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How To Prep for Your Best Professional Headshot

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How to Prep for Your Best Professional Phoenix Headshots with CMQ Headshots

Booking your professional headshot session is an investment in yourself, your career, and your future. At CMQ Headshots, Phoenix, AZ, I draw on years of experience to help every client look and feel their best during their session. To make the most of your investment and capture the best version of yourself, it can help to prepare. In this article, you can find a selection of the best ways to prepare for your professional headshots with CMQ Headshots your local professional studio.

Why Preparation is So Important for Your  Headshots

A little preparation for your professional headshots can help to make your session a more relaxing experience. When you feel calm and confident, your face shines and brings out the best of your personality. Planning can also avert many last minute problems or panicking around the details.

Create an easier experience during your photo session by taking some time to plan for the following:

  • Scheduling
  • Rest and sleep
  • Shaving
  • Hydration
  • Hair and makeup
  • Clothing choices

Below, we take a look at how planning for each of these can help your session go smoothly and help us to create the best results together.


The day you choose for your headshot session can make a big difference to the results of your pictures. To give yourself the best chance of presenting your best, avoid booking your session on days when you have:

  • A busy schedule: Feeling comfortable during your session is vital for bringing out the best of your personality. If you have multiple appointments or meetings scheduled the same day as your session, you are more likely to arrive stressed, late, or worse, miss your appointment altogether.
  • Very limited time available: At CMQ Headshots, we take as long as we need during every session to get the best pictures for you. Schedule your session with a good window of time around your appointment so that looking at your watch doesn’t become a distraction.
  • Excess sun exposure: Immediate redness or patchy color changes people experience after sun exposure can create uneven skin coloring for your headshots. To achieve a smoother skin tone, limit sun exposure the day before your appointment.


In order to look and feel your best during your session, being well rested makes a huge difference. Where possible, aim to get a good night’s sleep of at least 7-8 hours the night before your appointment.

Shave Prior to Your Shoot, But Not Immediately Before

When to shave and what length to style facial hair is a common concern before a headshot session. The most important factor is always that your headshots look like the best version of you. For some people, that means shaving and for others it can mean waiting for facial hair to grow in fully before your appointment.

To avoid shaving bumps and redness appearing in your pictures, do not shave directly before your appointment. Depending on your personal hair growth rate and shaving reactions, shave either early in the day, or the night before your session.

If you are currently growing facial hair but it is still in the stubbly or patchy stage, consider either shaving for a clean look or scheduling your appointment after your facial hair is at a more even stage of growth.


We all glow a little more when we are well hydrated. Stay hydrated before your headshot session to avoid signs of dehydration in the face like dryness and exaggerated dark circles under the eyes . Keeping up with hydration also boosts your mood, helping you to feel more relaxed and confident during your session.

Choose Your Clothing in Advance

There is a difference between beautiful clothing and clothes that work well for headshots. During headshot photography, we aim to highlight the features of your face. Your clothing should complement your headshot and not provide a distraction. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when selecting clothes for your session.

  • Stay solid: As we highlight your face, eyes, and expressive personality, solid color clothing provides a better backdrop than patterns or floral designs that distract the eye.
  • Choose a style to fit your niche: Our style says a lot about us when giving a first impression. If you intend for your headshots to boost your corporate career, staying formal is recommended. For small business owners highlighting their personal brand, select clothing that presents an image you want to last in customers minds.
  • Avoid logos: Unless you plan to wear your company branded clothing, avoid wearing items with logos, lettering, or other companies branding.
  • Stay wrinkle free: Even if you are not a fan of the iron and lint roller on a daily basis, making sure your clothes are wrinkle free for your headshots helps to create a seamless look.
  • Wear regular glasses where possible: Some modern glasses technologies such as blue light reflectors and transition lenses can affect your headshot results. Wear glasses with regular lenses to your headshot appointment.

Hair and Makeup

Some clients prefer to hire a hair and makeup artist for their headshot session. This can help you to look your best and make the day more of a special occasion. For others, fixing their own hair and makeup feels more natural or keeps their headshots within budget.

Whether you choose to hire professional help or prepare your own hair and makeup, try to follow some simple guidelines for the best pictures.

  • Choose your best hair day: People often ask whether they should wash their hair the day of their photoshoot. The answer is different for everybody. If your hair looks its best after a wash, plan to wash your hair the day of your appointment. Similarly, if your hair tends to look better in the days after a wash, arrive at least a day after washing your hair.
  • Water is an excellent alternative hair product: When clients arrive for professional headshots with CMQ Headshots, I often remind them that we only need you to look your best for a short time. Water can solve many stray hair and styling problems without any need for products for a short time.
  • Stick to natural makeup: When we want to look our best there is a temptation to go overboard with makeup that looks brighter, bolder, and more “made up” than usual. The goal of our session is for you to look like the best version of you. Keeping your makeup natural results in a better headshot and often offers a more authentic image.
  • Avoid sparkle and shimmer: Catching the light in unnatural ways, excessive sparkle, including shimmery eyeshadows should be avoided. We use a lot of light during our session and your skin will look radiant naturally.

Finally, Relax

While it is a good idea to try to prepare for your headshots for the best results, there is no need to worry if some things don’t go to plan. As a professional headshot photographer in Phoenix, I have years of experience producing individual and or corporate headshots, and professional pictures for actors.

I can promise you that not everybody’s preparation goes smoothly – and we still produce wonderful pictures clients are proud of!

If you didn’t get enough vital sleep, your favorite shirt was in the laundry, or your day started with aggravation, don’t panic. At CMQ Headshots, clients quickly learn that the true magic of successful headshots is in communication with the photographer.

How are CMQ Headshots Different for professional headshots in Phoenix?

Superior communication and years of experience putting people at ease are vital pieces of the puzzle when taking headshots that clients love. CMQ Headshots is a studio that sees every client as an individual with a story to tell and a personality that shines through their face. By trusting CMQ Headshots with your Professional headshots you gain a partner committed to your individual success.


When is the best time to schedule headshots?

Selecting a day free from appointments, meetings, or other stressful events allows you to take the time you need to get the best from your headshot session. For the best results, schedule your appointment at a time you are more likely to feel relaxed, confident, and calm.

Is it normal to be nervous before headshots?

Many people feel self conscious or awkward before their headshot appointment. Remember that your photographer is a skilled expert at not only taking pictures, but helping clients to relax and allow their personality to shine. If you are feeling nervous or insecure, simply let your photographer know and they can help you warm up to your session slowly.

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