How to prepare for your next professional headshot session

It used to be that professional headshots were only used for things like websites or company brochures, however these days, they are used for so much more.

I often get asked ‘do I need a professional headshot?’ and whilst you may think I’m touting for business (of course I am), the fact is, you really do!

Because everything is online now and your professional headshot is literally your shop window.

Whether it’s for your personal LinkedIn profile (here’s mine), other social media profiles, or for your company website, it’s the one thing that will stand out and make a follower or potential customer take notice.

So the question isn’t ‘do I need a professional headshot?’ It’s actually ‘Why wouldn’t you have a professional headshot?’.

Everything is online now and your professional headshot is literally your shop window. Let’s look at how to prepare for your headshot session.

What can they be used for?

As I said above, most websites these days have a who’s who page. We live in an age where buyers want to get to know us a little more so we will often use a professional headshot to showcase the team behind the business.

But, there are also other uses for them.

Promotional materials

These days, we are seeing more flyers, magazines, brochures and banners showcasing our gorgeous faces all over them. Because business owners are waking up to the fact we need to get more personal – so don’t be shy with your photo. It may feel a little daunting to share your headshot with so many but isn’t that the idea?

The more visible you are, the more you’ll be remembered!

Business cards

The day of the traditional business card is over. We no longer opt for the old style boring template and now fill our business cards with personality and colour.

More often, business owners are using their professional headshot on their business card and the reason is quite obvious. Because it gives a potential customer or client an insight into the person they could be working with.

They say a picture paints a thousand words and personally, I think this is a genius way of getting yourself out there.

Here’s mine. 

Ok, so it’s not a headshot, it’s side-on, but people always comment on how unique, personality-driven, and memorable it is, and it puts my face to my name.

Visual of Gemma Wilks' business card which has a photo of her on.

Magazine articles, newspapers and press releases

This is another no brainer for me. Especially if you are the face of the business. Having a professional headshot to hand when asked for a photo to support an article, makes life easier and less time consuming.

Perhaps the most obvious reason to have a professional headshot is for your LinkedIn profile. As much as the platform has mellowed with age, it still believes in the professional persona.

Your headshot is the first thing your connections (or potential connections) will see and it’s so important to make a good first impression. After all, you’ll never get a second chance!

Heard enough? Want to get your next headshot booked in?

My headshot sessions are short and sweet, chilled and relaxed, and will arm you with the most engaging headshot you’ve ever had.

Prepare for your next professional headshot session

So, now we know the many ways you can utilise a professional headshot, let’s look at what you need to do to prepare for one.

1 - Choose the right photographer for you

This is a tough task because there are literally thousands of photographers out there who will all claim they can do a professional headshot.

However, the reality is, it takes a very unique skill. Because it’s not just about plonking someone in front of a camera and asking them to smile; a good headshot photographer will know exactly how to get the right angles, the best backgrounds, relax you so you feel at ease, and most importantly, how to show your brilliant personality.

Enquire with a few,  including me 😉 and land on one who makes you feel the most comfortable. Someone you feel a connection with, because as easy as it sounds to do, getting a great headshot comes down to how comfortable you feel in that situation and is about more than just a smile.

2 - Your style, your way

The mistake I have seen many times over the years is that someone will show up to a professional headshot photoshoot in an outfit that does not depict the person I’ve had a conversation with.

It’s easy to assume that you should be suited and booted (because it is professional after all) but if that’s not who you are, then it’s not who you should portray.

A professional headshot doesn’t have to be stuffy. It’s supposed to give an insight into you, so when it comes to choosing an outfit, choose something that feels good on you.

As an extra tip, I would say, take two or three outfits to the shoot because it means you will be able to regularly update your headshot and look like you’ve had several sessions.

If you’d love some help choosing what to wear my fabulous personal stylists, Lisa Wood and Michelle Wright will sort you out!

3 - Stay environmentally friendly

No, I’m not talking about being eco friendly (although that is something I very much promote). I am talking about choosing the location for your shoot wisely.

Contrary to what most people think, a professional headshot does not need to take place in a studio. In fact, I’m not a fan of shooting in a studio – the more exciting the environment, the better the image.

A good headshot photographer will be able to guide you on the best locations and as important as it is to have a great background, it’s also important that it doesn’t become a distraction so trust in what the photographer tells you.

4 - It’s a headshot not longshot

A professional headshot should do what it says on the tin; be a headshot. This means it will likely be a head and shoulders shot and won’t go any lower.

Don’t get me wrong. A headshot shoot is different to a branding shoot. If we were looking at branding photography for your business, we would go down a very different route but for the purposes of headshot photography, simple is definitely favourable.

5 - Get your hair done

I don’t mean to appear bossy but trust me when I say, you want to feel at your best so it wouldn’t hurt to visit a hairdresser in advance of your photo shoot – I recommend 3-5 days beforehand.

If you’re having cut and/or colour, I wouldn’t suggest doing it on the day of your shoot. It doesn’t always go to plan and haircuts can often look and feel better after several days. If you’re just wanting it styled or fancy a blow dry, on the day is fine.

6 - Look after yourself

It’s not as simple as turning up on the day of your headshot session and hoping for the best. If you’re my client, I want you to feel at your best. It’s super important to me that you love every second of the experience (and your final images, of course).

Try to get a good night’s sleep beforehand, drink plenty of water, and moisturise your skin.

Iron your clothes and hang them up in preparation for the big day.

Don’t stress about your makeup. Just keep everything normal. You don’t need to step away from your normal routine.

Remember, a professional headshot should depict the real you so don’t go changing on me now.

7 - Keep your stress levels low

Try to book the photoshoot at a time that will allow you to go at a steady pace and not have to rush around. The last thing you need is to rock up feeling flustered.

Take your time and try to keep your stress levels low. It can feel a little overwhelming and intimidating so just give yourself time to breathe.

My biggest tip though is to relax. Your professional headshot photographer knows what they are doing. We are literally paid to make you look and feel amazing and we will guide you through the whole experience with ease.

Happy headshotting!

Have a chat with Headshot & Brand Photography and see if you'd like to work together

You know where I am if you need me 🙂

I specialise in capturing unique, colourful, and engaging headshots that show the real you. If you’re considering updating yours, let’s have a chat and see if we’d like to work together.