10 Headshot Tips To Make You Look Great

Written by Robert Lowdon

Robert Lowdon is an internationally published commercial photographer based out of Toronto, Canada. He spends his time photographing architecture and industrial projects for the most part.

Published September 8, 2022

headshot with plant in background

Are you thinking about getting professional headshots? As a professional headshot photographer, I believe that is a great idea! But, of course, I might be a bit biased.

Contrary to popular belief, getting your picture taken doesn’t need to be intimidating. I know we are traumatized by how terrible our school photos were as children, scarring us for life. However, headshot photography can be pretty fun with the right photographer. You won’t have to sit on a box, get hit by a tape measure or have a weird old guy forcefully position your face demanding you say cheese!

Maybe that just happened to me, so let’s get on with it. Here are ten headshot tips for ensuring your photos look great.

Get a great haircut, or style your hair in a way that flatters your face

Cut or colour your hair a few days before the headshot session to look fresh and vibrant in the photos. You can go all out to demonstrate your personality; you do you. For business headshots or Linkedin headshots, you might want to be more conservative. Or not, it is comp[letely up to you.

Choose clothes that fit well and are comfortable

Picking the proper clothing can be difficult, but wear your favourite outfits. Wear the clothes you own that you feel great in. And feel free to bring a few outfit changes.

Be mindful of what type of headshot you are there for. Casual clothing is not the best for corporate headshots, so be aware.

Wear minimal makeup, or get a professional makeup artist to do your makeup for you

Makeup can look great in a professional headshot, but it is easy to go too far. If you do decide to wear makeup, keep it natural and subtle. Avoid any products that reflect light back at the camera. Certain foundations can ruin your photos!

It can be an excellent decision to use a professional makeup artist. However, make sure you use one that is either provided by the photographer or recommended.

Practice smiling in the mirror until you find a smile that feels natural and genuine

Practicing smiles in the mirror can seem awkward and goofy, but it’s worth ensuring you’ve got a natural expression. See, we don’t always understand how we look when we smile.

When you smile for a headshot, you always want it to be natural and not forced. So sometimes, as a professional photographer, I will make my clients laugh to ensure their genuine smile comes out.

Related: What Are the Most Important Images to Promote your Business? We asked Businesses

Keep Your Chin Up

One of the things I see so much as a headshot photographer with my clients is that they tend to compress their chins. It leads to an unflattering photo because it causes a double chin and makes a face more round and bulky.

Your chin should be in a neutral position for a great headshot photo, slightly tilted down. So I guess the heading should be: keep your chin out and slightly tilted.

It’s Ok to Be Nervous

After all these years as a business headshot photographer, I can tell you with 100% certainty that no single person on this planet isn’t self-conscious about how they look. Not one. Not one in the world. Even supermodels.

I get it because I always felt more comfortable behind a camera than in front of one. So, I expect you to be nervous because everyone is.

Good headshot photographers will work with you to calm your nerves. There is always a point during every photo shoot when the subject relaxes; once that happens, the best photos come out.

Give Honest Feedback About Your Photo

If your photographer is asking you for feedback, it’s because they want to make sure the final result of your shoot is something that makes you happy. So don’t be afraid to speak up and tell them what you think!

Feedback is one of the essential parts of the process. If your photographer is not asking about what you don’t like or like about the images, they are not doing their job.

Imagine using a business headshot for years that you hate. Speak up, and don’t be afraid. Understand that my ultimate job as a professional photographer is taking great images you will love. It’s never an inconvenience or a bother for honest feedback.

Related: Everything You Wanted to Know About Hiring a Photographer, But Were Afraid to Ask

Go To Your Happy Place

One of the best tricks to ensure you look natural and relaxed in photos is to think of something happy. Like, have you seen Happy Gilmore? It’s science.

But seriously, try to leave the day’s stresses outside the studio. Do what you need to be in the right mood for the shoot. If you need a break or some fresh air during your photo session, take it.

Avoid Alcohol at All Costs

Alcohol does not mix well with headshots! Yes, it may help you loosen up and let loose, but it can also leave your skin looking red and blotchy, your eyes puffy, and your smile less natural. Not a professional image you would want to convey to potential clients.

Have you ever seen those images of people partying on their Facebook and that they all look terrible? Yeah, me too. It is because they’re drunk.

Pick The Right Clothing – Be Careful With Patterns and Colors

Clothing choices can make or break your photos, so pick something that flatters you and helps bring out the best in your features. Also, steer clear of anything too loud or busy, as tight patterns can cause a strange camera effect called moire. We can deal with this in the post, but it is not ideal.

If you’re unsure about what to wear, stick with solid colours and neutral tones so that it doesn’t take away from your natural beauty. Even if you’re unsure how to dress for a photo shoot, this tip will always help ensure that you look great in the photos!

Don’t forget always to stay positive and confident

No matter how much preparation you do or how experienced your makeup artist is, it’s important to remember that no one can look their best if they’re not feeling their best. It’s all about confidence – so keep your chin up and your spirits high, and you’ll look amazing in your photos.

Be Well Rested and Get Enough Sleep

An essential tip to looking your best in photos is to get enough rest! The night before any photo shoot, ensure you get 8 hours of sleep.

Not only will this help you look more alert and fresh in your photos, but it’ll also give you that much-needed energy boost to make sure you can handle any unexpected stressors or last-minute adjustments during the shoot. Something as simple as a good night’s sleep can make all the difference for a great image.


Taking the perfect headshot photo is about feeling confident, relaxed, and looking your best. By following these simple tips and tricks, you can ensure that any photoshoot will succeed!

From avoiding alcohol to picking the proper clothing, getting enough rest beforehand, and thinking of something funny before each click – if you take care of yourself in advance, then there’s no doubt that your photos will come out looking great!

So, get ready for your next photoshoot with confidence, knowing that you can and will look good in your photographs. And if you need a Toronto photographer or anywhere else, really, I can help with that.

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