7 Steps in Reducing Anxiety Before a Headshot Session

The stress of having your photo taken can feel overwhelming. There are many reasons for feeling that stress, and I hope these few tips can help you know that you can be in charge of your session, and go in knowing how to deal with those feelings.

Before the session, maybe even before picking a photographer, make sure you know the intent for your photos. Know what are you planning to accomplish with them. When talking to your photographer make sure they know what you need, because this allows them to use the right setup to fulfill your vision. As your session goes on, your photographer can look for the shots that will fill your different needs. You can read more about Intentional Headshots.

Talk to your photographer about any features you have that make you uncomfortable in photos. Many people have things that they hate to see in a photo. If your photographer knows about them, they can using lighting, posing and directing so you don’t notice them in the photo. There are also editing techniques after the session that can be used to modify features. A good photographer will be able to edit your photo, but not make it look like you ran it through a filter on your phone that makes you look like a doll. If you have a beauty mark that you like, make sure you mention that to your photographer, so they don’t accidentally ‘remove’ it in processing. In the same way, if you have a scar that you would like to cover up, or minimize, also mention that to the photographer, so they can give you the photos you want.

If you have concerns about being in a photo studio with someone you don’t know, bring along a friend. They may not be in the photo session with you, but it’s good to have someone along, and you should reconsider your choice of photographers if they insist you come alone. Everyone going to a photo session should be certain that they are safe.

Walking into a photo session having the right clothing can reduce a lot of stress. If you’re not sure what you should wear, check with your photographer for recommendations. You want to look appropriate for how your headshot will be used – your intent. You also want to be comfortable in what you’re wearing. If you are looking for a new job, make sure you bring clothes that look like what that person would be wearing. Make sure you bring lots of options with you, if you don’t bring it, you can’t be photographed in it!

I like to have some music playing while taking photos in a studio, and often ask my clients if there is a style they prefer. The music helps take your mind out of the studio, and promotes more genuine expressions if you’re feeling happy. If the studio is quiet, ask to put on your own playlist from your phone.

A little physical stuff here:

  • When booking your session, don’t schedule dental work, hair removal, collagen injections, or anything that might cause swelling or redness in your face in the week before.
  • Drink plenty of water the day before – hydrated skin looks healthier.
  • Limit alcohol use the day before, you want to feel good in front of those lights.
  • Get a good nights sleep before the session – you don’t want dark skin under your eyes from exhaustion.

Finally, know that it is the photographer’s responsibility to make sure you look good in the photo. They should be able to direct you in ways that make you look great.