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The 5 Secrets to Getting Great Headshots (even when you don’t want them taken!)

Sometimes, there are times when you just HAVE to have your photograph taken.

On a special occasion, when you're dressed to the nines, it can even be quite fun. But when your Manager announces a Photographer is coming in to do Headshots, or a Brand Specialist has told you as a Business Owner that you need quality images to help your potential clients ‘Connect’ with your brand through your website or social media, i’m guessing you may not be quite as relaxed!

Quality images are absolutely key to making your Business or Brand stand out over your rivals. They capture what makes you different, and images of you and your team help show that you’re a 'Can-Do' company. They put a face to your brand, and even to your name, especially useful when that first contact might be followed up with a phone call.

In the case of businesses in the Service industry, or in Education, those images are incredibly powerful to help build trust with your potential customers. These people are considering letting you into their homes, lives, or even to look after their children. So Managers, taking time to make sure your line-up of marketing materials (website, flyers, business cards) contains personable images of your team will help you stand out among the crowd.

Now you know the importance of these images, let me tell you your first secret.

1. No decent Photographer will be happy with an image of you that you are not happy with.

And we wont stop until we’re both happy. Yes we are here to do a job, but People Photographers (like me) know that in order to get images I’m happy with, I need you to feel comfortable and confident, even just for a few seconds. That is our job.

So with that in mind, here are 4 more secrets to think about before hand, to hopefully take away some of the stresses that you might be feeling!

2. Clothing

So if you wear a uniform, this is an easy one! Just make sure that it is up to expected standards, ironed and with a name badge if necessary.

If you don’t wear a uniform, and don’t have a strict dress code, then have a think about how you’d like to look to your potential clients. Perhaps you’re an internet start-up company, and come to work in jeans and a t-shirt, but you want to be the company that deals with Big Corporations. Up your game, and dress like them. Do they wear a suit to work? Then at least a shirt and jacket will help you connect with them; that’s what they’ll expect you to wear. If you’re a woman, think about what your Ideal Client wears. These things will help your Clients identify with you, reassuring them that they’re looking at the right business.

3. Hair / Makeup / Accessories (including glasses)

So this is quite a simple one; just aim to look like the smartest version of YOU at work. If you work for a Nursery School for example, simple make up, neat hair (tied back if that is the norm) will be perfect. These images are for your potential children’s parents. They’re hoping to see that you’re totally normal, just like them, and that you’re trustworthy enough to entrust their child into your care. Remember that YOU have been given your position by your manager because they KNOW you are great at what you do. So take confidence in that!

If your outfit has accessories, give them a quick iron / polish / tidy up on the night before if necessary. If you wear glasses, give them a good clean, and a once over just before your session. If you want to have photographs without your glasses on and you’re aware that your glasses give you little dimples on your nose, take them off long enough beforehand for the dimples to go. And if you’re wondering on whether to wear your glasses or not, think about how your clients would see you on a normal day. We can always take a couple of shots with and without.

4. Something to hold

Us Photographers will have a plan as to how we’re going to ask you to stand or sit for your headshots. We all have little tricks and tips for how to make you look the best version of yourself, and although some of them may sound absolutely bonkers, trust us, they work. Now, if you’re just having head and shoulders shots, your hands will be out of the frame. So to help you relax, bring something small with you, that you can hold in the palm of your hand. Perhaps a pen, a keyring, small toy, or even a stone. Having something there will help reassure you. If we need your hands in shot, we may ask you to put it down or in your pocket. But remember, our goal is for you to feel relaxed in front of the camera, so if it will help, bring it along.

5. An ‘Anchor’ thought

If by the time you’re reading this, the thought of having headshots is still stressing you out, here’s my last secret. Think of your happy place. Where is it? Who is there with you? How would you feel if you were there right now? Prepare those thoughts. They're called Anchor Thoughts, and help bring us back down from high stress situations. If I see that someone is finding the situation a bit overwhelming, I immediately put the camera down and we just talk. About your last holiday, your pet, anything that makes you happy. And when you’re ready, we’ll take a shot. And within a few seconds, we’re probably done.

(if you want to know more about Anchor Thoughts, check out the amazing Mel Robbins and her #5secondrule . So simple, but absolutely brilliant!)

So I hope you now have a better understanding of why these photographs are necessary, and a few secrets to help you prepare and feel more confident on the day.

I’d love to hear what you think... Do you have a tip to help others feel confident while having photos taken? I’d love you to share it with us! Drop me an email at or contact me via my Instagram or Facebook pages.

With love,

Rachel x


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