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Preparing for Your Headshot Session

Preparation + The Process

Studio Address

We have moved our Exton/Philly locations to a centralized location in Rittenhouse:
110 S 20th St, Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Click here for important travel/parking/arrival instructions

Before the Shoot

Men, I suggest getting a haircut 1 week prior to the shoot. This allows for your hair to grow in slightly after the cut, creating a well-groomed but natural-looking appearance. If you are growing out facial hair for the shoot, please make sure it is groomed unless you are going for a less clean-cut look. Additionally, you can shave mid-shoot if you would like shots with facial hair and without facial hair. Photo magic!

Women, getting your hair cut more pertains to any split ends/damage at the ends of your hair, or creating some layers in your hair. If you think you will benefit from getting a quick trim or overall cleanup of your hairstyle, go for it. If you have shorter hair, a full cut a week ahead of the shoot may be beneficial for you.

Make sure to apply chapstick liberally throughout the week preceding your session. Chapped lips are enemy #1 of a headshot session.

The Night Before

  • Do not consume alcohol
  • Get a good night's rest; it makes a huge difference in your photos!
  • Drink lots of water to hydrate your skin and avoid chapped lips

What to Bring

  • Chapstick
  • Any hair/makeup/grooming products you love

How to Prep for Hair and Makeup Services
(not currently available at our studios due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

If you are working with a hair and makeup artist (not currently offered at our studio due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but we can refer you to some great artists working out of their own spaces right now), arrive at their studio with your hair washed and dried. Some folks opt for a blowout the morning of their session. Wash your face, apply moisturizer to your skin, and you're good to go!

Regarding products:

Our hair and makeup artists are fully stocked, but it never hurts for you to bring your own products that you can't live without for your artist to use if that is something you would like.


  • Please make sure the clothes are wrinkle-free and clean. *****do not ball up your clothes and put them in a bag, please! Please fold them or lay them out in your car so they look their very best*****.
  • No logos.
  • Simple/plain shirts look the best (no busy patterns - avoid stripes).

Avoid clothing that is transparent in any way - that's really hard to correct in Photoshop and often times is impossible to fix.


  • Avoid black shirts and red as a primary color.
  • Clothes should fit well and hug the body. They should not be baggy. Clothes that fit tighter are better because they show off your form, but they should not look like they are way too small. They should fit you well.
  • Stick to one layer (avoid jackets and other layering unless the layering is subtle. Solid sweatshirts and leather jackets can work)
  • Bringing a variety of shirts is always great. Examples: One solid color tank top, one solid long-sleeved shirt or blouse, one solid polo shirt, etc.
  • Bring at least 3 to 5 shirts so we have options. Having more options is better than having less options! I will be very impressed if you bring 10 or more options.
  • Dresses are totally fine.
  • You can wear jeans or whatever type pants you'd like to wear; they won't show in the images.


  • Avoid red as a primary color.
  • Clothes should fit well. They should not be baggy or overly-tight.
  • Suit jackets, blazers, dresses, and blouses are perfectly acceptable, as are button up shirts. It is really dependent on what kind of image you are trying to project. Take a look at what others from your company are wearing to get a sense of what you should bring to the shoot. If you are an entrepreneur, think about what style of dress most aligns with your brand and how you wish to be perceived.
  • Bringing a variety of shirts/tops is beneficial to give us options during the shoot. I will be able to advise you on what looks best for you.
  • Black is totally fine to wear for business headshots.
  • You can wear jeans or whatever type pants you'd like to wear; they won't show in the images.


  • Makeup should be a light to medium amount (enough to show on camera but nothing over the top) - when in doubt, go with less makeup. I can't remove any makeup in Photoshop but I can always add some.
  • No highlight/contouring - it does not read well in headshots at all. Trust me on this one! Your cheek bones will look great from the lighting, I promise!
  • Wear only a little mascara and very light eyeliner.
  • No colored eyeshadow, intense lipstick, etc. (Subtle, neutral colors only).
  • Please make sure your makeup matches your skin tone and isn't too light, and blends well around your jawline and neck.
  • Avoid any sort of sparkly/shimmering makeup like the plague.
  • Bring your makeup and hair products with you to touch-up if needed.
  • Wear your hair as you would to a big audition. It should look put together but not overdone. Most of all, it should look like you would actually wear it to an audition. Watch out for strays and frizz.
  • Guys, makeup isn't necessary (a little cover-up over acne is totally fine).
  • No jewelry, except for business headshots in which small stud earrings and a subtle necklace are acceptable.
  • If you didn't initially add a hair and makeup artist to your shoot and you would like to do so after booking, please contact me at least 5 days before the shoot to let me know. I promise you that having a hair and makeup artist at your shoot makes an incredible difference and is worth every penny.

Think more "I woke up like this" than "date-night"

The general idea is to look natural for the camera. That's why we stick to neutral colors and don't over-define the eyes. The makeup is supposed to enhance your look without looking overdone or unnatural.

As always, let us know if you have any questions prior to your session.

(267) 888-4693

Philadelphia Headshot, Branding, and Event Photographer
Headshot Booths - Event Headshots - Conferences - Corporate Meetings and Events - Actors - ERAS - Entrepreneurs - Personal Brands - Small Businesses - Corporations - Creatives - Professionals - Authors - Lawyers - Medical Professionals - Dancers - Singers

Studio in Rittenhouse, Philadelphia
(By Appointment Only)

110 S 20th St, Suite 300, Philadelphia, PA 19103

(267) 888-4693 (call or text) | mike@mikestyerphotography.com

© 2024 Mike Styer Photography LLC