Artist Portrait Pre-shoot Info

You’ve taken the first step to getting a professional headshot – how should you prepare?

This is not a formal portrait or a passport photo. As you are an artist the aim is to look authentic, for the images to show the ‘real you’, so we want to avoid anything that doesn’t quite say who you are, as well as anything that is too distracting. You need to feel relaxed and comfortable so there will be no posing.

It is also useful to know if there is a specific reason for the photographs – have they been requested for publicity by a gallery or magazine publisher for example? Knowing the type of use required helps ensure we get the right type of shots.

Here are some suggestions:

  • wear comfortable clothes, that you would normally wear
  • keep the look relaxed/casual but not scruffy
  • keep clothing plain and simple – avoid stripes, checks or spots
  • wear pastel or muted colours – avoid bright, brash colours
  • ladies, keep necklines flattering, jewellery simple and minimalistic
  • if you normally wear glasses, check they are thoroughly clean
  • do your hair as you would normally
  • apply any make-up as you would normally

Please don’t:

  • have your hair cut just before (especially if you have a tan)
  • have a tattoo or piercing just before
  • fellas, don’t shave off or grow a beard or moustache just before
  • decide on a totally new look that you might later regret

The aim is for this is to be relaxing and fun, so you can forget about being photographed and just enjoy yourself. It should not be an ordeal. If you have any concerns, just let me know so we can address them beforehand.

If we are working in your studio and you want to include that in the picture, think about how you want it to look and where you would prefer to be sited. I might suggest alternatives but we need to start somewhere. If you want to be photographed making art or painting, consider the stage you’d like that artwork to be at beforehand.

If we are working in an exhibition or installation environment in a gallery or other venue, again think about what will be behind or around you as well as any distracting signs or lights. Options are often limited but we’ll select a suitable spot.

Lubaina Himid CBE – Turner Prize winner 2017. Photo: ©Denise Swanson