creative portrait photography

How To Prepare For Your Portrait Session

You’ve done your research, found your photographer and have your portrait session booked! You are well on your way to having professional headshots that you’ll be proud to show off. But what should you be doing to prepare for your session? Aside from perfecting your smile, there are a few other things you should do to prepare for your portrait session.

creative portrait photography

1. What’s the Style/Mood You’re Looking For?

Portraits can be used in a variety of ways, different for actors to business professionals or just a casual portrait. You’ll want to think about the type of person you’d like to convey to the viewer. Are you more comedic? The villain? Dramatic? Each of these headshots will feature different facial expression, lighting, and wardrobe. When you have a clear idea of the type of mood you want to set with your headshots it will be easier to prepare for your session.

Models will also need to have a clear idea of what types of images they are expecting. Typically you’ll want to have something commercial that gives the impression that you can represent a wide range of brands but you will also want to have some more stylized and high-end shots as well. Research different poses for each commercial and high fashion shoots to get a better idea of what to wear, body placement, expression and hair and makeup ideas.

Professional headshots are in a category of their own. Professional business shots are vital in any industry. Whether you use them for business cards or for your online presence you want to make sure you know how you want others to view you. You want to be taking seriously but remain approachable and friendly so you will want to make sure you understand the different types of shots you can get through your session.

No matter which headshot you are booking your session for don’t forget to practice. Know which side of your face to turn to the camera and how to give a perfect smile that is genuine and sincere. Practicing in the mirror can help you better set the mood for your images and will make you feel more comfortable once the day of your shoot arrives. Your photographer will be able to give you some direction but you’ll want to know what types of characters or impression you want to give viewers.

2. Outfits?

Choose something you are comfortable in. If you aren’t comfortable in what you are wearing it will be obvious in your images. Choose two or three pants or skirts but stick with a greater variety of tops as most portraits are done from the waist up. Items that can be layered on each other like vest, jackets or scarves are great to bring as well since they can change an entire look.

Don’t just stick with seasonal outfits or all formal or all casual items. Also, pick a number of colors, you never know what is going to work on camera until you are wearing it in front of the camera. You don’t want to go with anything that is too bright or with flashy patterns and try to avoid solid black and white shirts. Patterns can be a good idea just make sure they aren’t too busy or flashy. The main idea is to keep your wardrobe simple so it doesn’t take away from your face but also gives viewers an idea of your own personality and style.

All clothing should be clean and ironed prior to the shoot. Bring along a lint brush as well. Your shoes shouldn’t be too much of a concern but you want to make sure they are comfortable.

Corporate Headshot

Professional Headshot

professional women headshot

3. How Will You Use the Images?

Are you using your headshots for your comp cards? In a portfolio? Business cards? You want to let your photographer know how you will be using your images so they know the best poses to suggest for you. Will you be displaying your headshots on your social media pages? Knowing how you are going to use your images may change the mood you have in mind so it is best to let your photographer know this ahead of time so they can give you the best advice to prepare and plan for your shoot.

4. Find Inspiration

While your photographer will be able to use their own experience and creative talents to pose you, it is always a good to have an idea of what you like. Looking online for examples of how to pose. Search through Pinterest for some inspirational shoot ideas and let your photographer know what you like and dislike. Keeping an open communication with your photographer is the best way to ensure that you get the right headshots and that you both remain on the same page about what is expected.

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5. Hair and Makeup

When it comes to hair and makeup, ladies should consider having a professional makeup artist for their makeup. You want to stick with a more natural look with makeup that highlights your features. As the shoot progresses, you can add on makeup like eye shadow and darker lipstick but always start off with a natural look first. If you are planning on getting you hair professionally done, make the appointment ahead of time either for the evening before or the morning of. It’s a good idea to be able to go from a down hairstyle to and up do or vice versa easily.

Men should get a trim a week prior to the shoot. You don’t want it to look like you just got your haircut so getting it done a week prior to the shoot will let your hair settle naturally. Shave just before you leave for you shoot and bring lotion with you to help reduce redness. You want to look clean and presentable when you arrive for your portrait session.

The most important thing to remember when you are going into your portrait session is to have fun! Trust your photographer and enjoy the process. When you are more relaxed your images will naturally look better.