How to Achieve Your Goals for a Professional Photoshoot

Created: Friday, January 29, 2021, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:00 am

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By Emeka Ikechi, Director, Vanity Studios

Are you considering a photoshoot perhaps for a headshot for your company website or images to accompany an article for a business publication?

Professional Photoshoot
Image: Yay Images

Whatever the reason, it’s undoubtedly a considerable investment, both financially and in terms of what you want to achieve from your shoot. So, what should you do to get the absolute best from your photoshoot? Here are the seven things I believe you should consider:

1. What is your goal for the photoshoot?

You are probably paying a lot of money for your photoshoot, so make sure you know what you want the resulting shots to look like. Are you looking for a slick, professional headshot for your business, for example? If so, think about where you will be using it; on your company website, your LinkedIn profile, or printed marketing materials. Then decide what you want these pictures to say about you. If you are a Financial Director, you may want to look serious and responsible but if you are working on creative projects, you’ll probably prefer your look to be more artsy. If you run a sports business or gym, you will be aiming for a picture showing you looking fit and healthy.

If you have a particular look or looks in mind, bring a photo from a magazine to illustrate it so the studio can get it right.

What we don’t recommend is practicing! The point of going to a professional studio is that they have the experience to help you get the look you want and if you are too stiff with a practiced pose, you are unlikely to get the best from the process.

2. Clothing

Now you have in mind the kind of shots you want, pick a selection of clothes that will help you achieve that look. We recommend bringing several changes of clothes and ones you can mix and match to create different looks. Four “looks” is a good number to work towards.

For work/business shots, we still recommend you change tops to give variety and allow for more formal or casual looks depending on where the shot is being used. If you are having a mixture of shots, a crisp white shirt, for example, can go under a suit jacket but could also be worn casually with a pair of jeans and your favorite boots or shoes.

On a very practical level, with head shots particularly, try not to wear anything that is too similar to your skin tone, as you are in danger of blending into your outfit and, conversely, don’t wear anything too patterned as it’s distracting.

Do make sure you are comfortable in what you will be wearing. You are far more likely to enjoy the experience – and therefore get better pictures – if you are comfortable and confident in the clothes you have chosen.

And underwear is important! Bring spares that you can change into if needed. That crisp white shirt won’t look right for a business shot if you arrived in a black bra and didn’t think to bring a spare! Similarly, if you are planning to wear low-slung jeans, bring underwear that won’t be poking out of the top! You get the picture (no pun intended).

3. Bring accessories

Much like the clothes, ensure you have plenty of accessories to match your outfits and help towards the shot you want to achieve. Some understated jewellery for the business shot maybe, but big, bold earrings for your fun shots. And it’s not just for the ladies, chaps, bring your most outrageous retro trainers if you want to or a statement hat that you might not wear very often otherwise. Ladies, if you love your killer heels – or your crazy Doc Martens – don’t leave them at home. You may decide not to use them on the day but do have them with you!

4. Glasses

Glasses are far less of an issue than people tend to assume, so, if you are a wearer of glasses, do bring them along. Glare is seldom an issue – remember these are professional photographers who know how to get the angle and lighting right.

For some people, glasses are very much part of their identity and others may need them but prefer how they look without, so it’s very much a personal choice. What we tend to do is take poses both with and without glasses and when the shoot is over you can choose which pictures you prefer.

5. Hair and makeup

What should you do about hair and makeup? Firstly, make sure you check with the studio whether or not hair and makeup is part of the package. I would highly recommend that you choose a studio that includes this, but a lot of family and corporate photographers don’t, so make sure you check. And if they don’t include hair and makeup, ask them for guidance as to how you should prepare before you arrive.

If you come to a studio where these are part of the package, we advise arriving with clean hair that has no styling products in and no makeup. That way the stylists can start with a blank canvas and create the look you want. We do suggest you have makeup applied for the shoot, as the lighting is pretty strong, so you could look washed out without any. However, you can choose to look very natural or have heavy makeup or anything in between.

Men should also arrive with clean, non-styled hair and, for the shoot, we do suggest at least having some powder applied because of the lighting and to mask blemishes. Some men will want more than others, again depending on who you are and what you want to achieve, but it is completely optional and the makeup artists will work with you to ensure you get the look you really want.

6. Remember the goal when you review the images

The photographer will take a lot – and I mean a lot – of pictures. So, at the end of the shoot, there will be an enormous number of images to choose from. Generally, studios will have a “viewer”; someone specifically assigned to go through the shots with you and help you choose the right ones. Remember what it is was you wanted in the first place and be sure you have those shots ordered – it’s crucial you leave with what you wanted in the first place. You may also find there are other shots that you really love and these are a real bonus from your experience.

7. Enjoy yourself!

I can’t stress this enough, your photoshoot should be fun! We have a lot of clients who are very nervous when they arrive, often they hate having their photo taken. They are the corporate person who would prefer to remain anonymous or the parent who is always behind the camera and never in front of it. The preconception is often that you will feel awkward and that it’s a bit scary or a chore but if you choose the right studio, it will be far from that.

We offer Prosecco on arrival and the whole process is very comfortable. Good studios will have great makeup artists and hair stylists so you can relax while they get to work. The photographers are highly experienced and give a lot of direction; they will advise you on where to stand, how to sit, which angle to put your head at, where to look, etc. There’s lots of chat and direction and we find that even those who are not used to taking instruction enjoy being guided by the professionals.

Lastly, trust is key. You need to trust your makeup artists and the photographer. As I’ve said, turn up knowing what you want and, if you put your trust in the team, you will leave with what you anticipated and, probably, more!

So, with all this in mind, I do hope you book that shoot or look forward to the one in your diary more than you might have been doing until now. If it’s something you hadn’t thought of before, do consider it – did I mention how fun it is?

Emeka Ikechi
Emeka Ikechi is Director of Vanity Studios, a contemporary studio for photoshoots in the centre of Shoreditch in London. Since 2009 Vanity Studios has been providing clients with high quality professional photos and an excellent photoshoot experience. The team of photographers and make-up artists ensure each client receives bespoke photography that meets their requirements.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog post or content are those of the authors or the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company.

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