I figured getting my head shot taken for work would be a no-brainer. I mean, how hard could it be? I was wrong. It took two tries over two separate days. Here's what I learned:
1) Know which side is your "good side". We often prefer pictures of ourselves taken from one side or another. It may be the way our hair falls or how one eyebrow arches. Whatever. If you have a preference, know it going in so (if possible) you can have your picture taken from that angle.
2) Get sleep the night before. I didn't the first time, and "Blech" is all I have to say about that.
3) Be thoughtful about what you wear. I'm sure you all know that solids or simple patterned tops are best. Nothing too distracting. And yes, you should wear something that you're comfortable in.... but not too comfortable. Whatever you wear should rest smoothly on your form; if it's too loose fitting, the rolls and folds of the fabric will not flatter your figure. Be sure to ask the photographer to check your collar is straight, your shirt fabric's not bunched up under your armpit, etc. Clean lines will help, a lot.
4) Look like yourself. I was repeatedly advised to put on make-up so I wouldn't look washed out. But I didn't put on too much. I don't regularly wear that much make-up and if I had put on a lot more, the resulting image just wouldn't have look like me. This isn't high-def TV after all. That said, if you have the time and the funds to have a professional do your make-up for you, absolutely do. But be sure to try it out a few days beforehand so you're not surprised with how you look.
5) Get to know the photographer, even for just a few minutes. I was nervous. I'd never done this before and it showed in the pictures from my first session. It's hard to smile naturally in front of someone you don't know, especially when that someone might be asking you to continue smiling with your head at an angle, with your chin down, now close your eyes and open them again. Just taking a few moments to chat will help you relax and will likely result in a better picture.
6) Ask to review the proofs so you can choose the image you like. A professional photographer will undoubtedly have a good eye, but only you can decide which image you like best, that represents how you'd like to be seen. Try to keep control of that process. A good photographer will try very hard to please you and will, if necessary, come back again if you don't like the end result after editing.
7) Be realistic. No matter how little or much I weigh, I'll never have cheekbones. I'll always have dimples. My eyes have turned from blue to green. It's how I look and that should be my expectation. We should expect the editing process only to work with what we have, not to turn us into someone we're not... not even our selves from five years ago. And so, here's me today...