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If you’re unsure about preparing for your headshot photoshoot, here is some advice to prepare for your session.


A successful headshot photoshoot is 50% your preparation and 50% our photography. During your session, we will do everything humanly possible to make sure you love your headshot, but your preparation is critical to getting a great final photo.

If you’re unsure about preparing for your headshot photoshoot, here is some advice to prepare for your session.


  1. Hair cut or styled the way you like it.
  2. Choose your clothing options with care.
  3. Glasses are clean, non-transitions, and in good condition.
  4. Makeup is minimal and non-reflective.
  5. Get a good sleep the night before.
  6. Be prepared to have fun.

The Week Before

Plan your Day: While planning your day a week ahead of time can be difficult, ensure that you don’t have any appointments or other scheduling conflicts in the minutes leading up to your session. You want to be focused during your shoot.

If you’re getting your hair done, we highly recommend you don’t try to cut corners by getting it done the night before and sleeping on it. You should have a same-day appointment for hair and makeup.

Evaluate your Clothing options: The #1 reason people need to come back for more photos is that they brought the wrong clothing to the session, for example, the client wearing glasses they realized they didn’t like, the client wore a shirt or suit that doesn’t fit them anymore, client wore clothing with loud and distracting patterns etc.

Also, ensure that your clothing is not the same colour as the background you’re shooting on. If your employer is sending you in for a session, check with them on the background you’ll use.

So, to avoid a reshoot, make SURE that your clothing fits you and will photograph well. If you’re unsure, email us a photo of your outfit to studio@headshotskzn.co.za – we’ll be happy to help!

The Day Before

Get enough Sleep: As much as possible, try to get some rest in the days leading up to your shoot. Our editing process will help with dark circles under your eyes but prioritizing sleep the night before your shoot is the most effective method for looking rested!

Know Thyself: Look back at past photos of yourself that you’ve liked. Were you wearing a specific colour? Did you have a specific hairstyle? Was the photo taken from a specific angle? Do you have a favourite side? Plan appropriately and/or communicate your preferences to the photographer. We would LOVE to see a photo of you from the past that you liked – send those photos to us before your session.

For outdoor shoots, if you have frizzy hair in certain conditions, consider that in your preparation.

If you get red eyes, dry lips, or acne when doing activities like cycling, surfing, running, swimming in a pool (chlorine), or cooking with certain foods – then refrain from those activities before your shoot.

Ask yourself, “Is tomorrow THE day?”: Besides clothing, the #2 reason clients ask for a reshoot is that some other external factor impacted their mood or confidence on the day of their shoot. You usually shouldn’t rush through your session, whether it’s due to lack of sleep, acne breakouts, bad hair days, stress at work or home, or simply being in a bad mood (it can happen!) if you don’t feel good.

We have an extraordinarily generous rescheduling policy for precisely this reason. With six hours’ notice, sessions can be rescheduled for free via email.

(Note: This, unfortunately, does not apply to group sessions at a client’s office (i.e., corporate headshot days), as we may not be returning later.)

However, don’t needlessly delay your session until the “perfect timing” either – because that will never happen. We create a warm and welcoming environment for your shoot – so we’ve been known to turn around quite a few people’s days.

Depending on the Editing Option you choose, we will remove stray hairs and reduce bags under the eyes from lack of sleep – so don’t sweat that either!

The Morning Of

Dress for the Job you Want: Stick with solid-coloured tops. They’re more flattering and less distracting. Jackets and collared shirts are highly recommended. Depending on your industry, you may be tempted to wear casual attire. But, based on our experience, we recommend you dress up for your professional photos.

Try to avoid any large pieces of jewellery or excessive makeup. Avoid logos or badges on either your shirt or your jacket – or you risk looking like an advertisement.

For guys, unless you have a strong preference, try not to wear an undershirt with your dress shirt. If you do, wear a white undershirt – not a black or grey undershirt, as these will show through, altering the colour tone of your shirt.

In general, you want solid-colour and high-contrast outfits. For example, white shirt and dark blue blazer, white shirt and black blazer, light blue shirt and black blazer etc. 

Make sure your clothes are ironed and/or without wrinkles. If you have a lint roller, use it the night before or bring it to the shoot.

Do not wear glasses with “blue light reflectors” or “transition lenses”; those will ruin your photos. There’s not much we can do about that in the editing process. Regular glasses are totally OK, but we’ll advise you on the day.

Note: If you’re taking headshots to be put on your employer’s website, make SURE to check with them on the proper attire. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes you will need to come and re-shoot because they wore a suit (when they should have been dressed casually) or were under-dressed. Every employer is different, and what you should wear depends on what they’d like to convey on their website – so make sure to ask.

Shave: If you have facial hair, cleanly shave or maintain a trimmed beard. Anything in the middle looks sloppy. When in doubt, shave. However, do not shave immediately before your shoot – as razor bumps and discolouration will become more apparent.

5-Minutes Before

Check your Hair: A little water goes a long way. Make sure you don’t have hair sprouting in all directions. Our editing team can quickly remove single strands of hair, but clumps 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 makeup, simply splash cold water on your face and pat dry with a paper towel. If you’re wearing makeup, go with simple powders. Avoid glossy makeup – which is reflective when combined with a studio flash.

Check your Glasses: Dirty glasses stick out like a sore thumb. Try not to wear glasses with “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.

Listen to your Photographer: We will be giving you some advice at the beginning of your session; more specifically, we may ask you to look at your hair and/or makeup one last time and to use “oil blot pads” on your nose, cheeks, and forehead before our shoot.

Some people ignore that request, but please look in the mirror. It’s hard for any photographer to know exactly how you like to wear your hair, makeup, or jewellery, so take a close look. We only have your best interests in mind. You’d be surprised how many people say they’re “good to go” and then look at the first set of photos on our Laptop or Tablet and realize they didn’t like their hair or should have used the blot pads.

Relax: You’re going to look great! Stress and anxiety will show up in photos, so get yourself in a good vibe. Listen to your favourite song and put a little excitement in your walk to your session.