How to Prepare for your Headshot Photography Session

What to Wear?

This is the most common question I receive! It’s also the most important decision you can make, because even if your photo shows very little of what you are wearing, the clothes you choose for a headshot session are still incredibly important. What you wear affects how you hold your body and how you feel.

First, plan on bringing a variety of clothing options. Together we will select the ones that make the most sense for your session goals. Make sure ALL your clothing fits properly and is ironed. Layering is helpful; adding a jacket is a really simple way to provide variety in your clothing choices.

The best suggestion I can give is to avoid wearing anything that will take attention away from your face! Keep these things in mind:

  • Sleeveless blouses may draw attention to your bare arms.
  • White shirts alone can often wash out peoples’ faces.
  • Bold patterns or reflective surfaces (including large jewelry) may distract from your face.

Most importantly, your clothing should look like you- because that is the image that you want to project.


It is a good idea to have your hair freshly cut in the week leading up to your session. Also if you generally have your brows shaped or any other facial grooming, I suggest you have this done a couple of days before your headshot photos are taken, in order to avoid redness in your pictures.

Be sure to keep your face moisturized- both men and women.

environmental portrait of young male professional with Pittsburgh city in background

Hair and Makeup

For a professional headshot, our goal is to represent you as authentically as possible. Your hair and makeup should look natural, so that anyone meeting you for the first time would recognize you from your headshot.

I highly recommend you- male or female- retain the services of a professional hair and makeup artist. Studio lighting can add shine and wash out the face, and a professional knows how to combat this effect. I am happy to put you in touch with competent hair and makeup artists in the Pittsburgh area.

If you work with a professional makeup artist, it’s a good idea to do a test run before your headshot session in order to ensure you are happy with the look. For women I usually suggest wearing the same amount of make up that you would wear on a night out.


If you wear glasses every day, you should definitely be wearing your glasses in your headshot. However, if you sometimes wear glasses and sometimes wear contacts, bring the glasses to try for a few photos. If you have multiple frames, bring them all so we can try multiple frames and lenses.

It really helps if you wear glasses with non-reflective lenses, to help avoid light glare in your photos. But I also have techniques that I use to minimize these challenges. You have lots of options!

Supply Kit

Pack a small kit of items that you might need to freshen up during your photography session. These may include a comb or brush, hairspray, compact mirror, lip gloss or other makeup. It is a good idea to have these items on hand to help with any hair and makeup touchups during your session. 

Final Preparation

The most important thing you can do in the days leading up to your headshot session is to get plenty of rest and hydrate well. This means avoiding alcohol, salty foods, and late nights. It’s amazing what a few good days of rest will accomplish!

Of course feel free to reach out at any time with questions about your headshot photography session. I am looking forward to working with you!

COVID 19 Statement

As a small business owner it is vitally important to me that I provide a safe environment for my clients during the current COVID 19 pandemic. Please take a moment to review the precautions and policies that I have implemented.

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