DeMato Productions


NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photographer | This is where I share with thought leaders and other high-level entrepreneurs how to present themselves powerfully, purposefully and authentically in their image content on their websites, social platforms and sales vehicles.

5 Ways To Ensure A Successful Headshot Session...None Have To Do With Appearance!!!

You’ve decided to take the plunge.  The five-year-old photo that’s served as your profile picture has finally worn out its welcome.  You know it’s time to invest in a professional photo that captures your authentic personality.  You want an image that delivers a solid first impression to those who view it.

However, once the session with the photographer is booked and the deposit is paid, the anxiety kicks up a notch and worry-inducing questions start pouring out of your head:

What am I going to wear? Do I go professional or business casual?  Heels or no heels?  Jewelry? Glasses or no glasses?  Beard? Goatee? Do I need a makeup artist? Hair? Up or down? Straight or wavy? Haircut? Is this photographer going to be able to make me look good?  Ugh! Do I really need to take this picture?

These and many other questions race uncontrollably through your mind before stepping in front of the camera.  Once the photographer pleads with you to “look natural” in the most unnatural of settings, that’s when it really gets difficult. 

Easier said than done, pal, I’m not a model!

It’s an intimidating process for many, and rightly so; it’s normal to feel completely out of your element, being reduced to an awkwardness that screams “get me outta here, fast!” the moment the lights start flashing.  This is why you’ve been using the same old photo for years in the first place.  Who wants to deal with all that nonsense?

In order to capture an authentic headshot, your facial expression needs to convey confidence with a sense of approachability. The way you achieve that relies less on your appearance, and more on your mood and attitude going into the session.  If you allow your self to clam up and be freaked out, you will looked freaked out. In every photo.  Same expression.  Over and over…

…but, if you give yourself an honest effort, collaborate with the photographer and you will be amazed at the results!


 1. – Be honest about your hang-ups and fears with your photographer. 

If you feel uncomfortable about your smile, hate how your right eye is smaller than your left one, or dislike shooting with your head too tilted away from the camera, let the photographer know your concerns.  When you both sit and review the shots throughout the session, you can see how your hang-ups look on camera and you get to hear a professional commenting openly about how your “concern” isn’t even noticeable.

 When I’m reviewing a session with my clients, I often find myself in the role of therapist; I do a lot of calming and easing of fears, convincing them that, although they’ve hated this one thing about their face since they could stare in a mirror, the average person will never, ever notice that particular “issue.”  

So, don’t worry about it.  Instead of worrying…

2. – …be open to the process.  

Allow the photographer to adjust your body posture and head positioning.  More importantly, leave yourself open to some conversation.  It allows you to feel a connection beyond the act of just taking a picture, and a dose of humanity is thrown into the mix.  It will loosen you up, and a more relaxed person means a series of natural expressions will reveal themselves.  Maybe some jokes will loosen you up, as well.  As long as you give it a shot, only good things will come from it.

 Just as I say to my clients — if the photo is terrible, I’ll delete the picture immediately. Gone forever. But, if the picture is great, you have it for the rest of your life.  So, why not make the effort?

 3. – Let’s all play nice.  

As you’re researching photographers in your area, you come across some great sites and they each offer the same photo packages.  Who will you book? To find the answer, think bac­­­k to how each communicated with you; did someone rush you off the phone? Eliminated.  Did someone ignore your email for a week. Eliminated.  But, was someone very timely with a response, answered all of your questions, and made you feel like you were in good hands? There’s your answer.  If you feel your personalities work together, that’ll help propel you towards a successful headshot session.  You’ll both be on the same page, working towards the same goal.    

 4. – Rest. Rest. Rest.  

If you decided to pull an all-nighter the day before your headshot session, you will be sluggish and unresponsive, and guess what?  You’re pictures will reflect the same thing.  Good luck trying to Photoshop that pout to a smile! 

 If you get a good night’s sleep, your demeanor will be better, your responsiveness will be better, and your expressions in the photos will reflect that. 

 5. – Who are you?  

Before you even start to research photographers, answer this one question about yourself:

If you had to boil your personality down to 3 words, what would they be? 

 After you think that one out for a while, your answers will help dictate the expressions you capture during your session.  It will also help you decide what you wear, how your hair is styled, and accessories.  (Those decisions play a role, too, but that wasn’t the focus of this article.)

What better way to present yourself to your social networks than with an image that presents an authentic aspect of your personality?  That’s what personal branding is all about…

 Are you looking to update your headshot?  Want to update your LinkedIn photo?  Contact me and let’s talk about what you need to have done.  Look forward to it!

John DeMato2 Comments