Photoshoot Prep for Men

male model, male headshots, headshots for men, photographing men
male model, male headshots, headshots for men, photographing men

Guys may be wondering what could they possibly need to do to prepare for a photo shoot. After all, they don't usually wear lots of make-up or need to do much to their hair beyond a quick combing in the morning - and picking out something to wear is easy, right?

Well, you might be surprised. While preparing for a photo shoot is probably somewhat less involved for men than for women, there are some important things to keep in mind:

Before the shoot...

Hair cut & color - be sure to do this at least 2-3 days prior to the shoot to allow a fresh cut to settle. If it's a new style this will give you some time to get used to it - although, any drastic hair style changes are not recommended right before a photo shoot.


Take care of any waxing or tweezing at least 24 hours prior to the shoot to be sure there is no residual redness or puffiness that will appear in your photos.

If you shave your face in the morning, but your shoot is in the afternoon or evening, you will want to shave again right before you are photographed to avoid a 5 o'clock shadow.

Be sure to moisturize well after shaving too. Preferably with an unscented light lotion made for sensitive skin like Cera-V which you can find at any drugstore. Avoid moisturizers with sunscreen as this can interfere with flashes or other lighting used during photography causing the skin to cast a whitish glare.

No spray tans please! Not even for guys - same reasons apply as for women. The color of a spray tan does not tend to look natural in photos no matter how well it's applied, or how good the product you use. Also, don't lay out in the sun right before a shoot. You risk getting sunburned which even the most skilled photographer and retouching techniques have difficulty fixing.

If you want a more natural, lightly tanned look use a high quality matte (no sparkles) bronzing powder applied with an extra large brush, like the one by Bobbi Brown Cosmetics (found at department stores or online). A bronzing powder needs to be applied sparingly with a big fluffy brush on clean, dry skin. So be sure to allow any moisturizer to soak in for at least 15-20 min. before applying bronzer.

To ensure your lips photograph nicely, (so they're smooth, not flaky or chapped), generously apply lip balm at least 2-3 days in a row before the shoot. My favorite is Carmex - it exfoliates dead skin so that your lips will look great in your photos.

Day of the shoot...


While a professional makeup artist can be just as valuable to men as to women when being photographed - I would venture to say most men think they don't need to bother. But you would be surprised how a little bit of light concealer, and mattifying face powder applied with a skilled hand will affect the final outcome of  your images. You won't look at all "made-up" in your final photos as photography tends to wash out makeup (this is why women are encouraged to wear heavier makeup than usual during a photo shoot - and the same thing applies to men).

This is a good time for me to mention that guys should not be afraid or, or feel awkward about, approaching a makeup counter consultant for assistance with applying a little makeup. Just let the person behind the counter know that you are headed to a photoshoot and need to even out your skin tone with a bit of concealer as well as help to reduce shine. Though, ask that they please do not use translucent powder or any products with sunscreen just in case they are not aware of avoiding these things for photography. If they have a little brow gel to comb your brows into place, that would be great as well.

If you have a MAC counter at your local department store I always highly recommend visiting them. They have some of the best makeup artists in any cosmetic department who are usually highly skilled in doing all kinds of makeup applications on any face for many different situations, (especially photography). Also, their products are great!

TIP: You should plan on having any makeup applied right before arriving to your photo shoot, within the hour if possible.

What to wear...

Bring at least 3 different looks. Some ideas include: suit & tie, sports jacket and dress shirt, something casual such as a polo or button-down shirt & khakis or jeans.

Neutral solid colors or muted patterns, layers and clean lines work best and are flattering for most body types when photographing professional portraits and head shots. Avoid anything with big logos (unless you are branding), bright colors, narrow pin striping, or tiny patterns such as checks/dots/ribbing.

Headshots are usually taken from about the waist up, or chest up, so don't worry too much about what kind of pants or shoes you wear.

What about props? Yes! If you have a favorite hat, musical instrument, necklace, leather jacket, etc. that tells your story and shows more of your personality then by all means bring them. You can choose which to use throughout the shoot. They'll be great tools to try different looks without completely changing your wardrobe.

Think outside the box - remember, a professional portrait or headshot's job is to get you noticed.

-->Please keep in mind that these tips are just guidelines - not hard and fast rules, as there are always exceptions to rules. That's why I like to include a personal consultation before the photo shoot to discuss specifics and go over any questions or concerns about how best to handle hair, makeup and wardrobe options at your photo shoot.