Headshots: Tips for a Successful Session

As an Atlanta portrait photographer, I take a fair amount of headshots. Most are for entrepreneurs or small business owners, others are for corporate executives. I have done a wide-range of these sessions, with some taken in my studio using a grey, or white backdrop, and others outdoors for a more environmental look.

Regardless of the portrait style you choose, I have a few basic tips to help you look your best. I’ve also partnered with my wonderful hair and makeup artist, Brielle Brenner, who shares some of her go-to beauty tips for a successful portrait.

1. Know The Look You’re Going For

Are you a creative? Do you need formal corporate headshots? It matters!

Knowing what look you need is #1 to a successful headshot session. Clients have different needs. I have had a range of requests, but understanding what you need going into the session is top priority. I had a female professional working in a predominantly male field who needed a more serious-looking headshot – she did not want to smile too much. I have worked with authors that needed a certain look for their headshots for the jacket sleeve of their books. I have also worked with fun creatives in need of something more casual. Oftentimes, I have clients bring two looks: one more, or less, formal than the other.

We’ll work together to understand your look, and get beautiful results.

2. Look Like Yourself on a Good Day

For women, hiring a beauty professional makes a big DIFFERENCE! If that’s not an option, keep hair and makeup natural.
– Beauty tips courtesy of Atlanta makeup artist, Brielle Brenner

If you are hiring a makeup artist like Brielle for your portrait session, you will get a prep email from her with all the information you need to know before your session. The main things to keep in mind are you want to arrive with your skin clean and moisturized and your hair clean and completely dry. This will enable the her to start right away and accomplish any hair and makeup style easily without having to remove residual makeup, etc.

If you are opting out of adding makeup and hair to your session and prefer to do your own, the best things you can do to prep for your portrait session is to focus on skincare and skin hydration a few weeks before by using your skincare regimen more diligently, as well as making sure your brows are recently waxed or threaded. For skincare, consider adding in a hydrating mask like Origins Drink Up Mask or a hydrating serum like Drunk Elephant’s B Hydra Serum.

You want to make sure your foundation is a perfect match, and you want to choose one that has more coverage than a tinted moisturized for your photos. A foundation to try would be Nars Sheer Glow. It is a beautiful foundation for photos, has great coverage but still looks like skin, it’s one Brielle uses on most of her clients.

For hair, keep it simple with a light beach wave using a 1-inch curling iron and a texturizing spray (after curling) like Oribe Apres Beach Spray, or refine your everyday style with a simple accessory and some medium hold hairspray like Redken Fashion Work 12 in order to avoid any flyaways.

Don’t forget your nails! The best thing for photos is to keep them a neutral color and have them recently manicured, and manicured nails can make you love the photo even more.

These seemingly small details will help your pictures look elevated and finished, especially when doing your own hair and makeup.

3. Choosing Your Outfit

Do: Wear what makes you feel confident
Don’t: Wear a style you’ve never worn before
just because you saw it in a magazine!

Generally speaking, wear what you feel confident wearing – what makes you feel your best. I am happy to answer any questions or look at wardrobe you’ve picked out – we’ll talk through any questions.

Dress for your look! Refer to Tip #1 above and stay true to the look you want to convey.

Go with solid colors. Generally speaking, you’ll want to skip the busy prints and writing on shirts and go with solid colors. Keep the focus on YOU with a simple pattern or solid color.

Wear a shirt (or dress) with sleeves to create a continuous line from neck down. Sleeveless tops exaggerate a color break between skin and clothes that can look awkward in head shots.

Textures and layers look great on camera. Think jackets, sweaters, cardigans, and vests over tops. There are many possibilities here, just keep your neckline open and stay true to you.

Select color(s) that will compliment your hair and skin tone. Avoid colors that blend into your skin tone or match your hair resulting in a bland, washed out photo. Create contrast between your natural coloring and your shirt to draw attention to you face for a memorable headshot.

The Front Steps Project Atlanta

The Front Steps Project Atlanta was created to benefit Piedmont Healthcare’s COVID-19 Fund, and to bring some joy to families in Atlanta. The sessions were free, lasting about 5-minutes, and were all shot using a telephoto lens from about 20 feet away from clients. All that was required was a donation to Piedmont Hospital. #TheFrontStepsProjectAtlanta was a way to give portraits in an effort to bring us together in a time when we feel isolated.

THANK YOU SO MUCH to all the families that participated! Together, over 30 families raised over $3,000 far for Piedmont Healthcare’s COVID-19 Fund. AMAZING!

I heard so many of your stories, and unique experiences in this quarantine. Some families experienced job loss, moving homes and career changes, all while trying to home school their children. While the degree to which we have all experienced stress during these times varies greatly, there is no doubt that we will never forget this time together. We will be stronger.

During our brief sessions captured from afar, we had an Instacart delivery, happy hours with cocktails, a flag of surrender, a pogo-stick portrait, countless dogs running at me to show me love, princess costumes, spit-up, giggles and a trapeze demonstration.

Like each of you, my family has had our ups and downs as we navigate our new normal. Our family is doing our best to take care of ourselves, our health and our community. We are distancing physically, while trying to maintain some semblance of connection. It is my hope that these portraits give us pause to smile and reflect on our time at home.

Xoxo, Tamara

Cheers, from my family to yours, with love…

Dramatic Light – Welcoming Baby Lisette | Atlanta Newborn Photographer

Baby Lisette came into this warm and loving home as the third baby, and she couldn’t be more loved. This is the third time I’ve had the absolute pleasure of photographing this sweet family, and each time I fall in love again with the dramatic decor and lighting of their home. They are a beautiful family, both inside and out. My favorite series (ok well I love them all), but I am especially drawn to the series where mom and dad are trying to console Lisette by the window – it just makes my heart melt.

An added bonus, is that her mother and father were in town from Ecuador to help out, and although poor dad had caught the flu and was quarantined in a separate part of the house, we were able to get a few shots in at the end with grandma – three generations holding their third baby (love!). I hope you enjoy these highlights. Xoxo, Tamara

New Year Family Maternity Session | Atlanta Photographer

We started off the New Year with a beautiful maternity session as I revisited this wonderful family this time to document her third pregnancy. Waiting for your baby to arrive is always full of anticipation, discomfort and, of course, full of emotion. The waiting is especially difficult when you have a full house already, with two siblings waiting to greet their new baby sister.

So, let’s start this New Year off by celebrating all of the mothers out there who work so hard to make our lives perfect in the best way they can. I just loved photographing this family again – enjoy!

Xoxo, Tamara

tamara gonzalez photography; atlanta maternity photographer; lifestyle maternity session
tamara gonzalez photography; atlanta maternity photographer; lifestyle maternity session
tamara gonzalez photography; atlanta maternity photographer; lifestyle maternity session
tamara gonzalez photography; atlanta maternity photographer; lifestyle maternity session
tamara gonzalez photography; atlanta maternity photographer; lifestyle maternity session
tamara gonzalez photography; atlanta maternity photographer; lifestyle maternity session
tamara gonzalez photography; atlanta maternity photographer; lifestyle maternity session
tamara gonzalez photography; atlanta maternity photographer; lifestyle maternity session
tamara gonzalez photography; atlanta maternity photographer; lifestyle maternity session

Favorites from 2019

As we are about to welcome in a new year, and a new decade, I wanted to thank each and every one of my clients for being a part of my life, and allowing me to help create memories for you in your lives. I am also deeply indebted to the wonderful community of photographer friends from NAPCP and Click that I have come to know, and who’ve helped me to grow. Below are my favorite images, as well as awards, recognition and features from the past year.

This past year marked my fourth official year in business. In addition to continuing to grow my family business, I started experimenting with underwater photography, and received an honorable mention at the NAPCP Inspired Gallery event for one of my favorites this summer of my daughter.

Among the top features this year, Expertise named Tamara Gonzalez Photography as one of the Best 19 Family Photographers in Atlanta. Other online Instagram mentions were from fantastic publications: The Bloom Forum, Run Wild My Child and Underwater Kids. And dear to my heart, my article on Giving the Gift of Portraiture was published in the National Association of Child Photographer’s June edition of Inspired Magazine.

Thank you for helping me create these memories in your lives!

This year, I was finally able to make time to give portraits to mothers and their daughters at My Sister’s House, an Atlanta homeless shelter. This article in Inspired Magazine details the experience, and how other photographers can do the same in their communities.

Named one of the Best Atlanta Family Photographers of 2019

Atlanta Newborn Photographer; Tamara Gonzalez Photography
Atlanta Beltline Family Session; Tamara Gonzalez Photography

And here is a glimpse at some of my favorite personal portraits from the year: