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.
If you want a workplace shot–say, an environmental portrait–let’s discuss what kind of lighting is available so that I can supplement it with whatever is necessary to make you look great. Conference room lights are not always the most flattering, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve to work around that.
Outside, we have beautiful, natural light, which at the right time of day is the most flattering type of light. 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.
In general, most men don’t wear makeup and most women do. If you DO wear makeup at the workplace or on stage, it’s probably not the same as the makeup that will make you look your best for a shoot under studio lights. So, unless you’ve studied makeup for photography, I recommend getting your makeup done professionally. A professional makeup artist knows which makeup looks good on camera and will make you look your very best.
For information about prices, check out my packages and rates.
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.
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, marketing department, creative director, agent, 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 for your approval. After you get back to me, I’ll send you high resolution versions of the final images. If you’re having any of the images printed, I’m happy to recommend the printers whose work I trust.
General Rules & Advice
- Bring a variety of tops to choose from, with varying colors and collars. I recommend packing a bag with at least 3-5 tops to choose from. Think about what you wear when you want to nail your presentation, make the sale, or wow the casting director at your audition. Chances are those are good choices.
- Bring clothes you like and feel comfortable in.
- Feel free to bring a dress, suit, skirt, or something else different, but please bring the basics as well.
- 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 divert 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, at which point load ’em on!).
- 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 generally is key).
- Women: bring undergarments that match the variety of your tops’ colors and necklines. No dangling bra straps, please.
- Don’t let your jewelry make a bigger statement than you do.
- If you wear glasses, it would be great if you can remove the lenses. If not, we’ll work around it.
- Make sure your clothes are pressed and clean. I have a steamer if things get a little wrinkled in transit.
Clothes for Different Types of Looks
- Theatrical (TV/Stage/Film): Upscale, fitted but not too tight, & darker colors.
For women: Good options are fitted tops, smooth fabrics, scoop, turtle or v-necks, spaghetti straps and tasteful tanks.
For men: Dress shirts, crew necks, textured sweaters, v-neck and turtle necks. Create contrast by layering t-shirt, collared shirt, and/or jacket.
- Commercial Looks: Casual clothes & lighter/brighter colors. Sporty and fun. Layer light and dark clothes for contrast.
- Business Looks: Clothes, whether suits, dresses or business casual, should be modern and fit well. Think twice about anything too flashy that might distract attention from you.
- Music! Something that relaxes you, revs you up, or makes you happy. And if you forget, 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.
Read my Guide to Great Headshots. It’s a quick read with practical advice, like:
a. Give some thought to what image you want your headshot to convey. If you’re in the business world, what are you trying to project? Intelligence? Reliability? Leadership? Warmth? If you’re an actor, know your “type” 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 and stay out of the sun;
• get lots of sleep the night before.
d. If you plan on using a makeup artist, come to the shoot with your face clean and product-free (except for moisturizer).
e. Take care of any beauty treatments (haircut & color, eyebrow shaping, tanning, etc.) well in advance of the shoot (preferably a week ahead) so the treatments are still fresh but look natural.
Your headshot should look like you on your very best of days, one of those days when you look in the mirror and say “yeahhh.” Achieving that look requires preparation on your part (great makeup, hair & clothes) and on mine as the headshot photographer (understanding and capturing the most striking angles, providing expert lighting to emphasize your eyes and make your skin look beautiful, etc.).
But a great headshot should 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 or chat beforehand so I’m clear about your goals and your preferences. Before I begin shooting, we’ll talk about the various types of shots you want. If it’s a corporate headshot, what kind of impression do you want to make? Warm and friendly? Confident and powerful? Curious and engaged? If you’re an actor, what “type” are you? Nerdy hero, sensitive outcast, quirky ingenue, wacky best friend?
After that, I shoot you (much 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 tell me about your work or your last vacation, or sing a song or perform a monologue (hey, I get my entertainment where I can!). The end 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 you nailed your headshot.