How to Relax during a Headshot Session

Many people don’t love being in front of the camera. They feel flustered and anxious, and unfortunately, that can come across in your photos. The last thing you’d want to do is invest in professional headshots, spend however long making sure you look fantastic, and then the camera capture your nerves overwhelming you. 

Here are ways you can relax during your headshot session to make sure you get the photos you’d want and paid for!

Invest in your look. 

A brand new outfit and tasteful accessories (think jewelry, tie, belt, etc.) can make anyone feel more confident. Before your session, plan ahead what you’d like to wear. If you’re struggling with ideas, get some advice or feedback from friends whose style you like, or pop into your favorite clothing store and ask a clerk for help. 

You want to feel like you look your best because that can make a considerable difference in how comfortable you feel in front of the camera. Make sure to bring a couple of outfits too in the event that you need an outfit change. 

It’s also a great idea to hire a professional make-up artist and hairstylist as well. These professionals know what will look great in photographs, and you can lean on their experience in order to ensure that you too look great.

Get there early. 

It’s always stressful when we’re running late somewhere, so plan to get there at least 10 minutes early. That way if something does come up, you’ll still have made it on time. 

Getting there early will also give you some time to take some deep breaths, get oriented, take a look around the studio or location, as well as have some small talk with your headshot photographer. 

Also feel free to talk to your photographer about how nervous you are! A professional headshot photographer also has years of experience photographing a whole myriad of people. They might have some funny tricks to help you relax and look more natural on camera. They also can keep an eye out for sweat issues (think: beading down your forehead or sweating through the armpits of your clothes) and pause the shoot, so those things can be corrected (foreheads wiped, clothing changed, etc.).

Bring a friend!

If you’ve got a buddy that can help make you feel more ease, bring them along! They can help take the edge off for you by chatting with you while your headshot photographer is getting set up or during breaks. 

Better yet, if you have a friend that needs professional headshots taken too, schedule yours together! That way you can both be there for one another and make it a more fun experience for both of you. 

Tell yourself this isn’t a photo shoot. 

If you start feeling tense or anxious, just tell yourself you’re not sitting in front of a camera, but a client you’ve known for a long time or your boss. Act like you and the photographer are just getting to know one another and chat casually with them. 

It may seem silly, but pretending you’re not being photographed can take the pressure off of what you’re doing and help you have a little more fun. 

Remember you get to choose which pictures you want. 

You’re paying your professional headshot photographer to take these photographs. You clearly want professional headshots for some reason, and honestly you need them. Everyworking person needs good headshots, no matter their field. 

Because of that, remember that these photographs should be, in a way, collaborative. You’re relying on your photographer’s experience to take the very best shots, but at the end of the day, you get to pick the ones you like. 

During the shoot, ask to see some to see how they’re turning out. Have some poses or angles in mind that you’d like to be photographed in. You’re the customer, so don’t let your nerves ruin what you are paying for. 

Be present. 

When we start overthinking things, we’re not staying in the moment. This photoshoot should be fun, so try to focus on making it so for yourself. Get grounded in your body. Listen intently to suggestions and directions your headshot photographer gives you, and whenever you get stuck up in your head again, take a deep breath and bring yourself back to the current moment. 

Your professional headshots will turn out great, and as long as you feel that, you’ll believe it too!

Daniel Turbert is a philanthropist, president of a non-profit, and published photographer who runs a commercial photography studio near Chapel Hill, NC for headshots and fine art portraits.