How to Prepare for Flawless Professional Headshots by an Expert

You are bound to feel nervous soon after booking a session for professional headshots, and a string of questions will run through your mind. What outfit should you wear? What are the preparations required? There are a million things you need to think of, and you’ll be apprehensive that you might miss something.

Here’s a quick checklist that will give you the confidence to face the camera:

The Outfit

Nothing better than the right clothes can make you look gorgeous. You need to select the clothes and other accessories with great care to make your photo headshot session a success. Select your wardrobe a day before the shoot so that you have enough time for last-minute changes, if any.

A headshot is more like a bust shot where only mid-chest, shoulders, and top of your head matter. Hence, focus on your shirt, which is an essential item in your outfit for the shoot. Of course, a couple of full body shots may also be required, so make sure you wear a pair of matching pants. It’s a good idea to carry a couple of pants and a few tops as spare because you never know how things will turn out.

Try not to wear shirts with large floral designs as the focus gets diverted from your face. Choose a colored shirt that features your neck and face. Please don’t go for pure white or solid black shirts as they tend to contrast your skin too much. You may ask your photographer to recommend the right clothes or share a checklist of what you can wear.

Stay Hydrated

A week or so before the shoot, you need to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated during the photo session. Being hydrated helps keep your skin tone perfectly as it becomes smooth and clear.

Avoid junk foods and don’t indulge in salty and fried stuff as they tend to have a bloating effect due to water retention. Avoid going out in the harsh sun for too long, as it makes your face and skin look tired and worn-out. Sleep well and go with a fresh face, and your professional headshots will be a success.


Much ado about your hairdo is good. Decide on the haircut and hairstyle well in advance (at least a week) to give time for the freshly cut hair to set. Freshly cut hair may look odd on camera. Don’t go for a complicated hairdo that won’t stay in place for too long and is difficult to recreate. A neutral hairstyle that goes well with your face is what will work.

Facial Hair

If you wear a beard, make sure it is well-trimmed. If you’re clean-shaven, make sure it is so. Also, ensure no stray strands are jutting out on the eyebrows. Any plucking or bleaching needs to be done two to three days in advance to avoid any redness at the spots. Men who think they look better with stubble should grow it for not more than two to three days before the shoot.

Teeth Whitening

Check your teeth for noticeable stains. It is advisable to avoid food and drink that are likely to stain your teeth. If they are stained, have them cleaned or whitened by a professional a day or so before the shoot. If you are hard-pressed for time, your professional photographer can fix a few small stains.


Although you are planning for a ‘professional headshots’ session, you need to manicure your nails. You never know if the session will include a “pensive shot” with the tip of your forefinger touching your chin. Women need to choose a neutral shade or a clear coat, which won’t be too glaring and obvious. Men can settle for a regular trim, which is more than enough.


Be Relaxed

Your attitude and state of mind are more important before a headshot photoshoot session. It makes sense to jot down all the minor details and have a checklist in your bag so that you don’t forget anything at the last moment. Keep a record of the time, location, and shortest route to quickly get to the session venue. Have your professional photographer’s phone number handy to keep them informed of delays, if any.

Don’t be Unplanned

A headshot photoshoot session should not be a ‘spur-of-the-moment’ affair as many things can go wrong if you don’t plan. Avoid any stress before the session to get the best results. Have enough spare time to reach the photoshoot venue. While at the studio, don’t rush through the session. You may want to spend two to three hours to get the right mood and feel to make sure the session turns out to be a success.

A headshot photo may be planned for building a portfolio or for producing at an upcoming audition.  Proper planning can ensure you get some stunning pictures, which will speak for themselves.