woman headshot at desk

What to wear for Surrey Headshot Sessions

May 7, 2021 | Uncategorized

Thanks so much for booking a Guildford headshot session with Hester Barnes Photography & Film. As a leading Surrey Brand Photographer I promise you are in safe hands. You might be feeling a little excited or nervous about your shoot so this guide will give you all the information you need to get the most out of our time together.

Outdoor headshots – Harbour Hotel area or Soulspace

The areas surrounding the hotel or coworking space have a number of great back drops for your photographs. A variety of grey, dark blue, wood or brick – so having a pop of colour in your outfit really helps you stand out from the background. There is a possibility to try some walking shots so make sure your shoes are ready to be photographed too!

  • Dark tiles
  • Glass
  • Blue / grey walls
  • Dark pillars and walk ways
  • Wooden backdrops
  • Dark bookcases and alcoves

Guildford Lifestyle Studio

This is my secret weapon! Many people prefer to come to my home studio. Just up the road from the Castle in Guildford, with ample parking outside. It’s a hit with those who prefer to be photographed in private, without having to contend with wind or rain.

This shoot is has a simple set up; modern white painted walls and black door frames. Some of the shoot takes place using a stool or chair, other parts at a simple desk set up. For those that prefer a relaxed lifestyle set up we include plants and some simple props. Because a stool is used I recommend wearing trousers rather than a skirt or dress. You will receive a greater variety of seated shots if you prefer to wear trousers.

The background is quite light so dark and brighter colours work well. If you have dark hair you can get away with wearing white or cream, however if you are blonde or grey haired it can be easy to disappear into the background if you wear too much white!

female on stool guildford headshot studio

What to wear?

Oh this is the hardest bit. If you get this right everything else fall into place! Here are my top tips:

The single most important thing is to wear something that you love – an outfit that makes you feel fabulous and also fits your image. Think about your brand, corporate image and what your ideal client would wear. If you never wear animal print today is not the day to try it out! Go with a style that suits you – think about the last time you wore something and a friend said you looked great. Go for that outfit. This will make you feel great in front of the camera.

If you already have some photographs that you use for your social channels make sure that you wear an outfit or colours that pulls these images together. For example if you work a pink dress in some other photos make sure you have a touch of pink in these pictures. It could be a pink belt or a pair of statement earrings. It doesn’t have to be the same dress.

Try your outfit on before hand. Cut off the hanger tags at the shoulders. Take a few selfies and send them to a friend. Ask if your outfit looks good. Chop and change jackets and accessories to make sure you have the right combination for the look you are after.

Go for colours that really suit you. Bold colours next to your face can cause a colour cast. Do the ‘buttercup’ test. Hold the item under your chin and see if you ‘like butter’. Bright yellow, neons, bright pinks and reds can transfer onto your jaw line and under your nose so if these show up pick a more gentle colour to go next to your face. Or make sure you have a v neck to keep the bold colour from creeping upwards!  

Go for an outfit that fits well. If something is a little snug in pictures it will show. A shirt button pulling, a lumpy waist or parting fly can spoil an otherwise flawless photo. Make sure everything is washed and ironed rather than having those brand new folded creases running down the front of your shirt. And I won’t just photograph your top half – make sure your trousers or skirt goes with the top.

Great underwear is your friend. If your top is slightly see through make sure you have another top or vest underneath. If the v neck of your dress is a little too revealing for you make sure you have a top underneath. If you wear a white top make sure your bra or vest is tan or skin coloured. This is the trick to make sure your undies don’t shine through your shirt. Make sure you have tightened up bra straps too.

Change up your outfit halfway through the shoot by adding a jumper, jacket or cardigan. Changing facilities are limited so please keep this in mind. If you arrive with half of your wardrobe it eats into the shoot time. Just arrive in one outfit and bring a jacket, jumper or cardigan to change it up a bit. If you have booked a longer session feel free to bring more outfits.

There are a few things that are pretty tricky to photograph – these are tops with logos on the front, hooded tops, very thin stripes, very small checks, pleather, leather, stretchy wet look leggings, tops with huge cowl necks.

Flattering necklines and waist lines make all the difference. You may think that baggy jumpers, polo necks, turtle necks and scarves hide a multitude of sins however they normally just draw attention to the area you are trying to hide. Polo necks and scarves can also give the impression that your head is floating. If you are self conscious about your figure use layers to shape and mould your body.  Feel free to send me a couple of photos in your chosen outfits and I can help you select ‘the one’.

There will be number of shots where your whole body will be in the photograph. Tucked in tops lengthen the legs, nip in the waist and not forgetting the right shoes to complete your look. 

Here are some ideas for outfits that I think look great……

Ranging from casual to smart there are a number of outfit options which would look great on most body shapes

Hair and makeup

Your hands are likely to be in the pictures so neat nails and moisturised hands help the aesthetic of the shoot. Make up is such an individual thing. Many people don’t wear much make up on a day to day basis however the camera doesn’t see makeup like the human eye. A flawless finish, with defined eyes and gentle lipstick can add that edge to your photos. If you wear the same amount of makeup you would on a night out that is about right.

Gents – if you are clean shaven make sure you allow ample time before the shoot for your skin to settle down. Make sure any wispy bits are tamed and flaky skin moisturised.


The shoot is quick and fast paced. There isn’t much time to introduce many props. Earrings, jewellery and bracelets can help add colour to your images. Bring a jacket to change into half way through for some different images.

How to pose

If you are comfortable in front of my camera you will get more images in your gallery than you will know what to do with. I will do my very best to help you relax. You can help me before hand by taking some selfies on your phone. Try standing in front of a full length mirror and have a really good look at how you are standing and how your weight is distributed. Now imagine you are doing yoga or pilates. Stand up really tall. Turn slightly away from the mirror and jut your chin out a little. Move your hands about too. Pop them in your pockets. On your hips. Hanging by your side. Gently crossed across you.

I am going to help you with this on the day but a little practice before hand can work wonders.

On the day

You will have received an email with a confirmation of your start time and meeting point. Please arrive on time. No need to turn up early as there isn’t a waiting room. There is nothing worse than running late for a shoot and feeling a little flustered. I do have a period of time built in between session should there be a genuine problem or we run over. Please phone me if this is the case.


  • Hair
  • Makeup
  • Nails
  • Clothes
  • Jewellery / cufflinks
  • Remove phones, wallets, keys from pockets
  • Leave fitbits & chunky running watches at home (unless you are a PT or fitness person)
  • Jacket or cardigan to change into half way through
  • Small bag to keep all your stuff in whilst shooting
  • Change for car park
  • Confirm start time and location for shoot
  • Hester’s number in phone

If you have any questions please send me an email. I can’t wait to meet you.

Hester x




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