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  • Writer's pictureRavi Putcha

Preparing for your Professional Photoshoot (Corporate Headshots & Personal Branding Portraits)

Self-image is just an opinion, how you think you look – it is not a fact.

Others have different opinions about how you look, it usually is about the person you are, your overall personality, not how you literally look – your nose, your chin, eyes etc. They don’t care about those details because they are busy worrying about their own self-image.

Knowing this you will be at peace.

Ignoring this you will suffer endless anxiety.

~ Ravi Putcha (that's me! haha!!)


Through years of photographing people, I learned that people who worry endlessly about their chin, nose, forehead, their head being disproportionally big or small compared to their body, (the list is endless) are just being anxious without any reason. Others hardly notice what they are so worried about.

When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time

~ Byron Katie

If we can learn not to worry too much about these minute details, we can be happier. Not worrying is the first step. Accepting ourselves as is the next step.

The secret sauce of great portraits is self-acceptance, it is inside your head. If you are comfortable with who you are and the way you look (whatever may be that adjective you use for yourself secretly) it is easy to get great portraits and headshots that you love. Here are a couple of short videos for you - please watch them if you have time or scroll down.

Why Prepare? What Happens If You Don’t?

Good photos are a result of thoughtful preparation both by you and me, the photographer. My part is assured, what about yours?

Your preparation or lack of it can make or break the photo shoot. The difference is either we finish the shoot with a set of best photos of you or with photos you don't like. No amount of artistic skill I bring to the shoot can help if you are not in your best possible grooming and attire.

If you are well prepared, you will feel confident and comfortable and that shows in your body language.  Otherwise, you'd be feeling insecure and struggling to hide things you don't like, your inner voice nagging, pulling and tugging at's miserable, trust me...I had been there, I can tell you were there too sometime back, at least once.

Do you want to go there again? I don't think you do. 

Now are we clear that preparation is mandatory? Lets move on.

4 Most Common Fails in Photoshoots

(in the descending order of frequency)

  1. Ill-fitting clothes: I can't stress this enough. Some folks borrow a jacket/coat from a colleague or dig up clothes from the college days (a century ago) or worse they pick up something on sale without checking the fit. I don’t have an issue with discount sales but the fit. That's a disaster in making.  Well-fitting Pantaloons brand stuff is better than ill-fitting Gucci. 

  How often have I seen this?

This is the most common issue in photo shoots. Mind you, I do this for a living, photoshoots I mean, not buying clothes on discount sale, haha!

Hey, don’t hesitate to get a new pair. For once skip the sale, get good stuff, you deserve it!


2. Old, worn-out clothes: You love that top or that jacket, you have good memories associated with it, I get it, but you haven't perhaps noticed that the edges are fraying, the stitching is coming off, the color has faded already and that “thrill is gone!” (remember that BB King’s fantastic song?)  

Hey, donate it and fall in love with a new one.

3. Bad makeup: Foundation shade that doesn't match the skin color, poorly applied, going overboard with eye shade (Ladies, lipstick smeared over the eye lids? No, please don’t do that!). This is a commonly seen issue in photoshoots. Please avoid eye shade altogether if you are thinking about it – this is not a bridal shoot, yeah?

Please get a water-based foundation (matte lipstick please! – this is your excuse to get a new shade, go ahead!), thank you!

4. Poorly applied hair dye: Botched attempts at dyeing one's hair with forehead and ears stained or un-dyed roots and the result? Don't get me started on this...less said, the better! Please don't try this at home, get professional help.

Please do this a day before the shoot & on the day of the shoot (I highly recommend these)

A day before the shoot:

a.       Avoid alcohol

b.       Keep hydrated

c.       Sleep well and completely (whatever your quota is 7, 8 hrs)

d.       Get lip balm and aloe vera gel if you don’t have them.

If you are not going to put on lipstick, you need a lip balm.

Aloe vera is necessary if you have long hair that is dry and frizzy. If you are in doubt about aloe vera gel, I will show you its use during the shoot.


On the day of the shoot, BEFORE the shoot:

a.     Avoid heavy lifting, strength training, intense yoga or cardio BEFORE the shoot – that will suck water out of your body, you will be tired, you will look tired too. Keep it light or do it AFTER the shoot

b.    Continue hydrating, eat light

c.    Keep a hand towel (or two), a bottle of water, your comb, lip balm, aloe vera gel handy (especially if the shoot is not at your home)

Why is this important?

These will keep you well and if you are well from inside, you will feel well outside. Lighter dark circles, improved mood for better expressions, more energy to go through the shoot. By preparing thoroughly you leave no stone unturned, making sure everything goes right, as planned.

Grooming & Attire

Here’s the fork in the road.

Gentlemen: continue reading...


If you have time, head over to Suits Expert (click here), if you don't let's move on.

​​Shirts: Shirts with tight collar (if you can't close the collar button, it is too tight) and shorter sleeves don't look good. Please avoid tight shirts - if you can see the bulge of your paunch in the mirror, it is tight, no good! Solid colors do good, pin stripes too. Shirts with double cuffs, are great! ​

Avoid Giza cotton shirts, you can afford them, I get it but they crumple easily and are a nightmare for photo shoots.

Half sleeves shirts are not suitable for corporate headshots

Mandarin collar shirts are not suitable for corporate headshots

Blazers/Coats/Jackets: Please get a well-fitting jacket, please! I can't stress this enough. Don't borrow someone else's jacket, most likely it won't fit you. If you can't close the buttons standing up, it is too tight. Tight jackets look bad, period. If you already have one or many, get it/them dry cleaned and pressed before the shoot. 

No tuxedos please, are you kidding me?

Tuxedos are party wear not suitable for formal portraits

Ties, Tie Pins, Cuff links, Pocket Squares: Decide the shirt, trousers, tie, pocket square combination beforehand. Contrasting tie and pocket squares are good. Tie pins may not show unless you are going to get a shot without your jacket/coat. 


If you only need headshots, you can stop here and go on to grooming part.

Otherwise, continue!

Trousers & Belts: Tight trousers accentuate your paunch. Please get a pair of well-fitting trousers you are comfortable in. Don't forget the belt - of color that matches your shoes. The belt needs to fit well too.

Shoes: Same color as the belt of your choice. In full length portraits and in seating portraits, they show. Get them buffed to mirror finish...kidding! 


Haircut and Dye: if it is more than 3 weeks since your last hair cut, get one done. and the dye as well, if you are into dyeing your hair.

Moustache, Beard and Eyebrows: Trim a day before the shoot. Don't put it off till the day of the shoot, you may not find time for that. If you are into trimming eyebrows, check. Otherwise we are good!

Hair on Ears, on and in the Nose: a reality for some men. Those pesky fellows peek out of nowhere. Ask your mirror if this needs attention as well.

Here's a great 6 minute video by Ashley Weston, celebrity men's wear stylist.  If you are serious about dressing according to your body type here are two useful videos. 


Please click here to check her checklist my friend and colleague Emily prepared. After you are done, come back to check out these videos about everyday, business makeup.

Here's a great video about dressing up:

And here are a couple more about body types and dressing up according to your body type:

If you have an questions, please don't hesitate to call me or message me. I am happy to hear from you.

Thank you and see you!


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