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  • Writer's pictureSarah Tulej

How to prepare for your Rotterdam headshots photoshoot: your questions answered

Updated: Mar 4

If you're like 99% of my clients, you might be feeling a little nervous before your Rotterdam headshots photoshoot. And you may be stressing a bit about how to prepare.

This article answers 9 questions about getting your photos taken professionally, including lots of the questions my clients ask me. So that you can arrive feeling prepared and a tiny bit less daunted!

1. What even is a headshot?

Traditionally, a headshot is a head and shoulders photo. Iprefer to show more of you and the surrounding context - so it's often more like a three-quarter length shot. This gives you more options - you can crop the photo to use as a LinkedIn profile photo for example, and use a wider shot for your website.

Headshots sometimes sound a bit corporate or something an actor would get. When I talk about headshots, I mean a portrait clearly showing your face that you can use for all sorts of purposes online, to increase your professional visibility.

2. What’s the purpose of the photos?

Is it for a new offer for your business, a general LinkedIn update, or for online dating (seriously!). That’s going to take you to the next question which is, who is your audience?

Think about how you want to portray yourself, in particular, which aspects of your personality you want to convey.

This could be - “a trustworthy expert with a sense of fun,” or “an outspoken leader that thinks outside the box.” This is going to be really helpful when it comes to choosing what to wear and how to pose for your photos.

3. What should you wear to your Rotterdam headshots photoshoot?

One of the top questions I get is what to wear. Here's what I think - which you are completely free to ignore!

You do you. Your clothes / jewellery / tattoos say a lot about you. So let's photograph them. No smartening up or self-editing required - unless you want to.

Wear what you feel good in. If you're not sure, try on all the options in advance of the big day.

Think about what you'd wear if you were hanging out with the people you intend to see these photos (if you were being your authentic self).

If you're not feeling good about your clothes, before you go online, consider borrowing something from a friend, asking a fashionable friend to help you with styling what you already have, or checking out Vinted for secondhand gear.

Oh, also - befriend your iron.

I'm a big believer in expressing your personality through what you wear, whatever that means to you.

Long gone are the days where people are expected to dress up in a suit (thank God, my skirt suit days were not my finest fashion era). Apart from lawyers. Sorry about that.

Black woman with cropped grey hair and fuschia top in front of a weeping willow tree
Mediator, Yolanda Jansen

4. Some clothing do's and don'ts

I hesitate to give specific fashion tips because THERE ARE NO RULES.

However, there are some tips I offer that you may find useful:

  • Block colours work really well as they make an impact in the photo without being distracting

  • Black tends to look flat in photos so avoid head to toe black so that you don't 'disappear.'

  • I"ll say it again - make sure clothes are well ironed if needed.

  • You can vary your shots by bringing something easy to slip on - e.g. a jacket or scarf (although there is no time for a full costume change - unless instead you go for a Creative Headshots or Personal Branding shoot)

  • Try not to go for something overly summery or wintery - if you plan to use the photos all year round (although it’s not such a big deal in my opinion)

A note on makeup: if you feel good in it, go for it. If not, no problem, don't bother. I do think if you have pale lips, a bit of colour can make you look healthier. But that can also be achieved by biting your lip a few times (Victorian era pro-tip).

5. What about the weather?

Trust me - I will be keeping a close eye on the weather on the day of your shoot.

Cloudy day - no problem. It's good in fact, offering even and flattering light.

Wind - we can handle it - hair is the main thing to keep an eye on.

Rain - a bit is ok, just bring an umbrella for when we are walking between different spots.

If the weather is worse, we might be restricted - but there’s generally shelter to be found that can still provide great setting for photos.

If it’s a total write-off, I’ll do my best to reschedule, otherwise you’ll get a full refund.

6. What happens in the run up to my Rotterdam headshots photoshoot?

Once you book a session with me, I'll send you an email with questions to think about in advance so I know what you're hoping to get out of it. Usually these are the things I ask:

  1. What aspects of your personality or what mood do you want to convey?

  2. Do you want a more neutral, natural or colourful background for your photos? (and I will do my best to accommodate, depending on the location)

  3. Is there anything I should know to make you feel comfortable on the shoot? (any insecurities, or things that I can do to make the experience easier)

It's really important to me that the photos are really aligned with who you are and what you want to convey. Also, LOTS of people have things they feel insecure about (teeth, hair, posture, ability to pose - you name it). I take those into account so that you can relax, knowing we won't let any hang-ups get in the way of you getting some great photos.

White woman with brown hair, glasses and red lipstick in a green jacket in front of a rusted metal wall
Architect, Cecilia Dobos

7. What happens when I arrive?

It’s best to arrive at least 5 minutes early at the meeting point so that we don’t lose any shooting time. I am going to give you a very warm welcome and we will have a short chat to break the ice. Then we'll briefly go over your preferences based on the questions I sent you prior to the shoot (see above).

The shoot will be a walking safari with lots of chatting (even while we take photos). The vibe will be very relaxed. I will constantly be trying to put you at ease, make you laugh and give you lots of direction so at no point will you be left feeling awkward.

My goal is to get natural, relaxed shots where you look calm, confident, and *yourself* (on a good day!).

My clients are always surprised at how enjoyable and relaxed (and painless!) the experience was. A lot of people tell me it gave them quite a confidence boost, and go away feeling excited to see the results.

White man with brown hair and moustache with white shirt and navy jacket in front of colourful mural
Investment director, Gavin Winbanks

8. What if I feel super nervous or can’t pose?

You and the rest of us! One of my main jobs on the day is to tell you how to pose. For example, whether to look at the camera or not, whether to smile or not - as much or as little guidance as you need. I’ll give you loads of encouragement and positive feedback so that the shoot will feel fun and relaxed. At no point will you be left feeling awkward, wondering what to do.

If you like to feel extra-prepared, pay attention in the run up to the shoot to your 'natural' poses - i.e. how you sit or stand when you're relaxed. This will mean your photos look authentic and not 'posed.'

For some of us that might look like leaning on a wall, or standing with a hand on the hip or arms folded. Or 'curled up like a pretzel' as one of my clients described her seated pose...

Likewise, practice a few facial expressions in the mirror if you like - but it's definitely not obligatory!

Latina woman with long dark hair and glasses in an aqua coloured jumper in front of primary colour mosaic wall and railings
Service designer, Alex Villacis

9. What happens after the photoshoot?

After we say goodbye, I go home, make a cup of tea and select the absolute best images of you from the session.

Within a week, I'll send you an online gallery with the unedited images for you to select your favourites from. There is the option to purchase additional images beyond what's included in your package.

Once you've chosen your favourites, I give them a good edit and then send you a link to download your final images. And you're done!

Photos of a black woman with short curly hair in various locations in East London
Example of an online gallery where you'll view and select your images

Want to get some headshots at a lower price?

Every quarter I hold a headshots day in both Rotterdam and Amsterdam at a discounted price.

And there you have it. All the important questions that I get about how to prepare for your Rotterdam headshots photoshoot, and my best advice - from clothing to posing and beyond.

Any questions that I didn't answer?

I'm here to help. Drop me a hello to ask me anything. You can find all the info about my different packages and prices here.

Not ready to get in touch yet? Why not join my mailing list and get my free guide: 13 game-changing ways to use brand photos to grow your business.

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