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  • Writer's pictureLuis Rivas

Headshot Photography: How to Look Your Best.

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

As your trusted photographers at District Pixel, we recommend the following prep tips for a successful headshot session.

Smiling white woman headshot in business attire against white background. Curly brown hair, photo taken indoors in Washington DC.
Make a great first impression.

Reference Picture: Onsite Photography - Package #2. Taken by Luis Rivas using Canon R6, Canon 50mm and strobe Canon 600 EX RT II.

Welcome to the District Pixel blog! As a leading photography company specializing in corporate headshots in Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia we are excited to share our expertise and insights with you.

In this blog post, we will provide you with 10 invaluable tips on how to make the most out of your corporate headshot session with us. From choosing the right wardrobe to mastering facial expressions, our team of experienced photographers at District Pixel has you covered. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out in your career, our tips will help you create impactful and polished headshots that will elevate your professional image.

So, let's dive in and discover how you can achieve stunning corporate headshots in Washington DC with District Pixel!

Tip #1 - Clothing: Choose simple and solid-colored clothing.

As a photographer with over six years of experience working in the corporate environment in the Washington DC area, I have seen firsthand the importance of choosing the right colors for your headshot.

Neutral and conservative colors such as black, navy blue, dark grey, and brown are recommended for business attire in the DC area, as they convey professionalism and competence. These colors tend to look good on most skin tones and can be easily paired with different backgrounds and lighting setups. I almost forgot to say a white shirt / blouse or light colors are always welcomed.

When it comes to patterns, logos, and anything too revealing or casual, it's best to avoid them in headshots, as they can be distracting. Instead, stick to solid colors or simple and tiny patterns. Remember, you want to dress for the job you want, not the job you have, so it's important to dress in a way that is appropriate for the position you are applying for.

If you want to add a pop of color to your headshot, consider using accessories like ties, scarves, or jewelry in shades of red, blue, or green. However, it's crucial to avoid overly bright colors or loud patterns, as they can take away from the professional look you want to achieve.

It's important to note that color choices can differ in other states, depending on the weather or geography. However, in the Washington DC area, choosing solid, neutral colors is a safe and effective way to project professionalism and competence in your headshot. Ultimately, the best colors for your corporate headshot will depend on your personal style, industry, and the message you want to convey.

Color palette with recommended and not recommended colors for headshot photography
Choose the right colors for your headshot to convey the right impression.

Tip #2 - Grooming

Based on my experience working with people here I have some suggestions for both genres;

For Women:

For women, grooming for a headshot involves a few different steps. Start by washing and moisturizing your face to create a smooth, glowing canvas for makeup. If you're planning to wear makeup, keep it natural and simple, with a focus on enhancing your features rather than covering them up.

When it comes to hair, choose a style that flatters your face shape and complements your outfit. Whether you wear your hair up or down, make sure it's neatly styled and free of flyaways or frizz.

Overall, the key to successful grooming for a headshot is to keep things simple, clean, and flattering to your features. By taking the time to prepare, you'll be able to create a polished and professional image that represents you at your best.

For Men:

When it comes to grooming for a headshot, there are a few key things that men should keep in mind. First and foremost, it's important to make sure your hair is styled neatly and trimmed if necessary. If you have facial hair, take the time to groom it properly, whether that means trimming your beard or shaping your mustache, do not shave minutes before the headshot session. If your session is in the PM, then shave it in AM.

Additionally, make sure your skin looks clean and clear by washing your face and using a gentle exfoliant if needed. If you're prone to redness or blemishes, consider using a light foundation or concealer to even out your skin tone.

Tip #3 - Hydration and Rest

Make sure to get enough rest the night before your headshot session to avoid tired-looking eyes. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, which can help improve your skin's appearance.

Tip #4 - Skin Care

Exfoliate and moisturize your skin prior to the shoot to ensure a smooth and healthy complexion. Avoid trying new skincare products or treatments close to the shoot in case of adverse reactions.

Tip #5 - Expression and Posture

When it comes to getting the perfect headshot, I want you to know that I'll be there to support and guide you every step of the way. As someone who has helped many clients who arrive a bit tense, I can tell you that I have seen firsthand how they end up being so happy with what they see. One key element to focus on is your expression and posture. To achieve a confident and approachable expression, I recommend relaxing your face and jaw muscles and thinking about something that makes you happy or brings a smile to your face.

We can also experiment with tilting your head slightly or angling your shoulders to create a more dynamic and engaging pose.

When it comes to posture, I'll be here to help you keep your shoulders relaxed and your spine straight, creating a sense of confidence and poise. We'll work together to avoid slouching or leaning too far forward or backward, which can create an unflattering angle and make you appear less confident.

Remember, the goal of a headshot is to capture your unique personality and style, so don't be afraid to experiment with different expressions and poses to find the perfect look for you. And above all, know that I'm here to support and guide you throughout the process and that we'll have fun together along the way!

Tip # 6 - Wardrobe

When selecting your outfit for a headshot session, it's important to make sure your clothes are clean, wrinkle-free, and free of lint and animal hair. To prevent wrinkles, hang your clothes in a well-ventilated area and use a garment steamer or iron to smooth out any wrinkles before your session. To remove lint and animal hair, use a lint roller or a piece of tape to gently remove any stray fibers from your clothes.

If you have pets, it's especially important to make sure your clothes are free of animal hair. To prevent pet hair from clinging to your clothes, try to avoid wearing fabrics that attract hair, such as wool or cashmere, and opt for more tightly woven materials, such as cotton or polyester. And if you do find some pet hair on your clothes, don't worry! Just use a lint roller or a piece of tape to gently remove it. Remember, the most important thing is to feel confident and comfortable in your outfit, so choose something that makes you feel great!

Iron and lint roller for professional headshot photography. Get rid of wrinkles and lint for a polished look.
These are your best friend - (Iron - Lint Roller)

Tip # 7 - Communication with Us

Discuss your goals and preferences with us beforehand, such as the intended use of the headshots, desired style, and any specific poses or expressions you want to capture. We want to ensure that we deliver the best possible headshots for you. We are always happy to help.

Tip # 8 - Arrive Prepared

Arrive on time and bring any necessary touch-up items, such as makeup, hairbrush, and clothing options. Be prepared to take breaks for touch-ups and wardrobe changes during the shoot. If this applies for your session.

Tip # 9 - Relax and be yourself

One of the most important things to remember when getting your headshot taken is to relax and be yourself. It's natural to feel a bit nervous or self-conscious when having your picture taken, especially if you're not used to being in front of the camera. However, it's important to remember that the goal of a headshot is to capture your unique personality and style, so it's essential to let your true self shine through.

To help you relax and be yourself, I'll work with you to create a comfortable and welcoming environment during our photoshoot. We'll chat and get to know each other, and I'll provide guidance and support throughout the process. I'll also give you tips on how to pose and express yourself in a way that feels natural and authentic to you.

Tip # 10 - Review and Select

After your headshot session, we will send you a link to a private online gallery where you can review the proofs. Take some time to look through the photos and select your favorites. We encourage you to consider feedback from us and others when making your selections. We want you to be happy with your headshots, so please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to help you make the best possible choices for your needs.

District Pixel is your partner in success, providing you with tips and guidance to prepare for your corporate headshot session. Our team of skilled photographers captures your confidence, authenticity, and individuality in high-quality headshots that leave a lasting impression. Trust us to capture your best self in every shot. Contact us today to schedule your session or feel free to ask us anything. We are always happy to help.

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