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How to Prepare For a Headshot Session

How to Prepare For a Headshot Session


Here are a few tips on how to prepare for your upcoming headshot session with Armato Photography.

If getting in front of a camera makes you anxious, or more like you want to catch the next flight to the arctic, there are a few things you can do make your session smoother. I’ll outline a few tips that will help you be relaxed and ready for a rocking headshot session.


If you have multiple outfits that you’d like to shoot, have them dry cleaned, ironed, pressed and ready on a hanger by at least the day before. The last thing you want to do is scramble all over the house looking for your favorite shoes or  tie.  Have all your makeup in your bag ready to go, or better yet, schedule to have our stylist at your session, then you don’t have to worry about it at all. Just come in and be taken care of.

Men, PLEASE do not shove your clothes in a backpack. Yes, even if it’s just a T-shirt. Make sure  your suit is cleaned and pressed and in a suit bag for protection.

For clothing selection, if you’re not sure if you want to bring something, bring it. Better to have it and not need it. Keep clothes simple and classic. Stay away from busy patters and colors that are close to your skin tone. Since the classic headshot is generally from the mid-chest up, you can often get away with just wearing a formal top and comfy pants or shorts. I will say that there can be a difference in the way you feel when you’re in a complete suit and not just the top half so I suggest coming in with the complete suit.

Facial Hair

Men, make sure that beards are trimmed the way you like before you come. If you prefer to be clean shaven, do it in the morning before your session.  We can take out little missed beard hairs but we can not “give you a digital shave”.  Ladies, if you plan to have eyebrows plucked, remember that plucking can leave red marks behind and that can add to the post production timeline.  If you’re planning on a haircut before your session, plan it for 1-2 weekd prior to the session. That way your hair has a chance to settle in and look natural.


Drink plenty of water during the week before your session. This will help keep your skin healthy and clear. Stay away from fried or super salty foods as this can lead to bloating and water retention. Hit up Chik-Fil-A on the way home! Be careful in the sun. Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause redness, sun-burn and other irritations. Lastly, get plenty of sleep! You want to avoid circles under the eyes and you want to be fresh and rested for your session.


Avoid drinking anything that may stain your teeth. I know, I know, what!? No coffee! Just for the morning of your session. If you have time and your teeth already slightly yellow or have some discolor, consider having them professionally whitened. No time? Don’t sweat it, we can deal with that with a tiny bit of editing magic.

Know what you want to get from your headshots. Are these for your LinkdIn, your website, are they acting headshots or modeling headshots. We can approach all of these slightly different so it’s helpful if you know going in exactly what you need your headshot for. For actors, I like to have brief conversation about what kind of roles you are reading for and getting called for now versus the kinds of roles you’d like to be getting called for. This will greatly influence how we shoot and what outfits we choose. With actors I like to run a wide variety of looks and expressions anyway

Okay, here are a few guidelines on what not to do.

Stress out

I know that getting in front of the camera can be a stressful experience for a lot of people.  As a musician I understand this kind of stress and take great pride in being able to help clients relax and be themselves in front of the camera.  We take our time and interact, get to know each other and have a good time. This is not the JCPenny stuffy uptight portrait posing center.


Practice makes perfect right. Not always. Practice makes permanent. There is quite a lot of literature on the web saying that you should spend a day practicing your smiles and expressions in the mirror. I don’t like memorized, practiced expressions because they are never natural. NEVER! we’ll  interact and extract real, honest expressions from clients. I will never say “okay smile” to get you to smile. You might however hear me say something like “okay, thats gorgeous, now just a little less Manson like and we’re in business”. Big natural smiles that come from laughter are my favorite. I work hard to make sure our smiles are genuine and really show off what kind of personality you have. You can relax knowing that you don’t have to get it right, I do, and I have to capture it. It’s not up to you to bring in expressions and be able to throw them out when I ask. It’s my job to elicit them and capture them.

One more thing to consider when booking a session.

Our portfolio has both studio styled and outdoor environmental headshots. Take some time and consider which of these best sells you and your brand. What matches your personality better.

Here are some recent outdoor sessions.

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John and Elizabeth Armato are Maryland Family photographers, based in Clarksburg, MD and service the Baltimore / Washington D.C area. We specialize in studio or on location family, newborn and headshot photography.


(410) 746-9446

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