Corporate Portraits. Social Media Pics. Avatars. Wherever you might plan to use your business headshot, the thing to remember is that you never have a second chance to make a first impression. But there is no need to stress because with a little preparation, you can easily optimize your photo session and produce stellar results with these simple tips.
Selecting what to wear is easily the biggest challenge when prepping for your portrait. The most important thing to remember is that you need to feel comfortable and most like yourself.
Go with the classic look. Something timeless. Think navy blue, gray or black and with pops of color in the tie and button down shirt underneath. Be sure to choose clothing, especially when wearing a suit, that fits well and does not bunch up when you sit down or button it.
For ties, these work well when their tone falls somewhere between the color of the suit jacket and your shirt. For example, light shirt, dark suit and a tie that’s a shade right in between and don’t forget that pop of color.
If going more casual, the layered look works very well especially when wearing a polo button down as they tend to wrinkle easily. But if you want to stick with the polo solo, go with a darker color as it adds to the contrast and depth of the photo.
Think simple and avoid heavy patterns, bold stripes, plaids, checks, or distracting colors as they do not photograph well digitally and take attention away from you.
The same classic clothing choice applies as your final portraits should be timeless. Again, mid and deeper tones such as blue, green, purple and chocolate tend to work best and are very slimming. Also, if you are light skinned, avoid colors that approximate flesh tones such as beige, tan, peach, pink, white, and yellow. One fail safe tip is to pick a top that accentuates your eyes.
Watch the neckline. V-necks are great and accentuate features however don’t go too low. It’s also best to avoid short sleeves and sleeveless tops as bare arms in a corporate portrait can be distracting, taking away attention from your face. Also, whatever is closest to the camera is accentuated, so if wearing a sleeveless top, the arms tend to look bigger than they actually are.
As for jewelry, again, think small, think classic. Nothing too decorative as we want to notice you, not your bling.
If you wear your glasses on a daily basis, wear them for your portrait. Don’t worry about whether or not they are reflective, there are plenty of tricks we Photographers use to make sure that’s not an issue.
I always bring a make-up kit with me to apply a bit of powder to my portrait subjects, men included, as we all tend to glow a bit under the lights. This helps to smooth the skin tones and minimize excessive highlights created by the oils in our skin.
Also, I work with several experienced hair and make-up artists who specialize in corporate headshot sessions. Having been trained in print photography, they can work with you to polish your look for your portrait, if the budget allows.
However, if you plan on going it alone, wear what you would normally wear without going to heavy. Take it easy in applying mascara, lipstick and foundation as a close headshot will capture any mistakes you may have made. The key is to highlight your features subtly.
Worried about a little blemish? Fret not, we have the magic of Photoshop and you can check out a few retouching examples by clicking here.
If you are planning to get a trim, do so a week or so before the shoot. A color? At least two weeks before your portrait session as newly colored hair tends to look a little overly vibrant so with a couple of weeks of shampooing, the look will be more natural.
Gentlemen, beards should be well groomed and if you’re going clean-shaven, make sure you had a decent shave that morning of your session.
JUST A FEW MORE THINGS
When shooting against a backdrop, you’ll want to get a heads-up on what color it is. The current trend is shooting against white or shades of grey. So, when putting your look together, go for the outfit that creates the greatest contrast with that backdrop and accentuates your best features. For example, if your portrait photographer will be using a dark grey backdrop, you may want to go with a blue, chocolate or black suit as opposed to grey so that you stand out from the background.
And the last thought…..I admit, I am not a fan of having my photo taken so I totally empathize if you too, are not a fan. But there really is no need to worry as it does not need to be a painful experience. In fact, the key is to make it fun and how we approach this together is probably the most important factor in making a professional, approachable, authoritative and authentic portrait. So, just run with the tips provided and then you can relax and let us work our magic!