Styling Tips for Successful Headshots

In many ways, your hair style, choice of eye wear, your jewellery and even the colour of your lipstick, forms part of your visual identity. However, like most people, you probably have more than one look. Depending on the occasion and company, you might make entirely different choices. With this in mind, how should you approach these options ahead of your headshot session?



Now, if you’re folically-challenged like me, then hairstyling is blessedly not an issue you have to wrestle with. If, however, you still got a full head, you might like to consider the following guidelines!

It is important that you are groomed rather than look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards when you arrive for your headshot session (unless that’s the look you’re going for-no judgement). By all means bring a brush, hairdryer, tongs, product and anything else you may need to look your best. We can build some time for all of that at the start of the session.

The day before the shoot is not the time to go in for a radical new cut or colour treatment. You should come along with a style you are already comfortable and confident with. 

It might also be worth us trying some shots with your hair up as well as down, if length allows. If you’re building a portfolio, this can work really well to reflect your range.


Facial Hair

Some clients like to come along with stubble or a beard and then shave it off halfway through to get some shots with a clean-cut look too. If you signed up for a ‘Portfolio package’, rather than a ‘Standard session’, this is certainly possible but do make sure you bring along a razor and  any products you need and bear in mind that this will take out some of the time you will have in front of the camera. I strongly recommend you use an electric razor too - while I can, of course, retouch away any nicks and cuts, you don’t really want the hassle, do you?!


Glasses & Contact Lenses

A good headshot is all about eye contact - we want to do everything we can to make your eyes pop. The best thing you can do to help here is to come along having had a good night’s sleep and be hydrated. Again, we can reduce dark circles in post, but we want to make sure the camera catches you at your best to begin with.

If you wear contacts, then come along wearing them. If you normally wear glasses, that is fine too. Many glasses these days have an anti-glare surface which can help, but sometimes reflections can be an issue under certain lighting conditions. There are some tricks we can use to manage this challenge but, if you’re comfortable to do so, will take some shots with and without your glasses too.



As a general rule, less is more when it comes to headshots. By all means bring along a favourite set of earrings or pendant but I like to start at least, with a completely blank canvas. Again, you are the star of the show here and not your accessories. If you have piercings or other permanent fixtures and fittings, just come as you are.



The same is true of make up - unless you have a particular make-up regime which is inseparable from your visual identity, then come along at the start of the session with the minimum amount of make-up you’re comfortable to wear. It’s really tempting to go heavy on the foundation and blusher to cover over blemishes and imperfections but, ironically, this can just make the work in post-production harder. I can easily remove any non-permanent imperfections as part of the retouching service. That having been said, if you have oily or shiny skin, a little matte foundation can help to reduce hotspots under studio lights but go lighter than you think you might need.

The most successful shoots tend to be with clients who have little or no make up on to begin with. You can always then add a little more, once we’ve established a baseline so bring along anything that you think might complement your wardrobe and colouring.

Why not now check out our post on Wardrobe and Styling choices.