10 Tips to Prepare for your Professional Headshot or Family Portrait

Karen Vaisman Photography


  1. Make Sure Clothing Fits Properly - Try on clothing before you come to your photo session.
    One of the biggest issues I’ve encountered is that clothing doesn’t fit (too big or too tight) and needs to be clamped to avoid creases. Popping buttons are not flattering! Men please make sure you know how to tie your tie in a nice triangular shape prior to arrival.

  2. Press your Clothing - Take your wardrobe to the dry cleaners. Professional digital cameras pick up EVERYTHING – pro lenses are razor sharp and a very non-professional look for you is wrinkled attire. Men – particularly note your collars are pressed and the neck button closes.

  3. Bring your Clothing on Hangers - Yes, I have had clients show me their wardrobe for the shoot by removing it from their handbag, rolled in a ball.

  4. Remove Lint – Please note removing lint prior to your session is key. Especially dark clothing – lint will show! Please be very detail oriented about removing lint, and then cover your clothing with a garment bag before arrival.

  5. Dark Clothing is Slenderizing - Women usually look better with arms covered. “V” necks for women are slenderizing for round faces.

  6. Constructed Shoulders – A crisp corporate look always looks more professional in a business headshot (business suit).

  7. White Wins – Corporate attire - a white shirt or white shell for women always brings out your smile and the whites of your eyes.  Bright colors look good too against a dark suit, red is always a good choice (shell for women, tie for men)

  8. Solid Colors Rule - Patterns detract from the face. In a small headshot the focus should be on your eyes – so keep it simple with solid colors. (Avoid knits, plaids, stripes too close together – they tend to cause a weird effect in digital cameras – a moiré pattern which can’t be removed). Be sure to check our website for variety of background color choices and advise us in advance of your selection. Choose your clothing colors to coordinate.

  9. Hair – Please bring a comb or brush – or better yet see your hair stylist prior to your shoot. We offer recommendations for makeup and hair stylists. Men – if your shoot is late in the day beware of 5 o’clock shadow. Please take care while shaving to avoid cuts or missing areas – hard to correct in post-production so we appreciate careful shaving.

  10. Makeup – A professional makeup artist for women always improve the look of a shoot, with clean looking skin and great eyes. False eyelashes always enhance the look. We recommend applying makeup darker than normal as the lights tend to wash a person out. Please apply powder for shiny skin. Lipstick darker than you skin tone with a crisp lip line really enhances your smile. Clear lip gloss reflects well under the lights and is recommended. Emphasize your eyes; with eyeliner heavier on the outer “V” of the eyes (fully enclosing the eye in eyeliner tends to make eyes look smaller). Ask us for professional makeup artist recommendations if you would like one. Please bring extra makeup with you for touch ups, particularly eyeliner lipstick, and lip gloss and makeup base to cover blemishes.

What to Bring to Your Portrait Session


1. Hair Brush(hair clips, hair spray if you use it.)

2. Extra Makeup (lipstick, lip gloss, eyeliner, makeup base, powder)

3. Lint Brush

4. Extra change of clothing (On hangers, pressed, lint free in a variety of solid colors - avoid knits. Select color to coordinate with background color)

5. Extra Ties / shirts (avoid busy patterns, solid colors are best).

6. Jewelry - bring extra for choices, Small and simple usually best.  Be sure length of necklace does not interfere with neckline of clothing.