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The Week Before:

Plan Your Day: Trying to plan your day a week ahead of time can be difficult, so try to make sure that you don’t have any appointments or any other scheduling conflicts in the minutes leading up to your session. You want, and need, to be focused during your shoot.

The Day Before:

Get 7-8 Hours of Sleep: As much as possible, try to get some rest in the days leading up to your shoot. While our editing process will help with dark circles under the eyes, prioritizing sleep the night before your shoot is the best and most effective way to look rested.
Looking back at past photos of yourself that you’ve liked is also a big help. Were you wearing a specific colour? Did you have a particular hairstyle? Was the image taken from a specific angle? Do you have a favourite side? Make sure to plan appropriately and communicate all your preferences to your photographer.

The Morning of the Shoot:

Dress For the Job You Want, not the one you have.
Stick with solid coloured tops. They’re more flattering and less distracting than stripes and patterns.
Jackets and collared shirts are highly recommended. Depending on the target industry, you may be tempted to wear casual attire. But, based on our experience, we always recommend you dress up for your professional photos, or at least include an option within your wardrobe choices for the session.
Try to avoid any large pieces of jewellery or excessive makeup.
Avoid logos or badges on either your shirt and your jacket – or you risk looking like an advertisement for the brands and not yourself.
Unless you have a strong preference for our male clients, try not to wear an undershirt with your dress shirt. If you do, wear a white undershirt – not a black or grey undershirt. In our experience, it looks better on the final images.
You generally want solid-colour and high-contrast outfits such as a white shirt and dark blue blazer, white shirt and black blazer, light blue shirt and black blazer etc.
Please make sure your clothes are ironed and without wrinkles. If you have a lint roller, use it the night before.
Shave: If you have facial hair, either cleanly shave or maintain a trimmed beard. Anything in the middle looks less managed and presentable. When in doubt, shave. We also suggest that you do not shave immediately before your shoot – shaving rash, bumps and marks will become more apparent.

5 Minutes Before Your Shoot

Check Your Hair: A little water goes a long way. First, make sure you don’t have hair sprouting in all directions. We can edit and easily remove single strands of hair, but large clumps of hair are much more difficult.

Check For Reflective Shine: In your photoshoot, the flash from the studio lighting reflects off any sweaty or dry spots, making portions of your face look shiny.

If you have a dry face, do NOT apply creams or lotions to your face within 4-5 hours before your shoot…If you need to, do this the week before your shoot.

If you’re not wearing makeup, splash some cold water on your face and pat dry with a paper towel. If you’re wearing makeup, go with some simple powders. We also suggest avoiding shiny makeup – which is reflective when combined with studio flash.

Check Your Glasses: Dirty or smudged glasses stick out like a sore thumb and are made more evident with studio photography. Please try not to wear glasses with “transition lenses”, as they will look like sunglasses in your photo. If you can, make sure your glasses are glare resistant, or lighting will interfere with the quality of your portrait. If you have any questions concerning this, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Relax: You are going to look great! Stress and anxiety will show up in photos, so get yourself in a good mood. Listen to your favourite song and do a little dance at your desk before your session. In our experience, almost 80% of the people who come to us for images have not had their photo taken professionally previously - so we are well versed in helping people relax and pose for their photographs.

"The Clothes Maketh the Individual"

There’s truth to the adage “clothes make the man.” According to researchers, the way we dress conveys information about our identity both in and outside of the workplace and significantly impacts what others believe about us. That includes beliefs about how much influence and power we have, how smart we are, and even how much money we make – all of which impact whether hiring managers, co-workers and clients consider us trustworthy and reliable.
Beyond having the right professional pose and portrait style, what you choose to wear in your headshots will help establish your professional identity within your network. In addition, since most people will see your professional headshot before meeting you face-to-face, your wardrobe in professional headshots is also an essential part of making a great first impression.
As you prepare for your headshot session, consider these wardrobe tips and tricks for great professional portraits!

Dress Like Your Boss

What’s considered appropriate dress in the workplace varies widely by industry. Lawyers and doctors, for instance, are generally expected to dress more formally and conservatively. In contrast, those working in technical or creative roles may look out of place if they come to work in a suit and tie.
When in doubt, look to your boss or another industry leader you respect. The way your superiors dress is usually a good indicator of what’s appropriate for your industry and will help you convey confidence without appearing as if you’re trying too hard.

Avoide Overly-Casual Clothing Choices

Even if you work in an industry where an informal dress code is a norm, consider donning more formal threads for your headshots if you want to appear more confident and authoritative. Research suggests that simply wearing more formal clothing can contribute to a feeling of power and control, which can impact your posture and presence in photos.
The way you feel behind the camera will impact how you appear in your photos, so consider formal clothing options that make you feel good about yourself. If you need an extra boost of confidence, stick with traditional options like suits, ties and formal blouses.

Feature Multiple Outfits

Consider the different people you interact with during the working day and what clothing is most appropriate in each of those settings. Do you tend to wear the same types of outfits regardless of who you’re interacting with, or do you tailor your clothing choices to your audience?
If you regularly interact with different types of people throughout your day — which is often the case for entrepreneurs, consultants and salespeople — make sure you have a headshot that fits each of your audiences. Instead of trying to split the difference with an outfit that doesn’t fit any scenario well, book a headshot photo session that allows for multiple outfits and backdrops.

Consider Suit Options

For better or worse, clothing traditionally perceived as more masculine — including trousers, blazers and suit jackets in darker hues — can significantly impact perceptions of intelligence and ability, especially when it comes to people in management and leadership positions.
According to a study that examined the connection between clothing style and hiring recommendations, blazers and trousers contributed to applicants being perceived as more forceful and influential than those wearing other types of clothing. Suits and trousers in darker colours also contributed to more favourite hiring recommendations for leadership and management positions.

Avoid Older Worn Out Clothing

Everyone has one favourite piece of clothing that they’ll wear again and again — but over time, even the nicest blouses and shirts will begin to show signs of wear. This is especially true of brightly-coloured clothing or knitted fabrics, which could fade or show signs of pulling each time it’s washed. So to ensure your clothes make you look tailored and put together, opt for newer clothing or “dry clean only” items that won’t show these tell-tale signs of wear.

Stick with Simple Jewellery

The best professional headshots enhance your natural features without distracting them. For this reason, simple jewellery is a better choice for professional headshots – significantly if your headshot will be cropped close to your face (as most are).
So long as you have the right hair and makeup for your headshot session, the jewellery should be a “finishing touch.” For necklaces, make sure the pendant is visible above the crop of the photo. For earrings, stick with simple metallic or gemstone studs, and wear dangling earrings with caution. Hoop earrings and anything that dangles tends to be caught in hair and gets lost in the photo.

Consider Colour Theory

Colour theory refers to the science of how specific colours influence our moods, thoughts and behaviours – and how certain wardrobe hues can control what others believe about us.

For instance, red conveys confidence and energy, whereas navy blue and black elicit a sense of dominance and authority. Think about what message you want to say in your professional headshots and select colours accordingly.

 

Dark colours are perceived as more formal, dominant and authoritative

Light colours make the wearer appear more friendly and approachable

Some bright colours convey confidence and energy

Muted colours are conservative and less threatening

 

High-contrast pairings like a dark jacket and light shirt can create a powerful image that conveys influence and authority

 

Stick with Solid Colours

 

Regardless of your portrait style and setting, simple colours and subtle patterns usually look best on everyone. Bold or busy patterns tend to distract from your face and lead to moiré, an unpleasant visual side effect of repeating patterns.

 

Contrast with Your Backdrop: When choosing colours for your professional headshots, consider your portrait backdrop. Unless you’re getting a company-branded headshot, choose wardrobe colours that contrast with your background, so you stand out. This is especially true if you plan to have black and white headshots – a dark top against a dark background could make you look like a floating head!

 

Contrast with Your Skin Tone: As a general rule, professional portraits look best when your skin tone, clothing, and backdrop all contrast. When choosing what colours to wear, make sure the colour is significantly darker or lighter than your skin tone, so you don’t look nude from afar.

Wear a Higher Neckline

Keep in mind that headshots are typically cropped closely around your head and face. Therefore, even work-appropriate tops with lower necklines could end up looking more provocative than intended in professional headshots that are cropped closely.
For men who plan to wear a button-up shirt, make sure the buttons won’t connect below the crop of the photo. Women, in particular, are perceived to be less competent if their clothing is considered provocative or revealing, so blouses and tops with higher necklines are best.

Fitted Clothing Works Best

More closely-fitted clothing looks cleaner and less distracting than loose or baggy clothing, especially for formal or business-casual photos.
If you plan to wear a blazer or suit jacket, make sure it fits closely around the shoulders and arms – even if that means it’s slightly too tight. If you’re concerned about your waistline, don’t worry – most headshots are taken with jackets and blazers unbuttoned, as the creases along your ribs tend to show at the bottom border of the photo.
The same goes for collared shirts and blouses. If you plan to wear a collared shirt buttoned to the top, make sure it fits snugly around your neck. Loosely-fitted collars leave distracting gaps that draw attention away from your features.

Right Wardrobe - Right Photographer

What you wear for your professional headshot session has a significant influence on what those photos will say about you – but nothing matters as much as the quality of your photographer. So if you’re a Merseyside or North-West professional and want to book a headshot session, check out the rest of this page for more information and get in touch.

We frequently work on location across the northwest, often travelling between Liverpool, Manchester, Warrington and Cheshire. Visits to our studio at The Secret Warehouse are therefore strictly by appointment only.

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