Women’s Headshots: How to enjoy your photoshoot without the fear

4 July 2023

Overcome your fear of the camera:

The fear of getting in front of the camera is real. So if you’re in need of a women’s headshot session, you are in the right place. Let me tell you why. As a teenage girl, I used to run away from the camera. Quite literally, run away. I have had to force myself to first get accustomed to being in front of the camera. Secondly, I knew I had to enjoy the experience.

As woman who came late to photography (after a career in women’s rights) it’s something I have worked hard to help women like us to overcome. And let’s face it, there are a lot of us who fear the camera! So, here is what I have learned and what I recommend to you, in planning your women’s headshot session:

Choose your women’s headshots photographer wisely

That your photographer should be experienced in taking women’s portraits or headshots is a given. I use the terms portraits and headshots almost interchangeably, because in my experience a longer headshot session gets you a beautiful portrait that captures you for who you are – all the while breaking down the fear.

In a nutshell though, there are two key points to be aware of:

  1. Someone who is sensitive to your camera shyness will have the right tools and techniques to help you overcome the butterflies in the pit of your stomach;
  2. And you should be able to get along with them! Pick someone you think sounds right to you – trust your gut instinct and choose someone who will understand you.
photographer shooting bride holding flowers on beach

Session length

As I said above, my sessions are longer than the typical commercial team headshot. Those might work for the most confident of clients – but their main aim is to get the job done quickly. So for a woman with an ounce of camera fear, you will always benefit from a longer session – which is why I like to keep my sessions over the hour mark. Not only does it give you time to get comfortable, but it also helps to capture the real you. Having a greater range of photos to choose from is always a positive!

Plan your wardrobe

  • Ask your photographer how many outfit changes you can have. Then go higher than that when you pick out your clothes choices. It’s always good to try them on on the day, and go through them with your photographer who should have a good eye for clothing choices.
  • Whatever your background, you’ll need to contrast with that. Even if you’re outdoors, you don’t want a dark green dress blending into the greenery behind you. Dress to stand out.
  • Find out if you’ll need shoes or not – for head and shoulders style portraits, it’s unlikely – for full length lifestyle photoshoots, it’s a definite possibility!
  • Look interesting, but not too interesting. Dressing in colour blocks rather than patterns draws attention, but you don’t want all the attention on your clothes.
brand photography love art wear art gold open toe wedding shoes

How to pose for women’s headshots

Knowing a few basic tips for how to pose for your photo is a great way to quell your nerves beforehand. Try and keep these tips in mind – but don’t panic if you don’t remember them all. A little knowledge up front is likely to let you relax a little, but this is your photographer’s job after all!

  • Stand up straight – look for that good posture a yoga or pilates teacher would demonstrate, and then try to remember that the rest of your body should relax a little. Think correcting the posture from the core – then breathing and relaxing into it.
  • Loosening up and letting your elbows and knees bend just a little is far better than stiff limbs.
  • Give your hands somewhere to rest – so if you feel uncomfortable with something, let that be your guide.

That being said, posing well can be an uncomfortable workout for some, so it’s not always a failsafe guide. When you’re in doubt – don’t be afraid to ask your photographer!

woman dressed in black jacket and gloves, resting chin on back of her hand

Let your photographer guide you to be yourself

Whether you prefer to be directed, or go with the flow, let your photographer guide you. I like to direct certain postures and then have my clients move within that. What feels right to you, won’t feel right to the next person, and that’s perfectly alright. However you should be encouraged to either plan some poses / looks beforehand, or to try out what suits your personality on the day.

Someone who feels very grounded and down to earth might like a relaxed or cross legged on the floor position. Whilst others might prefer an upright, powerful posture. Neither is wrong, they’re both suited to different personas.

lifestyle portrait and headshot of wellness coach brand photography shoot

Portrait Photographer London for creative contemporary portraits
Meet Frances, London Lifestyle & Portrait Photographer

meet Spirited photography

Hello! I'm Frances, founder of Spirited Branding and Portrait Photography, London. I'm here to offer you inspiring portraits using my tried and tested tools to challenge camera shyness, alongside curated branding imagery that will up-level your brand. Spirited works mostly with change-makers, ethical businesses and creatives.

I invite you look over my headshot and portrait photography or branding photography services, and would love to help you with your next branding shoot!