As an entrepreneur, I am fortunate enough to be asked to provide comment and be part of news stories on a regular basis. As part of the story, the journalist or media outlet will more than likely want to include a photo of me. When I first started getting PR if a journalist would want a photo of me I would drop everything to accommodate their request. More often than not these requests would be very last minute and mess up whatever plans I had for that day. Plus it would always be a day where I felt I wasn’t looking my best and so I would not feel confident having my photo taken. A few years ago I decided to flip this method around and have my own photos taken once a year and then have them ready to provide to journalists whenever required. This year I decided to vlog the experience so you could see some of the behind the scenes.
As you can see from the video it is not an experience I love but the alternative of having my photo taken unexpectedly is much worse and so I prefer to do them once a year and be in control of the location, photographer, outfits etc. If you are wanting to get your own headshots taken here are some tips to make the most out of your photoshoot:
Get your hair and makeup professionally done
There is nothing worse than having thousands and thousands of people see your photo and you not liking the way your hair and makeup looks. I always get my hair and makeup professionally done on the day of my shoot. If your budget is tight you can schedule your photo shoot for the afternoon on the day you would normally get your hair cut and coloured as that often includes a blow-dry or you could use a service like Glamazon which has some very cost effective hairdressers that can come to you for a blow dry.
With my makeup, I like to go to somewhere like Napolean Perdis or Sephora because you can redeem the cost of your make-up for products. Most women will need new makeup at least once a year so that could be a good time to stock up on your products.
In terms of the look I go for, you may have felt that the make-up looked quite heavy in the video but in real life, it actually comes out quite natural. So you actually have to go a bit more intense with your look than you may normally. You don’t want it to look like you are going out to a club but you do want to look like your best self.
And a pro-tip for you which one of my model friends taught me is to carry Mac Blot Powder with you to get rid of shininess. It’s the product that most make-up artists use for anyone going on camera. Also, don’t forget to bring extra lipstick so that you can reapply throughout the shoot.
Bring lots of outfit options and lots of Spanx!
Because these photos need to last you a year you want to make sure you have lots of options. Plus a journalist may say that they have a particular colour theme, aesthetic or shape they need the photo in so make sure you cover all of your bases. I like to bring outfits in neutral tones with not a lot of pattern. I want some corporate outfits but then more casual or fashion-forward outfits that may be more suited to certain styles of publications. I bring black and nude shoes so I can change them up based on my outfit.
One thing I never forget to pack is lots of Spanx. I am no model so I want everything to be nicely sucked in and smoothed out which Spanx can help with. I always pack a strapless bra because it doesn’t look great having your bra sticking out in photos. If your wardrobe is looking a little bare than do what I do and rent some outfits to fill out your own clothing options. I love to rent from Glamcorner.
Rent a studio
If your office is completely drab looking (like mine!) it might be easier to hire a studio instead. This can be quite costly so you can always get creative and find a nice Air Bnb, hotel room or maybe even a friend’s house. Wherever you end up picking you ideally want to have a few different background options, a plain wall for portrait style shots and a desk set-up that you can pretend is your office
Hire a Photographer
Unfortunately, in this situation, a photographer is really non-negotiable because it is virtually impossible to take photos of yourself. While technically it is true if you set up a tripod and timer the amount of time you would spend doing this you are better off just hiring a photographer. They don’t have to be the best photographer in the World. They just need to have a good eye and if they don’t have the right camera and lighting you can always hire those items for them on the day. I love to use a family friend; not only is she a great photographer but I also feel really comfortable with her and can be honest and say when I am not liking the way a photo looks. We look through the photos together as we go and we work together to make it look as good as possible
Have a checklist of photos to take
Even though I have done this a number of times I always bring a checklist of photos that need to be taken. I print a copy for myself and one fo the photographer. In the moment it can be really easy to forget a shot especially if you are moving around and having outfit changes.
Plus back to my point of not being a professional model once you are at the photo shoot you may find yourself completely lost in terms of how to pose. I can never work out what to do with my hands for some reason. In these situations, I will look at the photos I have bought and try mimic one of those poses.
The types of shots you should get changes depending on your industry but these are some basics I recommend:
- Close Up
- Front On
- Looking sideways
- Arms crossed
- Standing against a plain background for LinkedIn
- Sitting on a table, in an armchair, on a ledge
- With your products (if applicable)
- Full length, waist up, chest up
- Working at desk
- Landscape (Standing and Sitting options for all)
- Centred, off-centre (left and right)
- Off-centre with plain background on one side (suitable for text overlay)
- With products
- Working at desk
- Working remotely at coffee shop
- Photo that goes with your brand aesthetic. Could be at beach, in front of graffiti etc.
It is always best to include a variety of facial expressions so if the article is more serious there is a photo of you with a more serious face. If it is light-hearted the journalist may want a very natural, smiling photo. Also, have options of looking to the camera or looking away. Below are some examples of my 2017 headshots which should give you some ideas for poses, outfits and backgrounds.
Don’t waste your hair, make-up and outfit
Even though I am always exhausted at the end of the photoshoot I always like to schedule in a date night with my husband and take some nice photos with him (just selfies, not with the professional photographer). I like to make the most of the nice hair and make-up!