Booking a headshot or personal branding session with a photographer can be an exciting yet scary process. Taking the steps to book in the session can take a lot of courage, but then you have to think about the actual shoot. How do you prepare for such an event?
It’s not uncommon for photography sessions to bring about anxiety and stress, particularly for people who are not comfortable in front of the camera or do not know what to expect.
Don’t worry, it’s not as terrifying as you imagine. In fact, it can be quite enjoyable. To make the process easier and less overwhelming, we’ve put together our top tips to help you prepare for your headshot or personal branding session.
Do Your Research
First and foremost, arm yourself with knowledge by doing your research. The most successful photo shoots are with people who know what style of image they want to achieve, know what the images will be used for specifically and know what message they want to convey through their images.
Taking the time to do this research will help you feel more relaxed and in control on the big day.
Make notes, compile an image board, or collect examples of headshots and personal branding images that you draw inspiration from and would like to emulate. Pinterest is a great tool for this.
Another great exercise is to speak to your friends and family and compile a list of words and phrases that describe you as a person. This can help the photographer get to know you better and work to capture the qualities listed through the lens.
Be Clear with the Photographer
Before your headshot or personal branding shoot, the photographer will sit down with you and talk about the process and what to expect. They will also ask you at this time what you are wanting to get out of your photography session and if there are any particular goals or requirements you wanted to achieve.
It’s important to be open and honest with the photographer and share as much information as possible about what your expectations are, what you want your images to convey, what you will be using the images for, what fears you have and any particular things you are stressing over.
The more open you are with the photographer the better they can serve your needs, put you at ease and deliver final images that are exactly what you were looking for.
If you are particularly anxious about your session, don’t be afraid to let the photographer know that you need help or extra assurance.
Wear Clothes You are Comfortable In
This is very important! Wear clothes to your photo shoot that you look good in but more importantly, you are comfortable in. If you are not comfortable in what you are wearing, then it will show in your images.
Personal branding shots, as well as headshots are all about you… Your features, your personality and your overall look. Your clothes should complement and enhance your features, not be the star attraction in the photo. With this in mind, try to select clothing that fits well and is not overly loud or busy with the print or design.
Also, think about your background or shoot location, particularly for a personal branding session. It would be a good idea to select outfits that work in well with your shoot backdrop and the brand image you want to convey.
For example, wearing a summer dress or tradesmen overalls for a photo shoot within an office setting is going to look a little odd.
It’s also a good idea to bring a change of clothes (or several outfits in the case of personal branding sessions), just in case. A spilt drink or other mishap may throw a spanner in the works and potentially cause delays.
Get Lots of Rest and Water Before the Photo Shoot
In the lead up to your photo shoot, make sure you take good care of yourself. This means lots of rest and plenty of water.
This is an important step as you want to not only look your best but feel good too on the day your photos are taken. Good self-care before your headshot or personal branding session will go a long way to reducing the stress you may have about the shoot, along with helping you look fresh, vibrant and confident in front of the lens.
Remember that the final images are going to be used in various locations and you will be looking at them a lot. You want to remember how good you felt on the day those photos were taken.
Avoid Excessive Hair and Makeup
Sometimes, particularly when people are anxious about getting their photos taken, they go into overdrive and overthink everything… This can lead to excess. Excess makeup, excess hair, excess accessories. This is a recipe for disaster because the final images simply don’t look like you.
The goal of having headshots and personal branding images is to present you at your best… Not you in excess.
As long as you are well-groomed, your daily makeup and regular hairstyle is usually the best way to go for headshots and personal branding shoots. There is no need to overthink it.
If this is an area that gives you anxiety or extra stress, then it might be a wise choice to engage a stylist to help you on the day. Speak to your photographer to see if a stylist is or can be included within your photography package.
It always pays to be prepared. Particularly in situations that make you uncomfortable. So, bring supplies that may help you throughout your photo shoot. This may include your makeup bag, brush, wipes, water and snacks.
Your photographer may also have all these on hand for your use during the session, but it won’t hurt to bring along your own supplies as well.
While not as important for a headshot session which you may find over in a flash, extra supplies may help immensely when undertaking a longer personal branding session.
Give Yourself Time
Another great tip that we always recommend to our clients is to give yourself time. Even if you have only booked in for a short headshot session, allow for extra time to get to the studio and relax before your session.
Running late or rushing is only going to increase your anxiety and stress, and this could potentially show in your images. You are going to have a far more enjoyable experience if you have allowed yourself plenty of time to prepare and arrive at your shoot.
These are our top tips to help you not only prepare for your headshot and personal branding session, but to ensure you get the most out of your shoot and you enjoy yourself in the process.
If you are particularly anxious, speak to us today and we can walk you through the process and help alleviate any fears you have.
Get in touch today and let’s talk.