A Few Do’s and Don’ts for your Professional Business Head Shot

It’s come to that time in life where you realize you can no longer use the photo from the bar as your professional head shot. You know, the one you cropped your friends out of where you have a mystery hand on your shoulder. Sure it’s a great photo of you, but it probably no longer cuts it for adulting. Whatever the reason for the update, I would love to give you some of the professional advice I’ve accumulated over the last couple of decades while taking portraits of professionals in Northwest Arkansas.

Let me just start by saying, everyone hates having their portrait taken… except my sister. She might be the only exception in the universe. Enough about her, let’s talk about you….

“What should I wear?”

Great question! You might not like my response because it requires a little bit of digging into the reason behind your new head shot, and it’s a twofold question. Who is your audience? How do you want to be perceived? Thinking about who will see your portrait, and why, will help you determine if you need a full suit and tie, or if you can wear a shirt and dress business casual.

Let’s start with some basics for attire. Seems simple, but you would probably be entertained by some of the stories I could tell from past photo shoots. 

•Does this fit correctly? Make sure to try on all your clothes before the shoot to make sure things still fit. Seems like most of us went one way or the other during this pandemic, so don’t   wait until the morning of to see what happened since the last time you put on that outfit.

•Is it clean? Please make sure there are no stains, and coats have been dry cleaned. It is amazing how many specks of dust the camera will pick up even after using a good lint roller.   Consider bringing your freshly pressed clothes to the shoot and changing on location to keep everything crisp and looking sharp

•Does this outfit make me feel confident, powerful, sexy, smart… whatever your word is, if you don’t feel it, you will not be comfortable and it will have an effect on the entire shoot. If you don’t have a positive connection while we are shooting, you will never like your photos no matter how amazing you look to others. So much about liking your final images is based on the experience you had while having your portrait taken.

Outside of feeling good, there are a few basic rules to follow when choosing clothing. 

•Consider your background. A lighter shirt will look better on a darker background and vice versa. Stay away from large prints, small patterns and white. If you’re not wearing a jacket, a   solid shirt will look best. If you’re wearing a suit and tie, solid shirts with small patterned ties look sharp.

•Please don’t wear a polo shirt, you’ll just look sloppy because those collars weren’t meant to be in photos outside the bar.

•If you’re not sure, bring a couple of options to the shoot and I’ll help you choose.

A few more things

•Men -Consider a haircut and a clean shave a few days before the shoot. 

-Please clean your glasses

•Women -Don’t try out a new hairstyle the day of the shoot. Testing out curls when you’re used to straight hair just adds a few too many nerves to an already anxious time.

-Hold off on powder until the session so we can apply it just before we shoot. This can really help cut down on shine. If you have a little bit extra, consider hiring a make-up artist to be on set to make sure you look your best. It’s worth every penny, and it can greatly reduce the need for additional photoshop.

-Consider bringing a statement piece of jewelry. Something trendy is always fun for a current photos, and we can take some images without the piece so you’ll have a less dated image to use down the road.

-Really think about the neckline. You could be just one crop away from an 80’s glamour session, and we wouldn’t like that at all. Jewel, Boat, Crew, Peter Pan and Collared are all good options for a professional headshot.

-Please clean your glasses

I hope I was able to give you a few good tips for your new headshot. Please feel free to contact me to book a session in my Fayetteville studio, or on location. I’d love to help you update your image.

portrait of a Black woman taken in a photography studio on a red background.