event headshots - how to get a great convention headshot

Event Headshots – How to Get a Great Headshot at a Convention

Complementary event headshots are becoming more and more commonplace at conferences and events. It can be a convenient way to update a LinkedIn headshot without scheduling a studio session. While they are convenient and affordable, event headshots are not without their limitations. Because these images are usually delivered un-retouched, it’s crucial to understand how you can prepare yourself to get the most out of it. Check out the list below for some do’s and don’ts of event headshots.


Because time is limited compared to a custom studio session, how well you prepare for event headshots will directly affect the quality of the results. If you understand the scope of what’s being offered, set your expectations, and prep accordingly, you should love the results. 

  • Check out the set up beforehand: Preparation is everything. Before you sign up for your convention or event headshot, make sure to check out the set up that the photographer is using. Take a peek at the results others are getting so you can see what the images look like and what background is being used. This way you can figure out what clothes you should wear and how you can best use the headshots afterward.
  • Pay attention to how the photographer works with people: Every photographer is different, but if you take a few moments to observe how they work with people, it helps you get a sense of what they’re looking for when its time to create your convention headshot. 
  • Pick an appropriate time to get your headshot done: If your plane landed an hour ago and you went straight to the convention, it’s probably not a great time have a headshot done. Travel takes a toll , especially when it comes to your appearance, so give yourself time to rest and reset before you have your headshot done. Remember that there is usually a line for event headshots, so don’t try to cram yours in between sessions/events that you need to be at. Being rushed and under pressure can stress you out and affect the results of your session. Always check the signage, app, or event website so you can plan accordingly. 


Even for quick convention headshots, your wardrobe is extremely important to the success of your headshot session. The clothing you wear should speak to your brand as well as your personal style. Here are a few mistakes we see people making. 

  • Not bringing the right options: Think about how you want to present yourself in your headshot. Are you going for formal? Business casual? Consider where you’ll be using your images, that will give you the best idea on what style to wear. If you’re putting this up on a Board of Directors website page, wearing a Hawaiian shirt might not be the vibe you’re going for. But that also means that you don’t have to wear a suit if it’s not your style. Many times, the photographer may be able to take you in for a second session at some point during the event, so its always a great idea to  have options if you’re unsure. Having an extra look is never a bad thing. If you’re attending a conference/event for your company, start by assuming that they may have a headshot booth on-site for attendees, that way you aren’t scrambling to find an outfit in a city you’ve never been to before. 
  • Not bringing clean, pressed clothes: You’ve travelled a long way to attend this event, and no matter how well you pack your clothes, wrinkles/creases happen. Because event headshots aren’t usually retouched, you need to make sure that you look your best at the time of capture rather than relying on retouching later, Take the time to make sure your outfit is clean and pressed prior to stepping into the headshot booth.


Without a doubt, hair is the number one thing that people complain about in their headshots. We always take special care to make sure your hair is as good as it can be on the day, but if you don’t take steps ahead of time to make sure your hair is on point, you may end up being less than thrilled with your photos. Here are a couple of tips for you.

  • Never make an extreme change to your hair right before a headshot session. Radically changing the style or color of your hair can throw a monkey wrench into the photos. You are committing to a new style by getting photos with it before you have even gotten used to how you look. The shock of seeing your new bright red hair in ultra HD can be damaging to how you feel about them.
  • Don’t get a haircut within 72 hours of the convention. That doesn’t mean don’t get a haircut, it just means that most people need a few days for a haircut to settle. We recommend if you are gonna get a haircut, to have it done 3-5 days before. The exception might be for a cropped, military-style cut or if you have a clean shaven head. 
  • Bring your hair tools with you. Every convention city is different, and each location may have wildly different weather depending on the time of year. Humidity or overly dry conditions can wreck your best laid plans so throw your straightener, hair dryer, and products in a bag and bring them along just in case.


No matter how well you take care of yourself, conventions and other work-related events have a way of altering your normal sleeping/eating schedule for a few days. You’ll be seeing people you haven’t seen in a while, networking at hours you don’t normally work, and, let’s be honest, probably eating worse and drinking more than you do on an average day. And although the hotel/resort that your staying at may have a killer pool area that puts you in vacation mode between events, that lovely shade of lobster red is not going to play well on your company’s website. Here are a couple of things you can do to look your best leading up to your session.

  • Avoid alcohol, fried foods, excessive amounts of carbs and sugar in the 4 or 5 days leading up to your event. All of these things can cause you to have blotchy, oily, skin and a puffy complexion. 
  • Drink a lot of water. Nothing is better at making your body run right and flush out toxins than drinking good, old-fashioned H20. It can also help your skin look clearer and healthier. 
  • Get some sleep. Clear your schedule of late-night shenanigans and stress as much as you can in the week leading up to your work event. Don’t add to the exhaustion level that conventions always bring to begin with. Late nights with excessive alcohol and little rest before your headshot session leads to issues with both your skin and eyes. Professional cameras with high megapixels pick up and magnify EVERYTHING these days.


  • Consider the makeup you’re wearing to your headshot session. Stay away from any makeup with an SPF. These ingredients are designed to reflect certain kinds of light and can cause your skin to appear more shiny on camera instead of less. Go easy on the blush. This is the one area that stands out the most in photos and can be very difficult to correct in post-processing. Bring your makeup to the session in case you need to reapply.
  • Use your time in line at the headshot booth for last minute prepping. Because there will usually be a few minutes wait, your time is line is a perfect opportunity for last minute preparations. Use the photographer’s provided mirror (if they have one) or your phone’s camera to check your hair and makeup prior to stepping in for your headshot. This is also the time to remove that oh so chic lanyard and mask you may be wearing during the event. These quick, last minute checks only take a second, and they help you and the photographer have a smoother headshot experience.
  • If you have contact lenses or naturally dry eyes, make sure to bring your eye drops. 
  • If you’re wearing glasses, use a microfiber lens cloth to clean any smudges/debris from the lenses.
  • For longer hair, determine how you want it look. Consider if you want to put your hair behind one ear or both, whether you want to smooth it out, or if you want to put it back/up for your headshot. This will keep you from having to fuss with it during your session.
  • Tell the photographer if you have concerns upfront. These are your images and you’re using them to portray yourself in the best light. Photographers aren’t mind readers, so if there are concerns that you have about how you’ve appeared in previous photos, let the photographer know so that they can get it correct the first time. There’s nothing worse than having to come back and do it all over again because you forgot/were too afraid to mention something about yourself that concerned you the first time. 


We use the latest in photography gear and headshot delivery software to create stunning headshots at events, delivered instantly in individual headshot galleries. Create an incredible experience and send your attendees home with a new professional headshot.


Share this post