6 Most Common Mistakes Clients Make Before Getting Their Headshots Taken

by | May 29, 2020

It’s not surprising that the #1 reason people don’t get their headshot taken is because they hate getting in front of a camera.

I mean, yikes … who wants to have 30+, up-close, high-resolution photos taken of their face? Besides the odd international travel model, the answer is “almost nobody.”

While some customers panic before the camera, others take their sessions a bit too nonchalantly. 

That’s why we’ve written this guide, taking you through the six most common mistakes clients make at headshot sessions. 

Follow these tips, and you’ll be doing everything possible to get awesome shots.

Mistake #1: Not Planning Your Day Ahead of Time:

We get it. Planning your day is hard, particularly when your workday schedule can change at any moment. 

However, it’s important to plan your day beforehand. If not, you could:

  • Arrive late, which means you won’t get as many photos as possible.
  • Arrive unprepared, which means we’ll have to burn time on your hair/makeup adjustments.
  • Arrive on-time, but you were sprinting down the sidewalk to get to your shoot, so you show up frustrated and/or sweaty.

On the day of your shoot, make sure you have plenty of time to get to your session. A relaxed and stress-free session will lead to awesome photos.

Mistake #2: Not Rescheduling If You’re Sick

Isn’t that just how life works? 

On the one morning when you’re getting your photos done, a nasty pimple or sudden flu arrives from out of nowhere …

… and usually, with other studios, you’d be out of luck.

But, unlike your elementary school photo day, you can actually reschedule your HeadShots Inc appointment with as little as 24 hours’ notice. 

So if you’re feeling ill, send us an email to smile@headshots-inc.com to request a reschedule.

Please see the HeadShots Inc COVID-19 Guidelines for up-to-date safety measures.

Mistake #3: Dressing in “Any ‘Ol” Outfit

As a rule of thumb, and particularly during studio shots, clothes tend to look:

  • A bit more worn out than you remember 
  • A bit more see through than you remember

So, before your session, make sure that you double-check how your clothing looks in photos. We recommend that you try on what you plan to wear in the week before your shoot, and take a look in the mirror.

That way, if your outfit no longer fits, or if it looks a bit dusty/old, you’ll still have time to choose or get something new.

Avoid older clothing (especially old wool/cotton sweaters) and anything that has aggressive patterns or designs. 

Also, make sure not to match your background. (i.e., don’t wear a white shirt if you’re choosing a white background. 

Here is some more info on What to Wear for Business Headshots.

Mistake #4: Hiring the Wrong Hair or Makeup Artist

Unfortunately, some clients take every precaution possible, but then hire a brand new makeup artist or hairstylist for their session. 

While we recommend “dressing up” for your shoot, there is always a risk when hiring someone you don’t have experience with.

So make sure to use a stylist you’ve used before, or one who comes highly recommended from trusted friends.

On the flip side, make sure not to …

Mistake #5: Not Communicating Exact Requirements to Your Photographer

Always let your photographer know about any specific requirements (backdrop, crop, posing, etc.) you have for your headshot. 

Depending on the requirements, these photos may require a different studio setup than we offer. So, make sure to tell us beforehand!

We will do our best to either 1) accommodate your request or 2) point you in the right direction.

If you have exact requirements from your employer on how your photo should look, make sure to email us at smile@headshots-inc.com

Mistake #6: Not Trying a Smile

We get it. 

Surprise! Not every single person who walks into our studio loves having their photo taken.

And not everyone loves to smile. 🙂

While you don’t have to smile for your headshots, we highly recommend trying a couple photos with a grin.

Even if you don’t end up selecting one of them, research shows that the act of smiling (even when forced) tricks your brain into happiness … which will spill over into your “serious face” photos. (via NBC News)

You don’t want your “serious and cool” face to turn into “bored and  angry.” Striking a serious face after smiling gives you the perfect balance.


That’s a wrap! Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to stunning business headshots. Most of these tips are common sense, but this guide should provide an easy checklist. For more information, also check out How to Prepare for Professional Headshots.

If this all seems a bit overwhelming, or any of it confuses you, feel free to reach out to us at smile@headshots-inc.com — we’re always happy to help!

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