This section is mostly geared towards headshot sessions, but some of the general points certainly apply to portrait, event, and wedding photography sessions.
In preparing for new headshots, it is important to think about your intentions for the photos and the image you wish to present. Do you need headshots for a specific audition or are you just looking to update your portfolio? Are you looking for serious shots, or something more commercial? Do you need a close shot, 3/4, or full length? If you're planning a series of auditions, what kind of versatility do you need to show? If you're not sure, we can definitely figure it out.
Whether you love to be in front of the camera or dread it, my goal is to make sure your shoot is an enjoyable experience. If you have a tendency to get nervous, plan things out in advance - try out different hair styles and makeup, organize what you plan to bring, etc. Also, think about things that help you relax. If music helps put you in a positive mood, bring some of your favorite tunes.
It may sound silly, but practice in front of a mirror. Pay attention to how even the slightest changes can make a big difference. I like to go through a series of emotions, trying to portray each; then, I think about channeling that emotion during a shoot. By really feeling something - through the eyes and right down to the tips of your toes - it adds energy to the shot. While you're making all those faces at yourself, think about what angles look best for you and how to show off your best features.
As far as I'm concerned, the more clothing options you have to choose from during your shoot, the better. Bring a large variety of tops - different types of necklines are good - and a few bottom pieces to match. I would suggest a mix of casual and dressy items, too, but it all depends on the look you're going for.
- Clothes should be comfortable, flattering, and well fitting.
- Textures like denim, corduroy, and knit fabrics are great.
- Layering can create an interesting look.
- For color shots, choose colored tops that compliment your skin, hair and eyes.
- For black and white shots, choose light tones for a bright and clean look; choose dark tones for a more dramatic look.
- Busy patterns and clothing with logos should be avoided.
- It's good to have a few 3/4 length or long sleeve shirts as options, but don't hesitate to bring a halter or asymmetrical shirt if you really love it.
- Remember to bring different belts or undergarments, if needed.
- In general, no jewelry. A simple pair of earrings can be a nice touch, though.
If you are planning for color headshots, well applied makeup is important since skin imperfections tend to show more in color photos than in black and white. If you plan to have both color and black and white shots, come prepared with light makeup for color shots. For black and white shots, makeup can be added for a more dramatic look. If you are not comfortable doing your own, a good makeup artist can make a world of difference - just make sure to find one who is willing to teach you how to recreate the look. You'll need to be able to present yourself at auditions as you appear in your headshots.
Take a hint from the sleeping beauty pictured to your left - make sure to get enough sleep starting a few days before your shoot. Also, drink plenty of water and keep your skin moisturized. Trim and file your nails in case they are visible in any shots; nail polish should be avoided, except for maybe a clear coat.
A few days before your shoot, take care of any extra grooming - eyebrows, sideburns, etc. Also, be sure to avoid foods that might stain your teeth or have a negative effect on your skin. If you're planning a trim, make sure you schedule it at least a week before your shoot so it has time to settle.
Make sure clothes are clean, well pressed, and organized the night before. Know the location of the shoot and have reliable directions. If you have hired a makeup artist, be sure to communicate with them about location and time.
On the day of, eat something light before your session, and pack a snack in case you need it. Leave yourself plenty of time to prep your hair and makeup and to get to the studio or other predetermined location. If you aren't rushed or flustered, you'll have more time to enjoy the experience!