What to look for in your headshots photo session

Are you a lawyer, doctor, real estate agent, an actor or any other professional but your online presence hardly seems professional? Have you had your headshots done professionally but that was years and years ago and now no one (other than yourself) can recognize you in your headshot images?  Are you just entering the workforce and want to make the best possible impression right off the bat?  If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions then you need to get your headshots done!

When I opened a retail Ridgewood studio photography location I got a lot of inquiries from people asking if I offered professional headshots; so that’s how this studio offering was born.   People don’t always feel relaxed in front of the camera and not everybody loves to have their pictures taken – especially if it is pictures of just themselves and they cannot hide behind their spouse or kids:)  So I’ve put together a quick list of what you should consider when getting your headshots done and how to get ready for it. Hopefully these steps will make the whole experience enjoyable and fun!

Do Your Research

There are many photographers out there and lots of those photographers offer headshot packages.  So how do you choose a photographer that’s right for you?

  • Don’t choose your photographer purely on price.  I always believe you get what you pay for and saving $$ on an image that will represent you on the online world for at least a few years probably is not a very wise decision.
  • Make sure you compare apples to apples – e.g. one photographer’s price might seem competitive but they may not offer any retouching on the images.
  • Check out their portfolio to get a sense of their work – are the images posed or natural?  Do the images look like what you have in mind for your headshots?

Here are some questions you should ask your photographer:

  • How many images would you be able to review and make your selection from?
  • Are digital images included in the price and if so – how many?
  • What’s the turn around time to get edited images?
  • Is retouching included in the price?

Think of Your Outfit

‘What should I wear?’ – is a question I get asked most frequently.  And my answer is always the same – what you wear should reflect your industry (and what’s appropriate or not) and what feeling you want the images to reflect.  In general a good rule of thumb is to wear what you would wear for an important meeting.

Make sure what you choose to wear represents you.  If you love color – pick a colorful outfit; if you love accessories – make sure you have them incorporated in your headshots.  You want your personality to shine through the images.

Hair and Makeup

‘To Do or Not To Do’ – that’s a question (with regards to getting hair and makeup done professionally) that I get asked pretty often.  If you are like me – i.e. not great at applying makeup or having your hair styled yourself – then I would say that you should leave it to the professionals and have it done by someone who knows what they are doing.  You still want to look like yourself – if you normally wear a nude color lipstick don’t choose a deep red lipstick for the headshots.  Think about your headshots makeup as a toned-down version of stage makeup – it should be more than what you would normally wear but not so much more that people can see your eyelashes from miles away.

If you need to get a haircut or have your hair colored/highlighted/treated in any color related way – I would recommend to do it a few weeks prior to your headshots.  You don’t want to schedule your headshots and then change your hairstyle, not love it but be stuck with it in pictures.  Same applies to getting a spray tan – don’t to it right before your photo session.

Location Location Location

I believe that a photography studio is the best place for most professional headshots.  Studio photography does not mean boring backdrops and and standard poses.   In a studio environment a good photographer can control light and create images that are both flattering and creative.

Rarely (in my opinion) there are cases when studio is not the best location for headshots – sometimes you gotta take it outdoors.   So talk to your photographer to find out if that’s an option.


Hope these steps help you pick the right photographer and get ready for your headshots.  Remember – the most important thing is to relax and try to have fun.  And a good photographer will create images that truly reflect who you are.

And if you are located in Ridgewood, Ramsey or anywhere else in Bergen County or Northern New Jersey and need to get new or updated headshots check out my headshots package and give me a call to schedule your session!

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