Headshot/Portrait Guidelines

BEFORE THE SHOOT (1-2 weeks before):

• Plan your outfits in advance, selecting clothing that both flatters and feels comfortable.

• If anything needs dry cleaning, ironing or repairing, take care of it a few days before the shoot.

• Make salon and stylist appointments in advance of the shoot date (see below).

• Avoid sun the week of the shoot (you don’t want red cheeks or weird raccoon eyes!). Moisturize and stay hydrated. Your skin will thank you.

• The night before, get a full night’s sleep. You want to look and feel your best in front of the camera.


1.   Several changes of clothes (6-10 tops, with a variety of necklines), including layers (sweaters, vests, jackets). Accessories (such as hats, scarves) are optional. Though you may not wear all of them, it's good to have options.

2.   Lint brush or roller. A portable clothing steamer is optional (if you feel your clothes will become wrinkled in transit.)

3.   Hairbrush and hair products (gel/spray) to help with fly-away hairs.

4.   Ladies: Additional barrettes, headbands, or other hair accessories (for variety).

5.   Your personal make-up kit (with mirror), including a translucent powder (to reduce shine) and lip balm or gloss (to enhance softness). Oil absorbing sheets (to soak up facial oils or sweat) are also useful.

6.   Men: prepared clothing and other accessories (ties), hair grooming supplies, mirror and oil absorbing sheets (optional).

7.   If you wear glasses, bring them along. We can do looks with and without.



• Start with simple, solid colors. Pastels, shades and earth-tones are awesome. (As a rule, I advise against true white, black or primaries.) If in doubt, bring it along. You may look fabulous in it!

• Choose colors that bring out your eyes and compliment your skin tone. Most importantly, wear what makes you feel attractive and comfortable.

• If you want to wear a patterned top, keep it simple. Avoid florals, zig-zags, t-shirts with decals or logos, etc. You want the focus to be on YOU, not your shirt.

• Clothing should fit well. Avoid baggy, ill-fitting or damaged clothing, as well as tops that are too tight or see-through. If possible, avoid (or cover) spaghetti straps, tank tops, or shear material.

• Layers are great! Bring along sweaters, vests, and light jackets, to be added as we shoot.

• Boys/Men: Start with solid t-shirts or collared shirts. Thermals, crew necks and v-necks are also great for variety. Also, think layers! (See above.)

• Men: If we will be shooting corporate headshots, bring along a selection of suit jackets and an array of ties, in simple patterns.

• Make sure all your clothes are clean, ironed and without damage before the shoot. Wrinkles are time-consuming and difficult to Photoshop out of the finished photo.

• Shoes don’t matter to a headshot; however, you will want to be comfortable, especially if we will be shooting on-location (walking and standing). If we will be shooting full-body views (such as for Comp Cards, Senior or Family Portraits), you will want to “travel” in comfy shoes and then switch into your fancy shoes (heels, boots) for the session.


• Headshots:    Ideally none; otherwise keep it simple. Small ear studs, that don’t dangle or detract attention. Avoid large, flashy necklaces, bracelets or rings.

• Portraits can reveal more of your personality. Bring along what you like, and we can select as we go.


• If you’re planning to get a hair cut, get it a week before the shoot, to allow the cut to grow in a little. You also want time to get used to how the cut looks and feels before you are in front of the camera.

• Avoid drastic changes to your appearance, such as color treatments or perms. If you’re not used to your new “doo”, you will be self-conscious during the shoot.

• Ladies, if you’re going to a stylist beforehand, plan your appointment early in the day.

• Men, keep in mind that if you want to have facial hair, figure in growth time. Make sure your mustache, side burns and/or beard are trimmed and neat. If you’re planning looks with and without facial hair, make sure to bring your razor and shaving products to the shoot.


• Don’t do any extreme beauty regimes right before your shoot, such as facial peels, tanning or extreme exfoliating. Your skin should look fresh, not irritated.

• Especially for my young clients, start natural. Begin with a clean face, using only enough “make-up” to cover any blemishes. For teen girls too, the idea is “fresh, innocent”. There is no need to market yourselves out of your age group.

• For older teens and women, build up your make-up as we go. Start simple, then add eyeshadow, blush, and lipstick later in the shoot. It’s easier to add make-up than it is to successfully remove it. (The camera magnifies everything!)

• Check your lips! Are they chapped? Here is a link to help with that the day before:    https://www.livestrong.com/article/202212-how-to-get-rid-of-chapped-lips-in-40-minutes/

• Groom your eyebrows the day before, or morning of, the shoot. But be careful not to overdo it! You still want to look like yourself. It’s easier for me to retouch out some pesky stray hairs than to re-draw a whole new eyebrow.

• There is always the possibility of bringing your hands into the portrait/headshot. So, trim and groom your nails. Moisturize your hands. Keep nail polish light and simple (better pale pink than blood red!) 

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