• Tony Brown Photography

How to Prepare for a Professional Portrait Shoot

Take some tips from an expert on how to make your portrait shoot as painless, and successful, as possible


Getting your picture taken can be a daunting task. And a professional portrait photo shoot or headshots may bring their own particular stresses. As an experienced portrait photographer in London, I have dealt with all manner of clients, and have seen how wildly different people approach getting their photo taken professionally. Be that positive, or negative.


We all know the importance of a good professional portrait shoot when it comes to producing a quality image for you to use in business or your personal life. The digital age has made us all highly visible, and our personal image often proceeds us. So, how do you make sure that your portrait presents the best version of yourself, knowing full well its immense importance?



Today I'll share some handy tips I've picked up over the years, that you can easily follow, and will hopefully help you achieve the professional portrait shoot you deserve.


Preparation Is Key With a Professional Portrait Shoot


To achieve a great portrait during your professional session, there needs to be a collaboration between myself, the photographer and you, the subject. And this requires excellent direction from me, and a mutual trust between us. But how do we capture the best version of you during your shoot? The key is preparation…


On the day of a photoshoot, I always talk my subject though suggestions, but I ask the client to bring their own ideas too. Knowing what you want as the end product; the message you wish to project for your business is critical.


So, to put make it that bit easier, here are some recommendations for preparing yourself for a professional portrait shoot:

  • Choose clothes that you feel comfortable in, while also flattering and fitting your body type.

  • Solid, soft and muted colours usually photograph best and avoid logos, bold patterns, neon and wrinkled clothes.

  • Make sure all clothes are clean and pressed.

  • Bring 2 different outfits.

  • Stylish shoes or boots.

  • Simple accessories.

  • Glare free glasses.

  • A clean-shaven look, or neatly trimmed facial hair.

  • Have a haircut a week or so before the session (men).

  • Have hair styled before the session.

  • If you colour your hair, do this at least a few days in advance — particularly important if you're prone to dark roots.

  • Wear natural make-up, that is also slightly heavier than usual.

  • If you aren’t confident about creating your own striking look, then you may want to consider the option of booking a hair and make-up artist.

  • Have your nails manicured.



5-Minute Preparation Before Your Portrait


Check Your Hair: A little water goes a long way. Make sure you don’t have hair sprouting in all directions. A photographer can remove single strands of hair, but clumps of hair are much more difficult.

Check For Shine: In a photo shoot, the flash on the studio lighting reflects off any sweaty or dry spots, making portions of your face look shiny.

If you have a dry face, do not apply lotion to your face within 4 hours before your shoot… If you need to, do this in the week before your shoot.

If you’re not wearing make-up, simply splash some cold water on your face and pat dry with a paper towel. If you’re wearing make-up, go with simple powders. Avoid glossy or shiny make-up — which is reflective when combined with studio flash.

Check Your Glasses: Dirty glasses stick out like a sore thumb. Try not to wear glasses that have “transition lenses”, as they will look like sunglasses in your photo. If you can, make sure your glasses are glare resistant, or lighting will interfere with the quality of your portrait.

Relax: You’re going to look great! Stress and anxiety will show up in photos, so get yourself in a good mood. Listen to your favourite song and do a little dance at your desk before your session.


If you would like to have your professional portrait taken, and you are looking for a photographer - I would love to be of assistance! You are welcome to browse a selection of my past work here, and if you would like to get in touch, please visit my contact page.

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