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  • Dan Medley

A Pre-Headshot Tip-List

I've compiled a short list of tips for you to help ease the process of taking headshots here in New York City! Where ever you plan to post these photographs to, I want you to be proud and want to share them everywhere you can. So many people will see this picture before they meet you, and we all know first impressions count.

#1 - Get a good night sleep prior to the photo shoot.

The more rested and relaxed you are the day of the shoot, the better you will feel in front of the camera. We all love staying up late and catching up on our latest TV show, but getting that extra hour or so of sleep will make a considerable difference the following day!

#2 - Be aware of your "best side".

Most everyone will be aware of which side of their face they feel is the best. This may be due to symmetry or shape, maybe a slight imperfection. Do not feel embarrassed to share any feelings you have. This knowledge will only help us capture the best photographs we can. Everyone, in fact, has a bigger eye than the other. By turning your body and head to a 45 degree angle, this helps alleviate the small differences and helps thin out the image.

#3 - Go ahead and look at yourself!

It may feel silly and like a waste of time, but practice your looks in front of your mirror. I guarantee you have an expression or two you prefer. A half smile could help you look more approachable and enthusiastic. But maybe you want a more neutral look to communicate strength. Try them both and imagine what look you want to sell in your images.

When practicing, try squinting ever so slightly. We'll call it 'The Squinch'. Some people that are uncomfortable in front of a camera may react by unnaturally opening their eyes extra wide. Think of a deer in headlights. That is precisely what we want to avoid.

Experiment, try things, have fun, laugh a little. I'm going to be there to help coach you through the images and get you into a relaxed frame of mind until we capture the best images we can.

#4 - Strike A Pose

Visualize yourself in front of the camera (with all your practicing you've done), then turn your whole body 45 degrees whichever way puts your best side closest to the camera. Then turn only your head back to face the camera. If this doesn't make sense, don't worry! I'll be able to quickly demonstrate once we meet up.

Also remember to keep your back nice and straight. A poor posture could help envoke a lack of confidence. These photographs will reflect the way you hold yourself and the confidence you have. So stand tall and be self-assured! We all know you're the best you there ever was!

Now your hands... "What do I do with my hands?". Just drop them to your sides or place them in your pockets if that feels comfortable. Not doing anything with your hands may feel odd at the time, but it will look even stranger if you were to hold your hands behind your back. If your image is full body, we can work on the best pose for those needs.

Now last, but not least! Your chin. By pushing your chin out slightly, it will separate your face from your neck and your body. When done correctly, you will help define your jawline. To help accomplish this, imagine you are holding a grapefruit between your chin and chest. Once we start shooting, I'll give you some more tips to help achieve this look.

#5 - What ever shall I wear?

What to wear might be the hardest choice you'll make involving these headshots. I biggest suggestion would be to wear what you would normally wear when you are meeting with a potential client/employer. Even though we'll most likely be photographing from the shoulders and up, a scruffy or un-ironed shirt will show up in the images.

If you normally wear glasses, decide whether or not you want to have them on in your portraits. If you choose to not wear them, please take them off fifteen minutes prior as to help red marks on your nose disappear.

If you wear makeup, please don't be tempted to apply more than you normally would. These photographs should be an accurate representation of yourself. If you love bold lipstick, go for it! There will be light retouching to help remove blemishes and things that are not normally part of your image!

As for clothing, I would advise that you stay away from trends since times change fast. This pertains to shirts, ties, hairstyles, etc. These headshots should last you upwards of two years. We don't want to date you to a specific season or time!

#6 - Relax

Don't stress. I'll help coach you along and we'll quickly become friendly and probably be laughing quicker than we're taking photos! Most people will feel awkward when they're getting their pictures taken. I aim to build a rapport with you to help you relax as quick as possible so we can capture you at your best. Feel free to smile and talk, we will get better results with a more natural mouth look!

I hope these tips aren't too much and they help you prepare for an amazing photoshoot here in New York City or wherever you are!


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