From seemingly simple professional headshot sessions to more complex avant garde photoshoots, making sure your hair stands up to the lights, movement, wind and poses you may have to do is essential.
A great hairstyle can turn a good photoshoot into a great photoshoot—but only as long as that style stays looking great.
Here are a few tips I’ve gathered over the years for how to keep your hair looking great for a gorgeous photoshoot.
Professional Headshot Hair tips
1. Proper Hair Care
The key to a great hairstyle for your photoshoot is clean hair and proper hair care.
Before your session, make sure you take time to wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner. This will ensure that your hair is clean and free of grease, which can ruin your photos. If you have curly or wavy hair, add some curling creme and/or a frizz-reducing product to give yourself a more polished look. Even small flyaways can disrupt your photo.
If you do a hair mask or other treatments for your hair, plan to do them at least 24 full hours before your headshot session. This will ensure your hair has had time to process and you can adjust as needed if your hair doesn’t come out the way you were hoping.
Avoid using too much hair spray with your style on the day of the shoot. If conditions are windy, or you’ll be using a wind machine, it might seem necessary to coat your hair in several layers of hair spray to keep the style in tact. The excessive use of hair spray will make your hair look hard and rough on camera (not to mention the damage that amount of product will do to your actual hair).
I recommend reaching out to a hair stylist for recommendations on products that will keep your hairstyle in place without the harsh effects of a hair spray.
Before you have your photoshoot, I recommend chatting with your photographer about what kind of hairstyle would be best. A number of factors—type of photoshoot, location, wind conditions, style, clothing, etc.—will impact the kind of hairstyle you’re able to achieve for your photoshoot, and discussing these things beforehand will make it much easier for you to style your hair appropriately.
For a professional headshot, having a natural but clean style that frames your face but doesn’t obscure it is important. Your face is the star of the photo, and you want your hair to showcase that, not overpower it.
If you’re doing a natural photoshoot, or a natural hair headshot session, it might seem like the right choice to leave your hair down and loose for the entire shoot. A few strands or wisps of hair across the face can have a very natural and dramatic look, after all.
But you’re also running the risk of having your face partially or completely blocked by your hair in a kind of “hair curtain.” And depending on the kind of photoshoot you’re doing, this might not be appropriate.
You don’t have to pull your hair back in a tight ponytail or bun, either, unless that’s the style that you’re going for.
For more high fashion photoshoots, anything could go. This is why it’s important to talk with your photographer beforehand to get a good sense of what kind of shoot you’re going to be doing and what visions they have for the overall look so you can plan appropriately.
3. Touchup Bag
As much as you may like to, you can’t predict everything that could happen during a professional headshot session, so it’s important to have a touchup bag on hand with all the essentials in case you need to fix your hairstyle or complete a brand new one from scratch.
In your bag, I recommend you carry:
- Hair straightener
- Hair curler
- Hair spray
- Frizz control
- Spray water bottle
With these tools, you’ll be able to handle whatever comes your way—from blustery days to complete changes in photoshoot themes. Whatever happens, you’ll get a great shot every time.
These simple tips will help ensure that your hair is the least of your worries on your session day. Now you’ll get a great photo every time.
Leonard Herndon is a professional photographer based in Phoenix Arizona. From events to professional headshots, he is passionate about capturing a moment in time using the tools around him. Follow him on Instagram