How should I prepare for my headshot session?

When preparing for a headshot session, you get out what you put in. I've put together the following guide to help you prepare so please read thoroughly and lets knock this out of the park. 


Take a minute and think about what look you want to go for. Some people find this easier than others so if you aren't sure, don't stress it. We'll work a variety of expression during the session, but if you know what kind of look you want to have, lets discuss and focus in the right direction from the start. Whether its portraying that hard-charging international negotiator or a relatable friendly mortgage broker, we'll dial in the right look for you. 



Keep in mind that headshots are from the upper-chest up and we want the focus to be on your face and expression. Clothing should compliment and match the look you're going for, but not draw any undue attention. We want the viewers eye to be drawn to your face and expression, not your clothing. 


Bring a lot of options, 5-10 if possible. We're just talking about tops here, what you wear on your bottom half doesn't matter so just be comfortable there. We'll review the options and I'll help you pick out the best to make your headshot shine. Remember, if you don't bring it, we can't shoot it. 


Try to bring:

  • clothes you love and feel great in
  • clothes that are form-fitting
  • favor solid covers over patterns
  • layers - a jacket or sweater that works well with one of your tops

Try to avoid:

  • overbearing patterns - they distract
  • baggy, loose or ill-fitting clothing - they add unwanted pounds
  • high collared shirts/jackets - they shorten the neck
  • wrinkled clothing - the camera will put a laser focus on this


Pro-Tip: Maybe you have some clothing in mind that you don't own. Go buy it, keep the receipts and tags on and you can return it after the shoot!

For women, there are a lot of options when it comes to necklines. I've included a chart below with some advice on what to bring there.


I've put a cross on styles that are not suitable for a headshot - not because they're not flattering, but because they make too big of a statement. I've put a question mark on those that may look ok but could also be too complex and distracting. By all means bring these along but please don't rely on them exclusively.


People often ask what colors are best and I don't really have a solid answer for that. It works better to get a visual of something and how it looks on a particular person, so just bring a variety of colors you like. 



If you wear glasses, bring every pair you own. I'll do my best to remove any glare from the lights in your glasses. Sometimes we have to try various pairs depending on how they respond to light. 



I highly recommend working with a professional makeup artist, I can provide one as part of your headshot session. Here's a link to why I think it's important (link). If you're using one of my artists you can skip this section - you'll receive seperate instructions from them. 

This section is for the ladies. Guys... please don't wear makeup; it'll be very noticeable. 


Just as with clothing, "keep it simple" is the name of the game here, less-is-more. If you think about how stage makeup is purposefully overdone to stand out at a distance, headshot makeup should be the opposite. You need much less in such a close shot, and too much will be very noticeable. Keep it light and natural.  


My lighting will help to minimize wrinkles and retouching will take care of those little blemishes we all have. 



  • heavy eyeliner - avoid sharp, harsh lines, keep it soft
  • eyeshadow
  • penciled in eyebrows with a harsh line - they need to look natural
  • too much blush
  • lip liner and lipstick (bring in a clear/neutral gloss to keep your lips shiny and/or a hydrating lipstick in neutral colors to even out chapped lips and uneveness)
  • powder foundation - liquid concealer works better on camera
  • fake eyelashes or clumpy mascara - keep them delicate

As we work through your session we can always adjust the makeup, so start with less and we can go from there. 



Yes I have a whole section dedicated to lips. Being in Minnesota the winters tend to bring dry lips and with such a closeup it can be very noticeable if you have dry or cracked lips. If you have even slightly dry lips, become best friends with a tube of chapstick in the weeks/days leading up to your session. Trust me, it'll be worth it. 


Unless its very specific to your look/brand, I prefer to keep the use of jewelry to a minimum. It can very easily overpower a shot and be distracting. We'll be creating killer shots that draw the viewer into your eyes and expression, jewelry will generally only serve to detract from this objective, rather than enhancing. You can certainly bring necklace and earring options to try, just try to keep them small. We'll see how they work and adjust accordingly. 



Ok that was a lot to read. At the end of the day, don't sweat it, I want you to be as relaxed as possible for your shoot. Just think simple and natural and we'll work from there. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to call me at 952-392-9586 or CONTACT ME.