How to prepare for your corporate portrait

You've hired a photographer and decided on the date, time and place for your shoot, so all you need to do now is show up, right?


While an experienced professional should have gone through a checklist of sorts with you beforehand, here are a few things to help you prepare.

  • Wardrobe

Find out what colour backdrop your photographer will be shooting you on and choose your colours accordingly. You want to have complementary, contrasting colours so you stand out from the background.

Where possible, avoid stripes, as they create an unpleasant effect in camera and on computer screens, called moire, where the pattern seems to warp and move.

Make sure your clothing fits properly and is ironed. Nothing ruins a great headshot more than ill-fitting, rumpled clothing. You can hang your outfit(s) in a garment bag and change at the location, or keep your jacket/blazer off until you're ready for your picture. Another plus to this is that you avoid getting makeup on your clothing. The makeup artist is a pro, but accidents do sometimes happen.

Also, walk with a lint brush/roller. No explanation needed.

  • Hair and Makeup

Before you say you don't need it or you can do your own or you balk because you're a man, wait.

Makeup is a vital part of a successful photoshoot. You won't look like a fashion plate (unless you want to) or a drag queen, but you will have blemish reduced, even skin tone (goodbye, dark undereye circles) and be grease free.

Strobe lighting will find those flyaway hairs and oily areas you don't necessarily see and emphasise the bejesus out of them. You don't want to have 'Einstein' hair or have your forehead be the 'highlight' of the shoot, so trust your team to make you look your best.

If you're adamantly against having makeup done, walk with translucent powder or oil blotting sheets that you can use between shots.

Tips: Make sure your nails are in order and your hands and lips moisturised. Don't try a new beauty product or procedure the day before or of your shoot. You may have a negative reaction and break out or puff up. Similarly, if you're changing your hair, get it cut a few weeks prior so it can grow out a bit and you can get used to the style. 

  • Practice Posing

You might feel silly doing it, but stand or sit on a stool in front of a mirror with your 'better side' and shoulders at 45º to it, and practice different facial expressions and arm positions - folded, at your sides, in your pockets or on your lap, and make sure your feet and body are positioned properly if you're doing a full length portrait - heels slightly apart and toes of the foot on the same side as the shoulder closer to the mirror (camera) pointing to the mirror and slightly in front of the other foot.

Your photographer will direct you on the day of the shoot, but practicing will make you feel less awkward and help you visualise what works best for you.

  • Communicate

If you have a feature or flaw that you would prefer to have retouched or removed, let the photographer know at the shoot. If they are aware of it, they may pose or light you to minimise it, and if they can't, they will know how to approach it in post production.

Many photographers remove blemishes like acne, but leave distinguishing scars unless requested otherwise. Don't be embarrassed to have that talk with your photographer - they've probably dealt with many such requests.

Now go knock your next portrait session out of the park!