Secrets of a Winning Pageant Headshot

Posted by ValerieHayes. Date: April 18, 2017. Category: Pageant Competition, Pageant Wardrobe.

Every pageant contestant knows that a great headshot is the fastest way to impress the judges. As a pageant coach, contestants often ask me how they can get the very best possible headshot. So here are my 4 Secrets for a Winning Pageant Headshot.

1. Research the Visual Image of the Pageant.  Every pageant has a preferred visual image that they feel expresses their “brand.” But that doesn’t mean you need to radically change your look. Instead, it means you need to understand the “look” of the pageant and express that look through your headshot.  Invest some time in analyzing the headshot of the current titleholder. Then ask yourself, “How would I categorize this particular look?”  Is it All American Girl, Hollywood Red Carpet, or Upscale Glam?  Take the first step to demonstrating your ability to represent the pageant brand by taking the time to understand the preferred visual image of the pageant.

2. Select Your Best Headshot Wardrobe.  Generally speaking, contestants look best in solid colors for their headshot, with just one piece of statement jewelry (usually earrings.) Busy patterns tend to distract the eye so that the judges notice your outfit, not your beautiful face. If you’re not sure about which colors you should wear, look at some selfies and go with colors that make you stand out in the photo. And remember, you can take multiple outfits with you to your appointment. That way, the photographer, makeup artist, or stylist can help you select the colors that flatter you.  Take time to choose a flattering outfit is an important step to getting a fabulous headshot!

3. Put On Your Competition Face.  When you schedule your photo shoot, ask if a makeup artist is part of the headshot package. If not, ask the photographer to recommend a makeup artist who is familiar with the “look” of your pageant.  If the photographer is unable to recommend a hair/makeup artist, call the pageant office and ask if they can recommend someone.  When a make-up artist isn’t a realistic option, get a makeup lesson so that you can create the perfect look. Then, get your hair done the morning of your photo shoot at your local salon.  Let your hairstylist know that you’re having a photoshoot and take pictures of the “look” you’re trying to achieve.  Looking your best will make you feel confident and relaxed for your headshot session!

4. Pick Your Pose. Getting a great pageant headshot is all about posing!  In order to find poses that really work for you, experiment with selfies at home so that you can see which positions and angles work and which ones don’t.  If you end up with a pose you like, but feel that it’s not quite “it,” take a few more pics based on that pose, adjusting the tilt of your head, expression in your eyes, smile and other aspects of the pose.  Learning how to hit a great pose will help you to get the perfect headshot!

Remember, your pageant headshot creates a distinct impression with the judges.  Make sure you take the time to prepare and so that you can make the most of your photoshoot!

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