Attention: Your company’s website is being re-designed and fresh headshots are needed for the team page. You and your co-workers are required to attend a professional photo shoot next week. O. K. Did that announcement trigger a bit of panic and dread? You may not be able to completely eliminate those butterflies, but you can help them fly in formation by being prepared.

It may be reassuring to know that other people rarely notice the things that bug you the most about your appearance. What they see and react to in a portrait is a sense of your energy and personality so you will want to do whatever you can to make yourself comfortable before and during the photoshoot so the ‘real you’ can show up.

A man in a bright red sport jacket posing for a silly photograph

Practice at Home

It is entirely natural to feel nervous in front of a camera. Most bodies perceive the situation as a threat and this initiates a fight or flight response (which makes you feel and look anything but calm…)

You may also be slightly traumatized and critical when viewing your photo image because your face appears reversed from what you are used to seeing in your friendly bathroom mirror.

It may feel ridiculous, but it does help to visualize and walk through photoshoot steps ahead of time. Snap some casual, unposed selfies with a wide range of attitudes and angles and then examine your images with a kind eye. See which shots come off looking natural and close to the real you.

In your test shots, do you look like a robot who would rather be anywhere but here? To crush the jitters, free your breath by jumping up and down, shaking your arms, crouching down and coming up quickly or twisting side-to-side before settling into your pose. These tricks will help produce a relaxed, engaging portrait.

If sitting, breathe into your belly with your shoulders relaxed down and chin lifted a bit. You can lean your upper body very slightly toward the camera for a ‘slimming’ effect. Practice doing this until it starts to feel comfortable and unforced. (Hello, are you still breathing?)

Be sure to think about how you want your hair to look and, if you usually wear makeup, how you want to apply it for the portrait. Plan your next haircut in sync with the shoot schedule.

Try out and plan to bring several pieces of clothing that fit well and make you feel extra comfy and confident. In general, wearing mid-range and darker-colored clothing tends to draw more attention to your face (which is a good thing for a portrait).

Behind the Scenes Preparation

The photographer and producer will meet with the person in charge of coordinating company participants ahead of time to discuss general tone and style options. Decisions will be made regarding where to conduct the photoshoot (outdoors, indoors with or without a backdrop) and what colors of clothing would work best to produce a unified set of portraits that are compatible with the company brand.

Every photoshoot will have different guidelines depending on the desired end product. Here is a sample set of instructions to give you an idea of things you may be asked to consider as you prepare for a shoot.

Sample Instructions for a Business Casual Shoot

  • Dress in business casual, no ties. Please bring a dark-colored suit jacket. Dark blue/navy or dark charcoal are effective colors.
  • Bring a collared dress shirt or a blouse that goes well with your dark jacket. A medium grey, blue or purple will work well. Bring along several shirts, we can help you choose which one looks best.
  • Avoid wearing busy or loudly colored patterns especially stripes as they are distracting and tend to not reproduce well. In general, wearing solid colors will put the focus of the photo on your face which is desirable. That being said, small, subtle patterns are fine and can add some of your personality to the shot.
  • Simple jewelry is nice but avoid creating too much distraction.
  • If you usually wear makeup, apply it slightly heavier than your everyday normal.
    If you don’t typically wear makeup, applying neutral cheek and lip color and a little mascara can help create depth and definition in your face. We will be prepared to assist with flyaway hair strands and will blot any sweaty brows. We will not be set up to do your full makeup for you however, so please come prepared.
Uptown Studios
By Uptown Studios