Headshots headshots, headshots:  there are so many issues to think about it can be hard to know where to start.

Thankfully, the APHP Advice blog is on hand to help. After last month's exploration of Choosing Your Photographer, this month we're looking at 'Preparing for Your Session'. If you're investing hundreds of pounds on photos, it makes sense to do more than just prep the night before, and to give you the broadest range of insights, we've asked all of our members to chip in with their top preparation tips.

APHP Top Headshot Prep Tips

Charlie Carter kicks things off with general advice: "Prepare as though you were preparing for a really fantastic general audition, perhaps at the National. Do everything that you would do - if that’s run or swim every day for a week to get yourself into peak condition, then do it. Decide what is important and do everything you can to feel as good about yourself as possible before hand - it all makes looking down that lens easier and also looking at your gallery afterwards easier."

Michael Pollard suggests some careful reflection: "I would say think about who you are as a person, your character, your personality....and consider who you are as an actor. Where do you fit in? Do you have specific casting strengths. Do you want to emphasise these and exploit these strengths through the photographs. Do you perhaps want to go against type and shake things up? Ask people you know, who might be in the business (actors, agents, tutors) how they see you. Take advice but also be confident in your own beliefs."

Robin Savage agrees: "Spend time working out who you are as an actor - what your strengths are, what your playing range and casting is. Get a few friends or tutors to help perhaps. Most importantly, work out what you want your headshots to say about you."

And on that note, Pete Bartlett has some practical advice:  "Practice in the mirror! Run through some expressions and get familiar with how you look. Befriend your face!"

What's permanent; what's temporary....

Emma Bullivant suggest you take things a step further on the path of self-assessment: "Celebrate yourself! All the quirks, the beauty marks, the wonky ear! The more you feel comfortable with everything that makes you, you, the more that will translate into a headshot  it’s a really good idea to look in a mirror and question girls, well boys too, ARE MY EYEBROWS OUT OF CONTROL? Do I have a MOUSTACHE? More importantly DO I WANT ONE? A little SELF LOVE can make all the difference."

Alishia Love offers a handy practical pre-shoot way to help you look your best: "Drink water! Lots of water. Your skin will glow if you’re hydrated, so stay away from the caffeine and alcohol, it will only make you look tired. Avoid any crazy face masks the night before in case you come out in a rash."

And Claire Grogan has some specific styling advice: "Decide how you'd like your hair to look in the shots and practice styling it so you can get it just right on the day. Don't get a brand new haircut just before the shoot as if it doesn't turn out well you could end up with images you're unhappy with just because of your hair."

Communicating your ideas to Your Photographer

Michael Wharley says refining your ideas is key: "Make a simple brief, of the casting thoughts and the clothing/hair you think might work, to share with your photographer on the day; nothing complicated, just a simple set of ideas to keep you on track"

Michael Shelford has a top tip for communicating those ideas: "Sometimes trying to explain to a photographer exactly what kind of shot you want to achieve can be tricky. It might help to collect a few favourite headshots you've seen and think why. It could help you and the photographer to quickly get on the same page".

Adam Hill at Mug Photography agrees: "Put together a mood board of research and inspiration even if it's just grabs from Instagram or Pinterest using #'s like #actorheadshots #headshotphotography #headshots look for a range of expressions, posing, lighting, tops, hair ideas etc... put together stuff that may work for you that you can draw on in the shoot if you're running short of ideas..."

Clothing (we'll cover this in detail in a separate blog):

Chris Mann says quality clothes are important: "Prepare plenty of top options! If you need to buy a load and leave the tags on so you can return them after the shoot, do it! You're investing in headshots, so invest in everything in the shot."

John Clark agrees: "Prep more tops than you could possibly use..."

And once your brief is made and your suitcase packed, there's last minute, practical advice

Nicholas Dawkes says: "Use apps like Citymapper and TFL to actually plan your journey and take all the stress away from the day..."

Nick James advises:  "Check with your agent what they want, it's so easy for them to say the next day, 'Shame you didn't get a big smiley one'."

And last, but definitely not least, Jason Mitchell says: "Have an early night and don't roll in from the pub at 2am before your shoot!"

Hope these tips help and happy shooting! Read last month's blog: Choosing Your Photographer.

Other resources:
- Our APHP video on 'Preparing for Your Session'
- Robin Savage's tips on Preparation:-
- Michael Wharley's Youtube video on 8 Prep Steps for Better Headshots - To see a list of our APHP-qualified photographers and their work, visit the members page at
http://theaphp.co.uk/members, and look out for the 'H' symbol, which means that a photographer is fully qualified.