This securities brokerage executive nailed her headshot in under fifteen minutes. As the headshot photographer, I had the lighting and the space prepared — but she was confident, relaxed, and someone who clearly is comfortable in her own skin. She hit her mark, we did a test shot or two, she turned this way, then that way, and we were done.
This is not, of course, often or even usually the case. In general, unless you’re under five or have a profession that requires you to be in front of a camera, you may be anxious when you show up. Since the camera picks up instantly on tension, which is the opposite of what you want to convey in your headshot, I generally recommend a minimum of thirty minutes for an executive headshot session — and an hour or two for actor headshots or C-suite portraits, since those generally require wardrobe changes and/or multiple settings. That gives you enough time to relax into the situation and to remember that you’re facing not a judgmental camera but a human photographer (me!) who understands jitters and insecurities and still manages to find and capture a hint of that special something-something that you bring into the world every day.