David J. Toman Photography | Top Tips to Get the Best Headshot

Top Tips to Get the Best Headshot



Even if you work for someone else it's true that you are your own brand. And your profile picture, on LinkedIn, your own site, or Facebook, is likely the first thing potential employers and clients will see when connecting with you and/or your business. So it's vital to make the most of that first impression with high quality personal branding images that reflect your personality, style, attitude, and your business's positioning. 

If you're an actor/actress or someone else working in a creative field, your headshot can be even more important that for other professionals, as it is the first - and sometimes only - chance you have to pull some eyeballs your way from out of an often crowded competitive landscape.

The term “headshot” can sound menacing or intimidating, as can knowing that this image could set the tone for other people’s impressions of you. But it doesn’t have to be a scary experience, and you don’t have to settle for a cookie cutter picture like they used to do if you take a few steps to prepare, and come ready to rock! I've prepared the following tips to ensure that you look and feel your best so together we can put represent your personal brand with an attractive, compelling image that puts your best image front and center.




  • Get plenty of rest the night before your session.
  • Drink plenty of water during in the days preceding our session so your skin is at its best.
  • If getting your hair cut, plan it at least a week before your shoot. Freshly cut hair can be a bit unpredictable, so take some time to tame it and get comfortable with it.
  • Do a little research to understand the kind of image you want, like and/or need for your unique purposes. You can create a Pinterest board or send me some images of people you want to emulate that will help me understand the vision for your shots.
  • Alternately, you can make a list of keywords to keep in mind for the image you would like to convey. Examples could include “trustworthy,” “approachable,” “authoritative,” “engaging.” This will help guide the poses and expressions we use and determine various technical considerations I will need to have in place. BTW, the term “professional” says nothing to me. There are too many kinds of professionals out there. Think in terms of “professional what?”; “Professional, how?”
  • Allow sufficient time to reach the location and relax for a few minutes before your session.
  • Eat a meal at least an hour or two before your shoot so you have plenty of energy.
  • Bring a comb or hairbrush along with any emergency touch up items, such as: hairspray, hair clips/pins, extra makeup/face powder, etc.
  • Brush and floss. I hate to put this in bold, but clean teeth not only make things easier for me so I don’t have to spend time “picking out” bits in Photoshop, but that freshly brushed clean feeling can add an extra measure of confidence to your smile.
  • Bring your favorite tunes. Create a Spotify playlist or Pandora station of your favorite music that we can listen to during your session.
  • For sessions over 30 minutes, bring a snack and bottle of water for an energy boost during your shoot.
  • Come ready to have fun! There’s no need to be nervous. We’re collaborating together, we’ll have some fun, and we’ll make some great photos in the process!


  • Bring clothes that have solid, neutral colors that complement your skin tones. It’s all about the eyes, mouth and expression in a headshot, so be sure to avoid or minimize any distracting fabrics, patterns, or logos.
  • Keep jewelry minimal and classy. You’re modeling you, not accessories.
  • For longer portrait sessions it’s okay to bring a few options to change looks. Sometimes layers can be good, aiding mixing and matching looks and backgrounds as well as providing body to people fortunate to have smaller frames.


As with family or other photo sessions, the more information the photographer has about you, your expectations, your appearance, personality, and your purpose for the shoot, the better prepared s/he can be to deliver knockout photos.

Any preferences you have for looks, poses and backgrounds, as well as any concerns you have, should be communicated as early as possible to the photographer. If you're an actress and want a classic black and white Hollywood style starlet, voilà, you can have it. If your company has a set format or only uses a certain color background, inform your photographer in advance and you'll be all set.







A good photographer craves and leverages valuable input, and setting up a Pinterest board and pinning the images you find inspiring or that have a certain element you want to emulate is a great way to ensure we both know what we want to accomplish when the time comes.

Hope these tips have been helpful. Ready to book your headshot session yet?

Above all, put your confidence on, and come prepared to have some fun and collaborate on getting some great shots.


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