Headshots: How to Prepare and What Not to Wear


Alana Husband smallNow that summer is upon us, take advantage of it by updating your headshots outside of the studio. Here’s a handy guide to getting the most out of your next photo shoot session…

Know What You Want

  • Doctor? D.A.? Dog Whisperer? Make sure you know what parts you expect or want to be cast for.
  • What types of looks do you need? Smart? Sexy? Strong?
  • What types of shots to you need? Film & TV? Theatre? Commercial?

Know What You Look Like

  • Study yourself in the mirror and look at photographs to find your best angle. What colors look best on you? Hairstyles? Make-up?
  • Check out that posture, no slouching!
  • Practice expressions in the mirror. Think Top Model. Do your eyes sparkle when you smile?  Is that pout sexy or scary?

Find a Photographer 

Do some research. Choose a photographer based on style and with experience shooting headshots for actors. Hire the best you can afford! Your headshot is one of the single most important pieces of arsenal you have.

What to Wear

  • Colors that compliments your hair, eyes and skin tone.
  • Don’t be afraid of some texture.
  • Styles that highlight your best features.
  • Body-conscious clothing (fitted, but not tight).
  • Bring a range of looks and at least 5 full outfits (including accessories, undergarments & shoes).
  • Try on all your outfits and make sure they fit well.
  • If you’re not sure about an item, bring it with you.
  • If you need help, look at current trends in magazines, look at headshots on Imdb or go shopping and ask a knowledgeable sales associate to help you pick out items.
  • Let’s be honest – you might even have to buy a couple things and bring them back after the shoot. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
  • Bring your clean, ironed clothing in a garment bag. A big black garbage bag is a great substitute.

What NOT to Wear

  • Baggy, bulky, saggy or otherwise ill-fitting clothing. Even if it’s in style.
  • Solid black or white items
  • Busy patterns or stripes
  • Logos
  • Overly trendy clothing
  • Wrinkled, stained or torn clothing. Yes, Photoshop is amazing but it’s a waste of your photographer’s time to fix your clothes in post-production.
  • Shiny, sparkly or light-reflecting clothing & accessories.
  • Do not bring your clothing folded.

Hair and Makeup

  • Get your hair cut and colored at least a week prior to your shoot.
  • Again, Photoshop is great, but your photographer will be cursing your name if they have to touch up your roots in post.
  • For the love of God, hire a professional hair and makeup artist.

The Night Before 

  • Get a good night’s sleep!
  • Moisturize that face!
  • Make sure your clothes are ironed and ready to go!

On the Big Day

  • Arrive with a clean, moisturized face.
  • Arrive with hair the way you normally wear it (but not with too much product)
  • Bring your favorite music.
  • Eat before you arrive, bring water and snack(s).
  • Relax and have fun!
My client Leah Cairns – headshot shoot pro.
My client Leah Cairns – headshot shoot pro