Professional Headshots Do’s and Don’ts

Watch This Episode of MwahTV About professional headshots do's and don'ts

It’s hard to know what the right things are and the wrong things are when it comes to headshots.  I’ve compiled a quickfire list of 10 Professional Headshots Do’s and Don’ts to set you straight on a path towards headshots success.

1. Lighting Professional Headshots Do's and Don'ts


Make sure you have at least a couple of shots with a clear view of your face without shadows. We need to see your full face in your profile-sized shots.


Don’t get addicted to retouching. Especially with lighting.

2. Makeup & Skin Prep Headshots Do's and Don'ts


Wear the same amount of makeup as you do on a daily basis at the beginning of the shoot. Then have a more polished version of yourself in the mix later on in the shoot.


Plan on wearing no makeup.  Your skin tone, your pores, and every little flaw are highlighted under professional lighting or harsh sunlight. 

Even if you’re a macho dude throw a little pore minimiser on. 

I promise you that you will thank me for it later.

3. Clothing & Colours Headshots Do's and Don'ts


Wear a layered look. It’s always a good idea.  This means with clothes, as well as with the depth of field like in your hair and pose.


Stick to blanket colour washing because it’s the colour in your logo. 

This can come out really flat and "blah" in the final options. 

You can look up the principles of a Triadic or Analogous palette to find the right colours that will enhance your main brand colour.

Darker colours usually look good in your clothing on a headshot or Brand Photo session.  This is where knowing your skin tone is key.  You can hire a stylist to help you figure this all out.  This is sometimes called “getting your colours done”.

4. Fabric Know-How Headshots Do's and Don'ts


Wear 100% natural fibres in your clothes as much as possible.  You need to be aware of graininess with the texture of fabric patterns and prints.


Wear all man-made fibres and expect the colours to be a perfect match later on in post-production. 

They probably won’t look the same because of the way they are made and refract light.

More (Photography-Based) Guidance on What To Wear

If you can't swing working with a stylist to help you shop for or, shop and then dress you on your shoot, it is possible to take a DIY approach.

Here are my main tips and pointers on what to think about from a photography perspective.

5. Preparation Headshots Do's and Don'ts


Research what you like and what you don’t like when it comes to headshots. Pinterest is a great place to start.

I have LOTS of boards here to take inspiration from, so please go ahead and help yourself.


Go into a shoot without any real solid idea of what you’re looking for. 

Your photographer is not a mind reader.  So if you fail to plan go ahead and plan to fail.

6. Research Your Photographer Headshots Do's and Don'ts


Interview your photographer and explore their portfolio.  See if they are familiar with your industry or not. 

Try to meet with 3 different headshots photographers before you commit to buying.  Go with your gut instinct on who you feel really gets you.


Just rely on recommendations.  They’re important sure, but one person's dream photographer can be another person's nightmare.

7. Variety is key in Photographer Headshots Do's and Don'ts


Ask for a selection of sizes in your finishing service, don’t just take a set of lower-priced web res images. 

It will bite you in the ass later on.  Web res image sizes are limited so where possible ask for (and upgrade to) print-resolution images.


Stick to a single-crop set-up. 

By having multiple crops of yourself such as:

  • Beauty crop,
  • Head and Shoulders crop,
  • 3-quarter crop,
  • Full Length,
  • Panoramic,
  • Landscapes and portraits

you are going to be able to use your images in so many more ways.

A Beauty Crop Looks Like This


A Head & Shoulders Crop Looks Like This


A 3-Quarter Crop Looks Like This

Laura Pearman Headshot Portrait - WEB

A Full-Length Crop Looks Like This

Laura Pearman

Download a copy of my latest brochure here

If you're interested in finding out more about my approach to Brand Photography and Branding Strategy, a great way to do this is to download the latest copy of my services.

This way you will have everything to refer back to in one place.

To get this download, just pop your details in here and I will email you a copy straight away

8. Branded Posing Photographer Headshots Do's and Don'ts


Show your brand. 

In acting “theatrical style” is serious. “Commercial style” is smiling. 

But in a personal branded business you still need a bunch of emotions too, when you’re trading on your personality having just images of your smiling your head off, you run the risk of coming off as one-dimensional. If you have them, give your brand guidelines to your photographer in preparation.


Expect to feel entirely natural and at ease, in all of the poses your photographer asks of you. 

The goal on shoot day is to get as much variety as possible so that you have options later.  I still want you to speak up like what we covered in this episode. 

Feeling full-on cringes is when you tell the photographer you don’t want to do that.  But it’s totally normal to feel a bit awkward when you are not used to being photographed. Try to push yourself to the very edges of your comfort zone with the knowledge that more variety on shoot day leaves you with a lot more options when it comes to picking the final images.

9. Preview & Selection Photographer Headshots Do's and Don'ts


Try and get a preview of a selection of the work in your service.  This way you can pick out a good mix to ensure you can put the right shot in as many places as possible.


Let your family or frenemies destroy your selection process. 

Take input from the people closest to you with a pinch of salt.  I’ve seen this destroy client confidence in the past.  You want to try and get more professional input on your selections. 

Business colleagues, a mentor or a coach are going to know what you’re trying to achieve.

10. Effects & Finishes Photographer Headshots Do's and Don'ts


Tell the photographer if you are planning on using your final images as a cut-out .png.  That means with a transparent back to it. 

This can be lit appropriately in-camera on shoot day to make sure that the final result doesn’t look like pants. 

Plus your photographer and their retouching team will be able to cut an image out way better than you can. 

So just ask them, and they won’t take offence.


Be surprised if all your final photography doesn’t convert into .png files using an editing app or free online service. 

Not all photographs can be converted because of how they’ve been shot.

Timestamps for this Episode of #MwahTV

00:00 Episode Begins

01:55 Professional Headshots Do's and Don'ts TIP1

02:41 Professional Headshots Do's and Don'ts TIP2

03:27 Professional Headshots Do's and Don'ts TIP3

04:46 Professional Headshots Do's and Don'ts TIP4

06:30 Professional Headshots Do's and Don'ts TIP5

07:42 Professional Headshots Do's and Don'ts TIP6

09:14 Professional Headshots Do's and Don'ts TIP7

11:32 Professional Headshots Do's and Don'ts TIP8

12:22 Professional Headshots Do's and Don'ts TIP9

13:56 Professional Headshots Do's and Don'ts TIP10

Shall We Seal this With A Kiss? 💋

When you sign up to receive my Sealed With A Branded Kiss emails you can expect to get to know me a lot better, to be on the list for my exclusive offers and bonuses AND you'll never miss another episode either.

Scroll to Top