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Putting Your Best Face Forward - How to Prepare for a Professional Headshot

Updated on September 25, 2017
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Cindy raised her son while working from home and knows that a little professionalism goes a long way-home or office!

There are many reasons why you should get a professional headshot; Social Media pages (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter…), Business cards, book covers, press releases, new website, new business…the list is long. In almost any career, you need to market yourself to get ahead. Your headshot will be the first impression a prospective employer or client will have of you. You want your photo to express confidence and approachability.

Whether the image you want to convey is relaxed and informal or conservative and serious-you need a professional photo for it. Here are some helpful tips for preparing for your first professional photo shoot.

Face and hair:

You want to start these preparations a week ahead of time. Never wait until the last minute.

  • Pluck your eyebrows and, if needed, wax your lip at least 3 days ahead of time. This gives any redness or irritation a chance to disappear.
  • Cut or trim your hair 3 to 6 days in advance. This ensures the scissor lines have a chance to soften. You don’t want your hair to look choppy.
  • Men, if you are going to wear a beard or mustache start growing it out now, so all you have to do the morning of the shoot is trim it. If you’re going to shave, do it 2 days ahead of time to avoid irritation and redness the day of the shoot.
  • If you color your hair, do so at least 3 days in advance. Don’t do anything drastic as now is not the time for experiments. Just make sure that your color looks fresh and no roots are showing.
  • Get a manicure. This goes for the guys, too. Make sure your nails are neat and clean as they may end up in the picture.


  • Women, consider getting your make-up done professionally. The make-up you wear to work is not the same as it is for a camera. A professional make-up artist will know what works and what doesn’t.
  • Men usually don’t need make-up, but a little powder across the forehead, chin and nose will keep the shine off your face in front of the bright lights.


  • Wear clothing that is comfortable and you feel good in. You want to feel attractive. If you feel awkward, your unease will show in your photos.
  • Solid colors work better than prints and white, cream or darker tones tend to look better than bright colors.
  • Make sure your clothes are pressed the night before the shoot.

The day of your shoot you should be as relaxed as possible. Eat a light meal so you’re not hungry and short-tempered. Have your hair and make-up done early. You don’t want to be rushing around at the last minute. If you show up for your photos in a hectic, frazzled state of mind, it will reflect in your pictures. Just relax, be yourself and enjoy the session!


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    • crackerjack9 profile image

      crackerjack9 2 years ago

      I says a lot about you.

    • crackerjack9 profile image

      crackerjack9 2 years ago

      I just learned how to reply to my comments so I wanted to thank you for yours. Your picture is a client's First Impression of you.

    • profile image

      Andy 2 years ago

      This is a really good and informative article. The way you appear in pictures may change the way you view life.