The other day I was packing to get ready for a headshot session when I got this email from one of my clients:
- “In regards to clothing, what should I wear for the shoot? Which make-up should I bring?”
I realised that this could be a very common doubt for someone who is getting ready for their first photoshoot or hasn’t done a shoot for a while.
Getting your pictures taken is not something that happens every day: it can be an investment in your business or just in your personal life. Plus, it can be a bit scary at first or intimidating, so let's make sure we swap this fear for excitement by having everything under control.
Which type of shoot you are having and for what
First of all, ask yourself some questions:
- What type of shoot are you going for: a quick headshot, a brand shoot…?
- How long will the photo shoot last?
- Where are you going to use this pictures?
- Is this a corporate headshot for Linkedin? Or something a bit more informal?
- Will a MUAH and stylist be involved in the shoot?
Gather all the information before your shoot to have a better idea of how to prepare yourself.
This will help you to have a clear idea as to which type of shoot you will be having and to understand, for example, the number of looks you want/need, if you need to bring your own make-up, etc.
One key thing to do is to communicate with the photographer to know exactly what to take with you to the shoot, so don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as you need.
I always offer a 30min free consultation prior to the shoot to make sure my client feels comfortable and in control of our upcoming shoot.
Get yourself ready
Now that you know which type of shoot you are going for, the number of looks, etc… it is time to get ready!
Make-up and hair
Do you normally wear red lipstick? Do you always have your eyeliner done? Is your beard always perfectly trimmed? Do you always straighten your hair?
See what really defines you in terms of make-up and hair and go with it. Don't try to overdo it: if you are a person who hardly wears make-up, don't go crazy on the eye shadow just for the sake of it!
I would suggest trying some ideas maybe the days before, to see if there is a specific look you are going for.
One tip I got from a make-up artist, is to hydrate your skin the night before.Wash it and use some fresh hydrating lotion and let it rest. It will look fresh and clean the next day.
In terms of hair, see if you need a trim or shaving but nothing drastic and do it always a couple of days before the shoot.
If you are not sure about what to choose or if it is a very big shoot, I would suggest looking for a professional MUAH artist.
In my brand photoshoots, I work with Jen Lo, a good friend of mine and a professional make-up artist. We offer also consultation prior to the shoot to talk about the type of photography and the looks our client is going for.
If you are going for a quick headshot ( 30min) I would suggest 1-2 looks maximum.
If you are going for a long shoot, for example, a brand shoot that can last up to 4 hours, then I would suggest more looks.
I would suggest picking outfits that truly represent you. If you are going for a more formal shoot that may be a dress code required, however you can always add your own style to it.
Some ideas to inspire you:
- Think about how you want to be perceived in line with your style: if you always wear shirts, by all means, wear a shirt if that is a statement piece in your wardrobe. Just make sure it is looking its best ( steam it, iron it...).
- You can always research on Pinterest and see different outfits that you like and recreate them with what you have in your wardrobe.
- If you are hesitating... over-pack! Bring more options and I am sure the photographer will help you decide what looks best on camera. Bear in mind the length of your shoot, don't pack your whole wardrobe if you are going for a 30min session!
- Think about the outfit you would wear to an X event: what would you wear to go to see some friends for dinner in a new restaurant? Would that be a mix of casual comfortable but nice-looking clothes? Maybe that is a good inspiration to start with!
Let's talk about shoes... well, this is a very personal one. I would say if you are going for a headshot, shoes don't really matter because they won't show in the pictures.
Some people like to wear heels because they feel better with them, and some people prefer to be barefoot. The choice is yours, just make sure if your feet are in the shot, they will look their best ( with or without shoes!).
I would suggest not to wear uncomfortable shoes as they can affect your mood. You can always bring an extra pair. Let's say you have these beautiful high heels that you love but aren't comfortable walking around all day, then pack them and just wear them during the shoot.
If you are really not sure about what to choose or it is a very big shoot, I would suggest looking for a professional stylist
Remember, stay true to your own style and personality!
Things to avoid before the shoot
- No drastic changes on your physic before the shoot: dramatic hair colour changes, risky haircuts...
- Wearing uncomfortable clothes and shoes.
- Last minute shopping unless it is for basics.
- Don't go out the night before or drink heavily, it won't be fun the next morning and the pictures will be able to tell!
- Don’t try to be someone else. This is about you :)
At last but not least, one of the most important concepts to have ready for your shoot.
In your shoot, you will be in professional hands, you have everything ready and planned, so there is no need to get stressed. It is time to relax.
The night before, try to have a bit of time to disconnect, to rest. That will help you feel fresh the next morning. Set up the alarm to avoid any oversleeping and rushing around, it isn’t a great way to start the day!
Also, now that you have picked up your clothes and looks, you know you will feel comfortable and look good in them, so keep that positive thought in your mind.
It is so easy to start criticising every single part of our body, but that doesn’t help us at all. Avoid any damaging language towards you and your physic: you deserve to look good in pictures, and you will!
And most of the time we are the worst critics, so for today and tomorrow if you can, try to change that damaging speech to: “I am getting my pictures taken tomorrow, how exciting!” “I am going to look good in pictures!”
Also, a big warning: it can be a bit awkward when you first see yourself in pictures but give yourself some time to get into the right mood and feel comfortable during the shoot. That will help you to love the result of the pictures!
During my headshot sessions, I direct the person I am photographing: I suggest the best pose for them, and I make them feel comfortable and relaxed so they will look their best in the pictures. I also review the pictures with them after to make sure they are happy with the results.
"Thanks so much for these. They are fantastic. Just what I was after.
It was lovely to meet you too.
I enjoyed the process, was a little self conscious at first but relaxed quickly with your direction.
Notes to take with you
Stay true to your style: wear comfortable clothes and make-up that truly represent you.
Ask as many questions as you need to the photographer to make sure you know what you are getting out of your shoot.
Look for professional services like a make-up artist and stylist if you think you may need them for your shoot.
Avoid drastic changes in your physic prior to the shoot.
Get yourself in the right mindset and relax the night before the shoot.
I hope this advice will be helpful for your next shoot!
P.S. I am organising a headshot session in Central London in August, so if you are interested in getting some new fresh images, you can sign up on my waiting list here and I will send you more details soon.