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How to Prepare for a Headshot Session

Updated: Aug 15, 2022

Headshots used to be for actors to present themselves in the best light to casting directors. As the internet progressed, the need for a positive online presence is at an all-time high. Headshots are now one of the most important first impressions you can have, whether you're an actor, job seeker, professional, business owner, realtor, author, model, or just want to present yourself professionally online. Think LinkedIn, your business Facebook page, your personal Facebook page (please change out the selfie, job seekers), Instagram, your website, business cards, on your resume - there are a ton of ways to use your professional headshot and I guarantee you won't regret it.


Clothing may be a way in which we express ourselves BUT not all of it photographs well.


  • Solid colors

  • Simple patterns

  • Layers

  • Shirts with your business logo on the upper chest (not centered on the shirt)

  • Properly fitting clothes


  • Stripes

  • Big patterns

  • Logos

  • Fluffy/Flutter sleeves

  • Turtle necks

  • Baggy clothes


We want you to feel good in your favorite outfit, but don't wear old clothes. You can see the piling and fading in the final image, I promise!

Iron or steam your clothes and lint roll. The camera sees all!

WOMEN: Bring shirts with different necklines. The neckline changes the way you look and you will most likely look better in one over the other. If you are wearing a button-up, make sure the buttons on your shirt will be visible when the image is cropped shoulders-up.

MEN: Make sure your jacket and shirt fit you well. A jacket or shirt that doesn't fit distracts from YOU in the final image. If you choose to bring a jacket, it's a nice way to have two options without having to change your shirt.


Nice neckline, mild enough of a pattern. © Old Navy
Layers! Make sure that under layer can be seen when cropped shoulders-up. © Nordstrom
If you choose a tank, make sure you feel good about your arms. © Old Navy
Nice color, nice neckline, nice fit. © Old Navy


Pattern is too busy. Nice neckline though! © Old Navy
Flutter sleeves are cute, but not for headshots! The stripes are too much too. © Old Navy
Puffy sleeves make us ladies look wider! Pattern is mild enough! © Old Navy
Stripes are too much. The neckline is nice! © Old Navy

FYI: strapless shirts/dresses make you look naked! :D

© ABC, The Bachelor


Perfect! Jacket on or off, you look great. © Old Navy
Layers! Stripes are okay because the jacket covers most of them. © Old Navy
Mild pattern, thumbs up. © Old Navy.

Nice casual look with a nice neckline. © Old Navy


Stripes are too bold and too wide and distract from your face. © Old Navy
Pattern is too much by your face. © Old Navy
Your headshot is about you, not your shirt. ;) © Old Navy
Color is nice, neckline is nice. Logo on the chest kills it. © Old Navy


Professional hair and makeup isn't required but it sure does help. Not only does it help the final product, it helps you feel your best while shooting.

© Twenty-Six & Co. | Hair and Makeup by Jen Curtis

Make sure you go to a makeup artist that understands photography. Some MUA will use shiny makeup which can sometimes create speckles all over your face. Who wants that?!

If you choose to do your own makeup, less is more... unless you're a makeup artist! Your makeup should represent who you are and what you are going for with your image.


  • Shiny makeup

  • Clumpy mascara


It is best if your hair is styled as you would wear it and free of frizz and flyaways. Do not get a haircut the day before and DEFINITELY not the day of your shoot. Most salons will allow you to come in for a blow out!

Speaking of hair, tweeze those nose, chin, and upper lip hairs.

MEN: If you don't like your 5 o'clock shadow, shave before you come. You can also have two looks - stubble and freshly shaved. If you think you'd like these options, bring your shaving gear!


This photo is about you, not your jewelry.

  • Keep jewelry simple - small is better

  • Avoid jewelry that would distract from your face (ex: large hooped earrings)


We are professional retouchers and work with clients all over the world. You will get this world-class treatment on your image!

What to expect from the post-production side of your headshot:


  • We will take care of blemishes on your skin. If you have acne, it’s better to wear a little foundation to cover the redness rather than to cake it on. Trust us on this one!

  • We can reduce wrinkles, even out skin tone, reduce a double chin, whiten teeth, reduce under eye bags.

  • You will look like the best version of you!


  • We will not change you. We like you for you! :D For example: we will not make you skinnier, remove freckles, moles, or birthmarks. If you want any of this done, ask us ahead of time, but keep in mind it may be an additional cost.

Before. | Photography © Tommy Collier Productions

After. Retouching by Twenty-Six & Co. | Photography © Tommy Collier Productions

Most important of all, don't be nervous. We know what angles you look best and we will give you very direct instructions on what to do, how to stand, how to turn and tilt your head, and we'll even teach you how to turtle!


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