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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Iron you clothes. Little details like a crease in your shirt may not be noticeable in 'real-life', but become noticeable in a photograph.
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 O, or Julz from Made You Blush, but you may already know a hair and makeup artist, or you could ask friends for recommendations.
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.
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). If we are shooting in your home, workspace, or studio, make sure it's looking 'well-groomed' too!
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.
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 (website? 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). See below for some more detailed information on what to wear.
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.
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.
What to wear
Figuring out what to wear to a session is often the thing that causes the most angst among my clients, but it's easy to get it right. To help you along, I've listed my top dos and don'ts.
Don't wear clothes with brand names, logos, wording, pictures, cartoons or graphics (excepting, of course, businesses that have a uniform and/or clothing with your businesses branding) . When we see writing or graphics in an image, our eye goes start to that. Not only will these kinds of things date your images really fast, they are really distracting, taking attention away from the most important thing in the image (you!)
Do wear simple, timeless, mid-toned clothes. Clean and simple should be your watch words.
Do wear simple patterns (if wearing patterns). Simple patterns like thin stripes, small polka dots, and delicate floral patterns can look great if they fit in with the colour scheme of your brand.
Do wear clothes that make you feel good about your body. Use clothing to accentuate your favourite features and 'hide' the parts of your body you dislike. For example, wear sleeves if you don't like your arms.
Do try out your outfit before the shoot, particularly if it's a new outfit. You don't want to get to the shoot and realise that your new top is itchy, or your new pants don't fit right and you have to keep tugging at them. It's really important to feel comfortable in what you're wearing, or your discomfort will show through in the photographs.
Don't wear clothing that is too baggy or ill-fitting. Clothing that is obviously baggy will generally make people look much larger than they are.
Do check your outfit in the mirror head to toe before you leave, or have your partner/a friend do this for you. Things to think about: Does this need an iron? Are there any distracting stains? Can I see my underwear through my top? This is important! I can't tell you how many times people have turned up wearing a top that is slightly see-through and shows underwear, or shows up sweat stains obviously, and they are always disappointed that they didn't check this when they get their images back.
Don't stress too much about what to wear! It's a good idea to plan out what you are going to wear, but please don't stress about it, or go out and spend a lot of money on new clothes (unless you want to of course). Remember that the best thing you can wear is a smile, and that these tips are just suggestions, not unbreakable rules.