Professional Headshot Tips


Congratulations on scheduling your headshot appointment. This guide covers a few tips for your upcoming headshot appointment. There is additional information about your appointment experience here under Frequently Asked Questions about Headshot Appointments.

Before the Appointment

DRINK WATER – You should be drinking 64 ounces or more a day. Make sure you are getting your proper amount at least 1 week prior to your appointment. Hydration affects your complexion, wrinkles, dark circles under the eyes, and general well being.

SLEEP – Get plenty of sleep at least 1 week prior to your appointment. Similar to water, sleep can affect your skin as well.

HAIRCUTS – If you need a haircut before your appointment, do it 1-2 weeks before your appointment to let your hair settle down first.

TEETH – If your teeth are yellow, consider getting them whitened prior to your appointment. While I can do some whitening in retouching, whiter teeth will help your confidence during the shoot.

SUN – Avoid too much sun in the days leading up to your appointment. Too much sun can cause dry and irritated skin.

BLEMISHES – If you have a blemish, do not worry. These can be handled in retouching, so no need to reschedule or use excessive amounts of makeup to cover it up. In fact, a lot of makeup can actually be more difficult to retouch.

For the Appointment

If you feel like you might be getting sick, or if you have even just a little cold, please call to reschedule.  If you don’t feel your best, you won’t look your best.

Clothing is very important to the overall look of your photos. Your clothing should fit well, not baggy or too tight. Bring plenty of options and clothing changes for your appointment. Think about how many different headshots looks you need for your work website, LinkedIn, social media, or publicity.

Wrinkled clothing looks unprofessional. Make sure your clothes are ironed and wrinkle free when you bring them to your appointment. You can bring them on hangers as I have a clothes rack for you to hang them on.

Simple is better. Fluffy sleeves, bold patterns, large jewelry, or busy stripes can distract from your face, which is the main subject for your headshot.

Avoid shirts or jackets with busy patterns such as herringbone or checks as they create strange color effect called moiré. Large stripes are also not recommended, but small stripes are OK.

Avoid plain white unless layered under a darker jacket, as the eye is drawn to the lightest thing in the photos.

Textures add dimension without creating distraction.

Avoid shiny materials as well. Shiny materials can cause distracting bright spots.

Ties should be tight and properly tied. Windsor knots photograph well.


Bare arms in a headshot pull attention away from your face. Avoid sleeveless or short sleeves.

No jewelry or simple jewelry is best. Other accessories such as scarves, hats, or pins will draw attention away, so leave them at home.

Keep your makeup light and natural. Headshots see great detail, and a think layer of makeup looks overdone. Simple is better. The more natural the better, and the closest match to your skin color. Bold eyeliner, lash extensions, heavy mascara, cat-eyes, heavy contouring, or runway/glam makeup is not recommended for professional headshots. 


Make sure your shirt and jacket fit properly without gaps around the collar.

Blue, grey, pale colored shirts or subtle striped shirts are great. White shirts are the last option, as the white takes away from your face.

Contact Dee Zunker for Licensing.