how to pepare for your portrait

With the ever-increasing use of social media within business, having a great-looking profile shot has become essential. Which is good news for me. And good news for you! You get to use your good-looks to impress potential employers, clients, and friends. 

I'm sure that having your photograph taken is not among your favourite things to do, but I am pretty easy to work with and aim to make the process as painless as possible.

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I must apologise if some of these tips sound pedantic, obvious, or are not applicable to you. I have learnt, though, that it is always better to give every client these tips rather than risk having a client turn up to a session unprepared.

  1. Try to have a good night's sleep and not drink the night before.
  2. If we are taking photos in your home or workplace, please ensure that things are looking neat, tidy, and clutter-free.
  3. Iron you clothes. Little details like a cease in your shirt may not be noticeable in 'real-life', but become noticeable in a photograph.
  4. Wear some makeup to bring out your features, the camera tends to wash people out slightly. If you plan to use the images professionally (on your website for example), you could even have your hair and makeup professionally done before your session. I can personally recommend Justine from Justine O, and Julz from Made You Blush but you may already know a hair and makeup artist, or you could ask friends for recommendations.
  5. Bring a hairbrush. I generally advise women to wear their hair down or partly down. If you wear it in a ponytail it can look like you have no hair from some angles. Also, I generally advise not to try out a completely new hairstyle before your shoot.
  6. Make sure you are looking generally 'well-groomed'. For example, ladies; pluck your eyebrows and have your roots done, gents; make sure you are freshly shaven (unless you're going for the beardy look). 
  7. If you commonly wear both contacts and glasses, consider wearing contacts. This will mean that we don't have to deal with glare on your glasses. If you prefer to wear glasses, we will of course work around this. If you typically wear transition lenses, you will need to wear a different pair of glasses for the shoot.
  8. When choosing your outfit, have a think about the image you are wanting to portray (professional? creative? casual?) and where the portrait will be used (job application? Linkedin? Facebook?) It can be a good idea to bring a few different tops so we have a choice. Simple clothes tend to look more timeless. Fitted clothing tends to look better as baggy or flowing clothing can make you look bigger than you are. Mid-tones tend to photograph better, and it's best to avoid all black or all white (black and white together or with other colours is generally fine though). Please don't wear tops with brand names, logos, writing or graphics on them. Simple patterns like thin strips, small polka dots, and delicate florals can look great. Anything more than that can be distracting. If you would like some more detailed information on what to wear, along with some examples, click here.
  9. I specialise in environmental portraiture (portraits that tell a story about the subject), so have a think about whether you want to bring along some personal objects to be photographed with. For example, a favourite coffee cup, a musical instrument, a special piece of clothing and so on. 
  10. Have a think about whether you have a side that you prefer to be photographed. If you're unsure, research has shown the left side of the face is generally perceived to be more attractive than the right side. People actually research this kind of thing, check it out here
  11. Have a think about whether there a part of your face or body that you generally dislike in photographs, and I will do my best to minimise this. Please don't be embarrassed to tell me, we all have these insecurities! For me it's my double chin and teeth that are too big for my face. If you're interested in learning how to minimise a double chin in photographs, have a look at this video by renowned headshot photographer Peter Hurley. It changed my life.