Frequently Asked Questions About Our Headshot Sessions
Your headshot should look like you on your very best of days, one of those days when you look in the mirror and just say “yeahhh.” Achieving that looks requires preparation on your part (great makeup, hair & clothes) and on mine (understanding and capturing the most striking angles, providing expert lighting that emphasizes your eyes and makes your skin look beautiful, etc.).
But a headshot needs to be more than that. It should express something unique about you; it should show off your personality; it should be engaging and interesting. That’s why my sessions, whether in my studio or on location, are relaxed, casual and fun. Anyone can press a shutter button, but I give you the opportunity to let the ‘real’ you shine through.
Hopefully, we’ll meet beforehand so we can get to know each other. Before I begin shooting, we’ll talk about the various types of shots you want (commercial, TV/film, stage, etc.) and the “type” you want to convey. Then we’ll pick your clothes and get your hair and makeup ready.
After that, I shoot you, which is more fun than it sounds. Since I shoot digitally, there is no practical limit to the number of shots I can take. Sometimes I’ll give you direction, and sometimes I’ll just let you play around with whatever poses you want. We’ll try different angles and different lighting. Sometimes I shoot frames in rapid fire succession. Sometimes, I shoot slowly and deliberately. Maybe I’ll ask you to sing a song or perform a monologue (even if I don’t get any great shots that way, it always entertains me). In the end, the goal is to capture the perfect moment when your eyes, mouth, body language and inner self converge into an expressive, compelling picture.
And all along the way, we’ll look at the images on my camera LCD screen and/or computer monitor so that we can make any necessary adjustments on the fly. That way, before you leave, we’ll both know we’re thrilled with the shots.
In no particular order:
a. Give some thought to what image you want your picture(s) to convey. Know your “product” or “type” (i.e., are you a leading lady, the comic sidekick, the best friend, the mom, the bad guy, etc.?), and be prepared to be that type during the shoot. If you don’t know your type(s), talk to your agent, manager, acting teacher, colleagues, etc.
b. Practice posing in front of a mirror. You might feel silly, but it helps. Trust me.
c. You know the routine to make your skin and eyes look their best, so do it.
• for 72 hours before the shoot drink lots of water; avoid caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes and salty foods; stay out of the sun;
• get lots of sleep the night before.
d. If you’re planning on using a makeup artist, come to the shoot with your face clean and product-free (except for moisturizer).
e. Take care of your beauty treatments (haircut & color, eyebrow shaping, tanning, etc.) well in advance of the shoot (preferably about a week ahead) so the treatments are still fresh but look natural.
- Clothes (see below).
- Music. Bring something that relaxes you, revs you up, or just makes you happy. If you bring your iPod, I’ll plug it in. And if you don’t have an iPod, I have a pretty huge music collection available, so chances are we’ll find something to relax you, rev you up, AND make you happy.
- Hairbrush and any styling products you need.
- Men: bring shaving gear if you want to take shots with and without facial hair.
- A friend, but only if you’ll be relaxed and feel comfortable posing in front of him or her. If not, please leave your friend at home.
General Rules & Advice
- Bring a variety of tops to choose from. I recommend packing a bag with at least 5 tops to choose from. Think about what you wear to auditions. Chances are those are good choices.
- Bring clothes you like and feel comfortable in.
- Wear jeans or dark pants. Chances are nothing below the waist will show in the headshot (it is a HEAD shot, after all). But I usually take some 3/4 shots, so some pictures might show your legs.
- Feel free to bring a dress, suit, skirt, or something else different from a typical pants & top combo. But please bring the pants & top combos too.
- Bring shirts with a variety of collar and necklines.
- Solid colors are usually best, since patterns and busy prints will distract from your face. Same goes for clothes with big buttons or other features that might take away attention from that beautiful mug of yours.
- Subtly textured clothes and fine weaves often look good.
- No solid white shirts if you’re Caucasian or light-skinned.
- No logos (unless you have a corporate sponsor).
- Choose clothes that complement your skin tone and eye color. Fair skin and blue eyes? Try blues, pinks and grays. Green eyes? Try browns, greens and oranges. Medium or dark skin and brown eyes? You can probably wear most colors, but avoid those that closely match your skin tone (contrast is key). Bright red usually doesn’t work for anybody. It’s just too strong a color.
- Women: bring undergarments that match the variety of your tops’ colors and necklines.
- Keep jewelry to a minimum. If you wear earrings, studs are better than large hoops or dangly earrings.
- If you wear glasses, take out the lenses.
- Make sure your clothes are pressed and clean. I have an iron if things get wrinkled in transit, but I try to keep ironing time to a minimum.
Clothes for Different Types of Looks
- Theatrical Looks (TV/Stage/Film): Dressier/upscale clothes & darker colors.
For women: stretchy tops, sexy sweaters, velvet, satin, scoop necks, spaghetti strap, tank tops and v-necks. Think about keeping your neckline open.
For men: Dress shirts, crew necks, textured sweaters, v-neck, and turtle necks. Create contrast by layering t-shirt, collared shirt, and/or leather jacket.
- Commercial Looks: Casual clothes & lighter/brighter colors. Sporty and fun. Layer light and dark clothes for contrast.
For women: t-shirts, tank tops, sweater sets, denim/leather jackets, textured sweaters.
For men: t-shirts, hoodies/sweatshirts, work shirts, polo shirts, denim/leather jackets, textured sweaters.
- Business Looks: Suits should be modern and fit well. They should not be flashy.
For women: Jacket, blouse, tank top/shell.
For men: Suit with jacket, dress shirt, tie.
Before you leave, we’ll go through the pictures together to make an initial selection of your favorites.
Then, I’ll delete the bad ones and roughly edit the rest (I crop and color/density correct them). The results will be posted to an online gallery, usually within 72 hours. This gives you the chance to share your pictures with your friends, family, agent, manager, colleagues, etc., and get their advice.
Once you’ve selected the final images, we’ll talk about crops and retouching in case there is anything specific you want me to do. Then I’ll retouch the images and email you the results in color and B&W, for your approval. After I’ve received your approval, I’ll send you high resolution versions of the final images, which you can take to your favorite printer to have printed into beautiful 8x10s. I’m happy to advise you as to which printers I think do the best work.
Meeting before the shoot gives you a chance to ask all the questions this FAQ section hasn’t answered, and it gives me a chance to learn what type of shots you’re looking for. I’ll also learn what you look like and what ‘type’ you are, which will help me plan the photo shoot accordingly.
But more importantly, by meeting ahead of time, we’ll get to know each other. Then, during the photo session, you’ll be more relaxed, and we’ll have more fun.
The choice is yours – there are advantages to both.
In my studio, I have complete control over the lighting, and we can use a simple, undistracting backdrop. Plus, it’s private and the weather is always good.
Outside, we have beautiful, natural light, which at the right time of day is the most flattering type of light. Also, many people feel more relaxed outdoors without the formality of studio lights. And, we can choose a setting that fits the look you want – urban/gritty, rural/bucolic, etc.
For information about prices, check out our headshot pricing information.
Makeup: You cannot underestimate the importance of makeup for your headshots. The makeup you wear in your daily life or on stage is not the same as the makeup you’ll wear for a shoot. So, unless you’ve studied makeup for photography, I suggest you get your makeup done professionally. A professional makeup artist knows what makeup looks good on camera and will make you look your very best.
Hair: There is no right or wrong answer for hair. Unlike makeup, there is no magic to doing hair for photos. But a hairstylist can make your hair look its best for the shoot. Remember, you should be able to replicate the hairstyle in your headshots when you go into an audition, so we’re not going to ask the hairstylist to do anything too fancy.
Typically men do not require makeup or hair styling, but it certainly can't hurt. I provide cover-up and powder for men at no extra charge.
Yes. For information about the prices for hair and makeup, check out our headshot pricing details. Please pay the makeup artist directly with cash or check.
Yes. For information about prices, click here.
A composite card (also referred to as a comp or zed card) is a model’s (and sometime actor’s) business card & portfolio.
Typically it is a two-sided 5½ x 8½ card. On the front is a single photograph, often much like a headshot. On the back are 3 or 4 additional pictures in an assortment of poses, styles, outfits, etc. Also on the back are the model’s basic stats – height, weight, sizes, skin/eye color, etc.
I have no idea. If you find out, let me know.
I accept cash, checks or credit cards (via Paypal). Please pay the makeup artist directly with cash or check.
Yes. To reserve a session, I require a 25% deposit.
Life is crazy, and I understand that cancellations are sometimes unavoidable. If you cancel more than a week before the shoot and reschedule, I will apply your deposit to the new shoot. If you cancel less than one week before the shoot and reschedule, I will apply half your deposit to the new shoot. If you don’t reschedule, you forfeit the deposit. However, if inclement weather forces us to cancel an outdoor shoot, I will apply the deposit to a rescheduled shoot.
Alright, I love actors and models (and, quite frankly, a working actor is a better client). So, if you have to cancel at the last minute because you get an audition, I’ll waive the one week rule. Reschedule the shoot, and I’ll apply your entire deposit to the new shoot.
Yes. I'm so confident that you'll love the results of our photo shoot together that I offer this guarantee: if you're not satisfied with the photos from our session and do not want to use any of them for your headshots or comp cards, I will keep the photos and return all but $50 to you.
Good question. Obviously a successful photo shoot requires hard work by both the photographer and the actor/model. So I need you to be invested in the results. The nonrefundable portion of the fee helps me ensure that you take the session seriously -- my photo shoots are not intended to be a free, practice modeling session.