For the past few months, I’ve been quietly working behind-the-scenes on my personal branding. After rethinking my social media strategy and designing a new website, I knew it was time to update my headshots. 

But here’s the thing: Filmmakers hate to be on camera.

We work with cameras all the time, so this may seem counterintuitive; but that familiarity can work against us. We know too much about camera angles, lighting, sound, and movement. This knowledge is an asset when we’re filming other people, but it can make me hypercritical when I see myself on camera.

So instead of focusing on the technology—like what camera we’re going to use—or the minutia—like ‘what’s up with my eyebrows?’—I focus on the things I can control. 

Before I booked my headshot appointment, I made sure I knew the following:

  1. My Goal: In my case, my goal was digital headshots that would work in three media: 1) my new website, 2) my social media profiles, and 3) be large enough to include in electronic press kits.
  2. My Branding: My new branding needed to showcase my personality and I wear a lot of hats. In fact, the concept for the photo shoot was showing all the hats I wear: Producer, Director, Coach, and Consent-Forward Artist. To that end, I found 4 hats to represent each of these roles and selected my wardrobe for each. Collectively, the wardrobe matched my new brand colors (a deep purple and bright aqua), which correspond with my core values: curiosity, equity, and serenity.
  3. My Deliverables: Since I primarily needed digital assets, but I wanted the option to include my headshots in press kits, my photographer sent me digital copies of my selected images, in both web and print file sizes. We also agreed to a timeline, so I knew I could receive my new headshots before I launched my new website.

Not only did I save money by knowing my goals, branding, and deliverables, but I also saved time because I came in with a Shot List. Once we got 1-2 options in each outfit, we could move on.

Here are a few more tips to help you Put Your Best Face Forward in Photos and Videos:

  • “Comps”: A good photographer can help guide you, but it’s great to share comparable examples of what you like ahead of time.
  • Wardrobe: Wear solid colors, long sleeves, and a belt or jacket to add shape and dimension. Use color or a print to stand out from the background.
  • Hair: Keep hair soft and out of your eyes.
  • Makeup: Start with a light touch. It’s easier to add more than to wash off too much.
  • Poses: Crossed arms and one or two hands on hips exude power. To communicate friendliness, tilt your body toward the camera and look up to the lens. Relax your mouth in between takes and then smile right before you take the picture.