Secrets To Getting A Great Headshot

The most important component in looking your best is looking like you. Good headshot and portrait photographers won’t ever tell you to “smile”. That’s a formula for a stiff, contrived photo. At The Headshot Works by the time you get in front of our cameras you’ll feel like you’ve been at our studio many times before. It’s sort of like letting your hair down with good friends.

Great headshots and portraits depend on positioning your head and body in flattering positions so the attractive and interesting aspects of you come through in the photograph. 

We instruct you into wonderful positions using our special, simple posing techniques. It’s easy,effective and fun. And, you won’t hear us say “smile” to you. We won’t have to.

Decide What You Want To Project

You’re going for a headshot or portrait because you want images that accomplish a purpose.That purpose may be to get an audition, impress peers in your industry, attract friends on social media or create a keepsake of you and your family. Clearly defining for yourself what your uses and goals for the photos are will determine your decisions for hair, wardrobe and even mood.

For example, if your goal is to improve your presence on LinkedIn or your corporate website you’ll need to pay attention to the suit top, shirt and accessories you select. Your hair style and grooming will be on the conservative side.

If your goal is to update your look for acting submissions then you’ll need to think about roles you want to get. Once the roles are defined in your mind, clothing, hair and makeup choices will be easier.

For family portraits, it’s all about reflecting your lifestyle. Choose clothing, hair and makeup as you would for a typical weekend outing. 

Skin Care

Taking great care of your skin in the days and weeks leading up to your photo session will enhance your photo results.

Hydrate! – Drink plenty of water leading up to the shoot. Good hydration is essential.

Moisturize – Use your favorite moisturizer after showering and as often as needed. This will prepare your skin for makeup and reduce the amount of makeup you’ll need.

Exercise But Reduce Time In The Sun – Getting outside for exercise promotes a healthy vibrant look but too much exposure to the sun can dry out your skin and create uneven color across your face. Blotchy, uneven color can hurt your photos. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and plenty of spf 30 sunscreen in the week or two leading up to your shoot.

Make Up – It’s important that you look your true self. And, while we offer professional make up service when requested, most of our clients trust their own skills. For your session, do  your makeup as you normally would for going to the office or even a night out. Bring multiple lip colors so that we can respond to wardrobe changes. Rely on moisturizing makeup rather than powders.


Your hair has a tremendous effect on your headshots. If you’re happy with your current 

style go with it rather than make a change prior to your photo session. Do have your  normal style cut and adjusted at least a week prior to your session. The more at home and comfortable you are with your hair the more likely you will project confidence in your photos.

Do pay attention to hair removal around your eyebrows, nose, ears and chin. Paying attention to detail in this area will give your look a subtle but very important boost.

Clothing And Accessories

In most cases darker clothing will enhance your brighter face as a viewer’s attention is drawn to the lightest area of a photo first. Always avoid prints and stripes where possible. Prints will draw the viewers eye away from your face and stripes could fool the camera’s sensor and create unwanted patterns.

Fresh, clean, pressed and good fitting clothing is essential to set the stage for your session. As the saying goes, you only have one chance to make a great first impression and that impression will happen in less than a second. Pay attention to detail and you’ll feel confident for your session. 

Earrings should be small and tasteful. Avoid earrings that are long and swing excessively. 

Again, your session is about capturing your inner self, not your accessories.

If you normally wear glasses at work then you should lean towards wearing them for your session. It is critical that your glasses are spotless with no hair, smudges or fingerprints. If you decide to take off your glasses for your session, do so at least an hour before shooting to eliminate the depressions on either side of your nose. We can’t wait to work with you!