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  • Tatia L. Gordon-Troy, Esq.

Preparing for your first photo shoot? Ten tips for making it a success

Visit any number of law firm websites and you’ll find professional head shots of the partners, associates, and even the administrative personnel. Just flip through some of the attorney trade magazines and you’ll find numerous advertisements showing partners and associates in a relaxed and friendly pose or even in a collaborative pose. This trend is based on the belief that people don’t do business with firms, they do business with people.

Let’s face it—the search for an attorney can be daunting and intimidating. And not long ago, most websites for law firms were cold and uninviting, existing solely for the purpose of having a “web” presence. But like most professions, times change and competition heats up. American society is saturated with attorneys, so it’s important to do whatever you can to stand out. This is where the classic head shot comes in. Whatever the reason a potential client is drawn to your website, you should ensure that person is met with a smiling face. A professional head shot acts as a greeting to that potential client as if to say, “Hello and welcome to our firm.” Whether you’re with a large firm or practicing solo, professional photos of you on your website allow a potential client to begin building a relationship with you as a person.

During my 15 years in association publishing, I coached both men and women on how to prepare for a professional photo shoot. Typically, after two hours and 100 or more shots later, we’d have about three to 15 excellent images for use in the association’s magazine. Many times, I was the one behind the camera attempting to capture that perfect shot—the one that conveys the subject’s personality and makes him or her appear relaxed and approachable. Whether the photos are for your website or for a magazine layout, I offer some straightforward advice.


  1. For professional shots, wear business attire. For men, a suit and tie always work better than a sport jacket and slacks. For women, don a pantsuit, skirt suit, or business-style dress with sleeves—short, long, or three-quarter–length—and the hem preferably at the knee or below. For a magazine shoot, have at least one change of clothing, preferably two.

  2. Wear solid colors or earth tones, but draw from colors that complement your skin tone. Avoid bold patterns and bold colors (for example, neon yellow might not be the best choice). A subtle pinstripe is fine. Black or navy suits and dresses should be contrasted with a pop of color either in a blouse, scarf, shirt, or tie.

  3. Steer clear of white unless it’s on a blouse or shirt worn beneath a jacket.

  4. Always ensure that your suit jacket fits properly. Avoid sleeves that are too long or buttons pulling across the chest or stomach area.

  5. Avoid clothing that accentuates flaws. Wear flattering attire but nothing too tight.

  6. For men, avoid short-sleeve shirts for shots taken without a jacket.

  7. For women, it’s better to wear a closed-toe shoe or pump with a suit or business dress. Wear a comfortable heel because photo shoots can last up to three hours. Men and women should wear shoes that are in good condition.

  8. Jewelry should be kept simple yet complementary so that it doesn’t overwhelm or draw attention away from you. The focus should be on you and not your accessories.

  9. Avoid heavy makeup. Your look should be natural. Hide flaws and dull the shine but don’t overdo it.

  10. Avoid a new hairdo or other major change the day before a photo shoot. Your comfort and confidence are important to the success of the shoot.

For a well-executed and successful photo shoot, I’ve learned that location is important but proper wardrobe choices play a crucial role. Maintain elegance but choose what suits your personality. It will help you relax and allow the real you to shine through.

For 2017, no selfies allowed! Make sure professional head shots are a part of your law firm’s marketing plan.

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