your face, neck, and body.

Women

  • Bring outfits that do not distract from your face.
  • Minimize jewelry.

Tips

  • Express your intentions to your photographer for getting a head shot made. What are your goals after receiving it?
  • Are you going to be playing certain character type(s)? If so, aim to portray that image in one of your head shots. Try to build a story for that character and exhibit that.
  • Bring sample head shots of other people that you’d like to use as inspiration images.
  • It’s important to be comfortable during the session. Bring along your favorite music on your mp3 or phone so it can play while you’re in the session.
  • Don’t get a haircut right before the session. If you need a cut make sure to do it several days beforehand so it can grow in a little.
  • Don’t start using new hair/skin products just before a session. They may not work out the way you expect and could cause problems.
  • Arrive with hair already styled, makeup applied, and wearing your first outfit.
  • Avoid over styling. The emphasis is on your face not your hair.
  • It may be helpful to bring a light lip balm or apply before arriving.

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