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One of the first blogs I ever wrote was an employee’s guide to surviving your corporate headshot. It’s a post I still turn to when taking on new clients or for anyone who is about to have their first corporate portrait session.

Four years on and I’m pleased (and relieved) to say that my original tips are still valid. But I’ve learned a lot more in the interim. Therefore I thought it would be a productive exercise to revisit my original guide and add a few more pieces of advice to help you navigate your corporate portrait.

1. Be punctual

I still consider this to be one of the most key tips. Even if you ignore everything else, arriving on time will help give you the best possible start to your session.

2. Dress to impress

The golden rule here is to dress for the shoot as if I am a client you are meeting for the first time. This will mean different things to different people but it will put you on the right path.

3. What about the hair?

If you are due a haircut, aim to have it done about a week prior to the shoot – never leave it until the day before. Ladies should try to avoid a style that covers the eyes too much and, gents, trim the beard the evening before.

4. ...and makeup?

You can’t go wrong with natural, subtle application. But if you typically wear a bolder look then go for it. The key is to make sure it feels right for you.

5. Controlling oily skin

I love working with studio lights but the downside is it has a habit of emphasising oily skin, especially on warm days. I recommend using a light concealer or foundation. Failing that, a splash of water on the face immediately before stepping in front of the camera usually does the trick.

6. Should I wear my glasses?

This is one of the most frequent questions I get. If you generally tend to wear glasses when meeting clients / working then keep them on. If not, leave them behind.

7. And do I have to smile?

Unless you have been instructed one way or the other, do whatever comes naturally. That said be mindful that this is a photo for professional use. Smiling is great but looking as if you’re on the verge of breaking into hysterics might not go down so well. Similarly, being too stern might come across negatively. Consider your audience and who you are communicating to.

8. Talk to me!

This will always be so important. Ask me questions. Tell me which shots you prefer. Do you have a favourite side? I’m here to direct you and offer opinions as much or as little as necessary in order to achieve the portrait you are pleased with.

9. Stand tall, literally

Not a shoot goes by when someone doesn’t tell me how much they hate having their photo taken! One of the easiest ways to help your confidence is your posture. Stand tall – as if you're being pulled to the ceiling – distribute your weight to your back foot, drop your shoulders and roll them back and lean slightly towards the camera.

10. Keep an eye on the minor details

The devil is in the detail. Give your jacket the once-over with a lint roller. Make sure your tie knot is straight and true. Check the buttons on your shirt. Ensure any jewellery is positioned correctly. Do you want to wear that watch? These might be the last things you think of but they will be the first things you spot if they’re out of place.

Do you have any advice or tips of your own? Share the knowledge and comment below!

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