How to Avoid Looking Like David Bowie On Your Professional Headshot

When it comes to getting ready for your professional headshot, you want to channel Katie Couric or Matt Lauer: That is, you want to look sharp and put-together; someone people will take seriously.

Before meeting with your photographer, it always helps to keep in mind the following tips:

1. Go for a timeless look: Flat tops, big hair, shoulder pads, MC hammer pants… what all these things have in common is that they are too trendy and can easily date a picture. While it’s important to have fun with your wardrobe, this is not the time to do so. If you’re a lawyer, financial advisor, CPA, or have a similar career, it’s always wise to go with safe colors, such as navy blue, black, or gray; and you can never go wrong with a crisp, white shirt. If you wear a tie, make sure it’s not too loud or distracting. If you want to add a bit of nerdy flair, a bow tie can do the trick.

If you’re in a more creative field, you get to reflect that in your wardrobe choice. Get more colorful if that makes you happy and better portrays your personality. That being said, make sure that whatever you pick does not distract from your face. You want potential employers/clients to focus on YOU.

2. Go easy on the makeup: While it is understandable (essential, even) to want to look good at all times (especially in front of the camera), there’s a difference between putting forward your best face and wearing war paint. Keep in mind that one of the benefits of hiring a professional photographer is that they will know how to use the appropriate lighting and angles to make you look your best. In addition, your pictures will be retouched so that you look, well, picture perfect.

3. Make sure you’re well groomed: If possible, schedule a hair salon appointment before meeting with your photographer: Men can get a haircut if necessary, and women can get a style they feel confident with. If you’re doing your own hair, bring hair products to tame any fly-aways or for any last-minute touch-ups. Men: If you’re debating whether to keep your five o’clock shadow or shave, bring a razor and shaving cream to your photo session, and you can have pictures taken with and without your beard. You can later select which one you like the most.

Also remember to let your photographer know what your expectations are: Which field you work in and what you are you trying to convey with your pictures. This way, both of you can ensure having a positive experience during your photo shoot.