• Nina Bashaw

9 tips on how to prepare for your headshots


Now that you’ve decided to book a personal branding headshot session you might be wondering, “Okay now what?” You might start feeling a little overwhelmed and not sure where to start. You are probably thinking about what Tampa headshot photographer to choose, what outfits to wear, what locations you want to shoot at, how to pose, all of it! So I’m writing this blog post to help you have a list of things to check off as you are preparing for you business branding photoshoot.

All of these tips I also go over with my clients in our consultation so that I can help you get the most out of your session and feel fully prepared for the photoshoot. I want you to not only love your photos but for them to be a true reflection of yourself and your brand! So here it is my tips for you when planning your lifestyle headshots.

1: HAVE A CLEAR VISION FOR YOUR BRAND

I might be stating the obvious here but you must have cohesive brand and you as the owner must know your brand inside and out! Remember in my last blog post I talked a little about this, your brand is more than just a logo of a beautiful set of fonts with pretty colors. Your brand is about attracting the ideal client. So if your brand is all over the place it will be hard for your clients to full understand what you as the business owner specializes in. Your brand and headshots should flow smoothly together. Once you have decided what your brand (as a whole) is all about, that will make it easier for you to figure out how you want your headshots to look.



2: KNOW THE MESSAGE YOU WANT YOUR PHOTOS TO TELL

Understand the goal in having your photos taken. Is it because you want people to know the face behind the business? Are you working on a huge project and want to share that with your followers? Are you planning to use these for your blog, marketing, Friday introductions on Instagram? It’s important to not only know why you want to do the photoshoot but also where and how you will use the photos!





3: MAKE A VISION BOARD

Pinterest hello, everyone loves Pinterest! In all seriousness I think having an inspiration board is a great way to gather all your thoughts and ideas you have for your session. Using Pinterest can help you envision how you want your headshot session to look, the colors, poses, outfits, and location of the shoot. Make sure to share these inspiration photos with your St Petersburg photographer so they can see what you like and are attracted too. They won’t necessary copy that exact photo but they can use it as a guide to see what you are drawn too and inspired by.



4: MAKE A LIST OF PROPS YOU WANT TO USE

My go-to props are things you use everyday to run your business, your phone, a computer, a notepad, etc. Shots of you “working” shows off that it’s you that is answering those emails and phone calls. If you have a store front why not have other people in the shoot too. Ask an employee or a friend to play the part of a customer coming into your store. This is a great way to show your customers of you ‘in-action’ or ‘behind the scenes’. If you are a personal chef or restaurant owner have some items on display that you use everyday, such as your knives, stand mixer, or having on a cool apron and chefs hat, I mean why not!? If you are a blogger and have a beloved pet include them in the session. After all everyone loves seeing photos of a cute furry face!! Make sure you tell your photographer ahead of time about any additional people or pets you want to include in your business branding session, that way you both are on the same page.



5: HAVE YOUR HAIR AND MAKEUP DONE PROFESSIONALLY

Believe me when I say that professional hair and makeup makes a huge difference in photos. Makeup artists have all the tools to make you feel confident and look professional. Having your hair and makeup done will put your mind at easy so you can relax and not worry about if you put your fake eyelashes on correctly. Even if you’re like me and don’t wear makeup on a daily basis I think it’s very important to make this one exception by getting a little glammed up for one day. You can tell your makeup artist that you are having professional photos taken so you want to look like yourself but just a little more “fancy” than usual. Give them inspiration photos of what you like so they can see your exceptions of how you want to look. For the guys, consider making an appointment with your barber the day of your shoot to have your hair washed and styled for the session. If they offer beard trimming or clean cut shave then that would be a great way to insure you look your best for your personal branding headshots. Also make sure your nails are clean, this will make a huge difference in the photos!



6: PLAN YOUR OUTFITS

My best advice for finding the perfect wardrobe is to wear something you would normally wear and just dress it up a bit. Think about what you wear on a regular basis just “fancy it up a little”. For example if you’re jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, then wear jeans for your session. Just take it up a notch with cute shoes and pretty jewelry. If you often get dressed up and wear dresses or skirts, then wear that. No matter what you wear you should feel comfortable and pretty! I say bring a minimum of two outfit changes and max of four. This will allow for variety in the photos and give you lots of images to choose from when posting to social media and displaying them on your blog. One simple way to change up an outfit is to bring along accessories. You can quickly change your look with adding a sweater, a scarf, jewelry, and shoes, etc. When picking out your outfits also take into considering your brand! Think about the following when deciding on your wardrobe 1; your brand colors, 2; the clients you are trying to attract, 3; the location of your session. Is your brand colorful and hip or classic and neutral? Are your clients young professionals or corporate clients? Once again make sure your brand as a whole is taken into consideration even when it comes out outfits.



7: PICK OUT LOCATIONS

When it comes to making sure your personal branding images turn out the way you want, your location(s) play a big part! If you have a store front here in Sarasota or studio space in St Pete then thats one location idea. If you are a fashion blogger or a real estate agent outdoor photos at a pretty park or a cool downtown street both make for a beautiful backdrop. Make sure that whatever location you choose its a reflection of your brand and you as the business owner.



P I N M E

8: CHOOSE THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER

This step is one is one of the most important when planning your headshots. First decide on what kind of look you want for your photos and if that look fits your brand. Here is what I mean; if your social media is full of colorful, fun, bright and airy images then choose a photographer that edits their images like that. But if you love the darker moodier edit then search for photographers with that type of portfolio. Search for headshot photographers, personal branding photographers, and portrait photographers in Tampa area. Make sure they have in their portfolio the kind of session you want. If they only have newborns and maternity photos on their website and social media it’s a high possibility that they do not offer headshot sessions. If you love their work reach out to them to see if they offer headshots and if they don’t ask if they can point you in the right direction. Once you have narrowed it down to a few photographers look at their Google and Facebook reviews, are their clients happy with their experience with them? It’s also totally okay to ask the photographer lots of questions! You can ask them questions like; What do they charge for a session? How long is the session? How many locations can you go to? Do they offer all inclusive packages with digital images? Or are they IPS (in person sales with a sitting fee and then a la carte add on’s). How long will it take me to get the photos back? I think it’s extremely important to have honest and open communication with your photographer, it’s so important to know ahead of time of what to expect and to get along with your photographer!



9: TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

On the day of your shoot listen for direction from your photographer, relax and have fun! You’ve done so much research and prepared for your session for weeks, so now put it into the hands of the professional photographer you’ve chosen. A good portrait photographer will know how to pose you in a flattering way and in the best light. Allow them to take control at this point so you can relax and enjoy your session!












Nina Bashaw is a Tampa, FL based fine art luxury photographer that specializes in senior portraits, headshots, weddings, micro weddings, and elopements throughout the southeast and is available for worldwide travel.

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