How to Prepare for your Professional Headshots

Thank you for choosing Graham McKerrell Photography to capture your corporate headshots.This guide will help you and your team be prepared for the shoot so that it is not only successful, but fun and stress free.

A few days before your shoot you’ll want to start getting prepared. If you’re properly prepared for the shoot you’ll not only have an easier and more stress free time during the shoot, but the resulting images will look a ton better than if you just winged it.

First and foremost: get a good night’s sleep and come to the shoot properly hydrated. These two actions will go the farthest in making you look your best.


Clothing is a form of expression and the clothes that you pick to wear will reflect your personality in the images. My best piece of advice when choosing clothes is the simpler the better.

Ensure that whatever you choose to wear, fits you well.

Solid colours look great in headshots. If going with a pattern keep it simple.

Start with a simple shirt or blouse and slowly add layers. Bring a few changes of clothes to the shoot.

For the guys: a sport jacket and collared shirt should suffice.  Or, go all the way with your best suit and tie

Make sure that ALL clothes are ironed and pressed before the shoot. Wrinkles in clothes are difficult to Photoshop out. It can be done but there may be an additional charge for editing.

Don’t worry about shoes if just shooting headshots. Be comfortable.


Bring a brush and some hair product (gel/hairspray) with you to the shoot to help calm fly-aways. 

Start with your hair down and towards the end of the shoot put it up in a ponytail for a more casual look.

If you can afford it, hire a hair stylist for the morning of the shoot. Or, alternatively, this can also be an added extra that I can arrange for you.

Makeup and Face

Start natural. Just enough to cover up any blemishes. 

Try not to use matte styles of makeup. It may dry out your skin.

Bring your makeup and moisturizer with you to the shoot in case your skin does get dry or you need touchups.

Bring lip balm or lip gloss with you to help keep lips looking soft.

The night before, brush your lips with your toothbrush to help get rid of any dead skin.

Don’t do any extreme beauty regimens right before your shoot, like facial peels, tanning or extensive exfoliating. Your skin can look very irritated.

Get rid of any unwanted hair a few days before your shoot. Clean up brows and upper lip hair.

FOR MEN. Shave right before you leave for a shoot. A 5 o'clock shadow can’t be Photoshopped easily. Use cooling gel or aftershave to help with skin irritation.

Leave your coloured contacts at home and bring clear contacts with you. Coloured contacts can look very fake in photographs. Bring eyedrops with you.

If you can afford it, hire a makeup artist to do your makeup and stay with you during the shoot for touchups. Or, alternatively, I can arrange to have one available. Extra fees will apply.

Glasses: Photographing people wearing eye glasses can pose a challenge when using studio lighting. Often times the resulting image can have an unsightly glare on the lens. There are techniques to reduce (even eliminate) this problem during the shoot or in post production, but both have their difficulties and I can’t guarantee that the glare will not be noticeable. If you’re comfortable being photographed without your glasses, that is definitely the easy button here. If not, I will strive to do my best to reduce the glare during the shoot.

Practice Makes Perfect

Before the shoot look at your face in the mirror and see what side you like better. Everyone has a good side, find yours. Remember though, a mirror will flip your face and the camera won’t so the images might look a little different than you were expecting. 

If you have one eye that is visibly smaller than the other bring the side of your face with the smaller eye towards the camera. It will help reduce the difference between the two.

Try different expressions in the mirror. Do you look better stoic or perky? But don’t don’t fret, I will be sure to get different expressions from you during the shoot.

During the Shoot

Please follow my direction. Even if it sounds a little silly. I know the best posing on headshots and the best way to shape your face. You may feel a little funny posing differently, but trust me, the photos will look great.

Relax a little. Headshot sessions should be fun. Don’t be afraid to let your guard down.

Don’t force your smile. It will look awkward in the images and your cheeks will be sore after the shoot. A good tip is to leave a little space between your teeth when smiling, enough to put the tip of your pinky in between. Your smile will look more genuine.

Squint, Squint, Squint!!! Squinting your eyes just a little will also help the shots look more confident and natural. The deer in headlights look is pretty horrible.

After the Shoot

Not only do photographers have different shooting styles, but editing styles, as well. Let me know how you want the photos to be edited.

Do you want any imperfections Photoshopped out? Some people like everything to be cleaned up in their headshots. (Freckles, moles, scars ect…) While actors and actresses need to be mindful that casting directors want to see any imperfections or distinguishing marks you may have. This shouldn’t be confused with blemishes or acne.

Everyone asks ‘Can you Photoshop this… or this… I have a double chin, can you get rid of that? Can you make my eyes bigger?’ Well, that depends. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t. Every image is different and Photoshop can be a beast when editing. I will try my best to make you look amazing. If you don’t want any alterations done, please let me know beforehand.

If you do want any major editing done, please keep in mind that it may cost extra.

Do keep in mind that editing can be time consuming. Please give me a realistic time frame to deliver your photos. If you want major editing to be done, expect that it may take a little longer for them to be finished.

Hopefully this guide will help you prepare for your big day in front of the camera, and will make your experience a little more stress-free. If you have any questions feel free to email me at

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