10 Ways to Prepare for Your Headshot Session

How To Prepare For Professional Headshot Photography

The moment you book your session is exciting...and scary! What should you wear? How should you prepare? There are so many things! Here are a few tips to help you feel prepared for our shoot:

1. Clothes

Choose the exact clothing and accessories to wear during your headshot photo shoot and put them in a bag the day before your headshot photography session, so you're not stressing to find and assemble them the next day.  A headshot photo pictures the shoulders, or mid-chest, up to the top of the head, so the shirt is the most important item. We'll also get some full body shots so do bring one or two options for pants, but focus more on bringing a range of different tops. 

Avoid shirts that are overly bright or have busy patterns, as they distract from your face. Go for a solid colored shirt that elongates or features your neck. So, turtlenecks are out, as are solid black and solid white shirts, as they wash out your skin tone. Also avoid clothing with large logos. We don't want anything to distract from your face and eyes. See "What Clothing To Wear For Acting Headshots," for more top clothing tips. 

2. Skin 

Drink plenty of water in the week prior to your headshot phootshoot, as this will keep your skin plump, smooth and clear. Try to eat healthy foods, as fried and salty foods cause bloating and water retention.  Also avoid sun exposure, which can make you look tired and leave your skin irritated. Get plenty of sleep to avoid dark circles under your eyes!

If you want to go the extra mile treat your face to a pore cleansing facial followed by a soothing mask to get your skin as smooth and shining as possible.  **Important! Do this at least a week in advance, in case your skin gets irritated and breaks out. And even if it does don't worry, that's what retouching is for. 

3. Hair

Choose a haircut and hairstyle a week or two in advance, as freshly cut hair can look strange on camera.  Understanding that you should look like your headshot photograph, choose a hairstyle that you can easily recreate for your auditions.  A neutral style that highlights the natural curve and shape of your face is always the best choice for an acting headshot. 

4. Facial Hair

Prepare your facial hair for your headshots by trimming, plucking and/or choosing a style for shaving facial hair in advance.  Knowing that plucking can leave red marks, and bleaching can irritate skin, be sure to do these things a couple of days before your session.

Also, I invite my male clients to arrive at the shoot with stubble or beard for the first shots. In between looks you can shave so we can get a cleaner look, however some men's skin becomes red and irritated after immediately shaving so this option may work for some better than others.

5. Teeth

Avoid anything that may stain your teeth on the day of your headshot photographs.  If your teeth are noticeably yellowed or stained, invest in having them professionally cleaned and whitened, but don't worry if you don't have the time or money, we can easily get the same result with a little bit of Photoshop magic.

6. Nails (Yes, nails!)

Your hands may end up in some of our shots, so get a manicure for your nails. For women choose a neutral, skin tone polish, or a clear coat, so as not to distract from your face. For men a clean trim is enough.

7. Peace of Mind

For total peace of mind write down all the details for your headshot photo session and add them to your clothing bag: helpful info to include would be time, location, directions, and any instructions provided. It's also a good idea to have your photographer's number already saved into your phone in case you need to contact them on the way. If you are working with your own hair stylist or make-up artist, make sure to send them all these details too. 

8. Know what you want

Modeling for a headshot photograph is like acting for a still camera.  Take some time in advance to consider what kind of feeling you are trying capture in your image. Prepare by thinking ahead of some of the characters you want to be cast as and then practicing their "looks" in front of the mirror. Don't worry if you are not certain about this, a good headshot photographer should help you figure this out, but if you can come in with your own ideas that will help!

9. Don't rush

For a lot of people having their photograph taken is already a stressful event, so set yourself up to minimize your stress.  Be sure to GPS the photoshoot location in advance and allow yourself plenty of time to get there. Map your route in advance and consider what the traffic conditions will be on the day of your shoot. Give yourself at least two hours to spend at the studio. It's important that we go at a comfortable pace and not feel rushed during our shoot.

10. Communicate

Be in communication with your photographer before your session. You should definitely feel that your photographer cares about you and you're not just another client. Be sure to ask them any questions you have and a good photographer should take the time to answer your questions and put you at ease. On the day of the photoshoot make sure the you are in text message communication with your photographer, that way they can help you if you're having any trouble finding the location or for anything else that comes up. This is your photoshoot, it should be a special event where you feel supported by your photographer throughout the process and great communication is definitely a big part of that.


I love working with my clients to create images that help them be instantly liked by the people they are trying to impress. Whether it's a casting director, potential employer or investor, I create headshots that help my clients make the best first impressions to help move them towards their professional goals. To learn more about my work visit www.ericaseye.com and if you have any questions about my rates, policies or procedures check out www.ericaseye.com/faq. And if you want to reach me directly email ericaderricka@gmail.com.