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Your Essential Pre-Headshot Session Checklist

Greetings! So, you’ve booked a professional headshot session… Kudos to you! This is an important step, whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to make a strong impression, a professional needing to showcase your business persona, or you simply desire a high-quality, professional photo for your social media profiles.

Regardless of the reason, this blog post will provide an in-depth checklist to make sure you have everything in order before your headshot session.

Understand the Purpose of Your Headshot

Before we delve into the physical preparations, it’s important to identify the purpose of your headshot. This will guide your choices regarding outfit, hairstyle, and overall look. Are you an entrepreneur looking to make an impact in your industry? A business professional wanting to convey trustworthiness and competence? Or maybe you’re looking for a casual, friendly photo for your social media? Keep this purpose in mind throughout your preparation.

Selecting Outfits

Your clothing choice is key in setting the tone of your headshot. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Color: Select colors that complement your skin tone. Usually, solid and neutral colors work best as they don’t distract from your face.
  • Style: The style should match the purpose of your headshot. If it’s a professional headshot, consider business or business casual attire. For actors, your outfit should reflect the kind of roles you want.
  • Multiple Options: Bring 2-3 outfit options with you. This will provide variety and allow for last-minute changes if necessary.

Remember, the focus is on your face, not your clothing. Keep it simple, clean, and comfortable.

Hair and Makeup

On the day of your headshot session, plan to have your hair styled and makeup applied in a way that naturally enhances your features. Here’s what to consider:

  • Hair: Have a simple, neat hairstyle. If you plan on getting a haircut, do it at least a week before to allow it to settle.
  • Makeup: Keep it natural and polished. Avoid glitter or overly bright colors. Some professionals offer makeup services — consider this if you’re uncomfortable doing it yourself.
  • Touch-ups: Bring a small mirror, comb, and makeup for touch-ups during the session.


In the days leading up to your headshot session, take good care of your skin. This includes staying hydrated, moisturizing, and getting plenty of sleep. The better your skin looks, the less editing will be needed, and the more natural your photo will appear.

Rest and Hydration

Ensure that you’re well-rested before your photo session. Tiredness can show in your photos, so get a good night’s sleep before your session. Keep hydrated, too, as this can help keep your skin looking vibrant.

Practice Your Poses and Expressions

It might feel silly, but practice in front of a mirror. Experiment with different facial expressions, angles, and poses. A good headshot is one where you look natural and at ease, so knowing how to hold yourself can be very beneficial.

Pre-Session Communication with the Photographer

Make sure you’ve communicated with the photographer about your goals for the session. Discuss your needs, preferences, and concerns. If you have examples of headshots you like, don’t hesitate to share these.

Check Directions and Time

Ensure you know the location of the studio or shoot location, and double-check the time of your appointment. Plan to arrive early so you have time to relax, prepare, and not feel rushed.

Pack Everything You Need

Finally, make sure to pack everything you’ll need the day before. This includes your outfits, makeup, hair-styling tools, and any props you’ve discussed with your photographer.

Your headshot is often your first impression, so taking the time to prepare can make a significant difference. Remember, the goal is to create a photo that represents you at your best, so follow this checklist to ensure you’re ready for your headshot session.

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