Preparation and understanding what to expect are vital to a successful headshot session. Even if you’ve had a dozen sessions before, every photographer works a little differently. Below is the process I’ve refined over the years based on my own experiences and needs as an actor, as well as feedback from my clients.
If you have questions, jot them down and bring them to your free consultation – I want you to feel absolutely confident about every aspect of your headshot adventure!
Step One: The free consult
The very first thing we’ll do is meet in person to make sure it’s a good fit. In order for you to feel comfortable in front of the camera, you need to feel comfortable with me.
To set up the consult, I’ll ask you to fill out a quick form telling me a bit about yourself and what you’re looking for – I guess completing that form could be called Step Zero.
The consult is free, but I will ask you to put down a $25 deposit to hold the time. As long as you show up for the consult (even if you need to reschedule it), your $25 will either be applied toward your session when you book, or refunded in full if you decide not to book. In other words, the only way you’ll lose your $25 is if you book the consult and then bail on me.
We can meet at my studio, a coffee shop, or even at your house if you’re pretty sure you’ll want to move forward – that way if you do book on the spot, we can immediately move into the clothing consultation! Wherever we meet, we’ll get to know each other and chat about what you’re hoping to get out of the session. If it’s a good match, you put down your deposit*. And if we’re not already at your house, we’ll set up a date and time for the clothing consult.
* The full deposit is $100, but we’ll apply the $25 consult holding you already paid, so the amount due at this time will be an additional $75. This will leave $250 due on the day of the session, plus any additional fees for a makeup artist if you choose to use one.
Step Two: Pre-session clothing consultation
The pre-session clothing consultation is something I’ve added to make absolutely sure your shots come out the best they can. Rather than asking you to drag your entire wardrobe to my studio only to find out we don’t have what we need, we’re going to choose your clothes in advance.
I’ll come to your home (or we can connect via video chat or exchange emails with photos) and we’ll go through options together, narrowing it down to 5-6 specific outfits. We want to have more than the 3-4 you’ll need, so on the day of the shoot you still have some flexibility and can wear what feels best in the moment. But this way you can focus on washing and ironing only the stuff you’ll really need.
And more importantly, if our options are feeling a little thin, you can do some shopping and make sure you’ve got everything you need. You’re investing in these shots; it’s worth it to spend a little extra to make them the best they can be.
Once we’ve reviewed your wardrobe, we’ll book the session date, taking into consideration whether you’ll need some extra time to shop.
Step Three: Your session
Now the fun part – your session!
By this point I will have sent you a pre-session tip sheet so you know exactly how to prepare in the days leading up to your session. On the day of the shoot, you’ll come to the studio and set up with the makeup artist if you’re using one. You’re also welcome to arrive early and use my well-lit makeup mirror to get ready here even if you’re doing your own makeup.
And then, we shoot!
Step Four: Editing and Proofs
After your session, I’ll edit and prepare your proofs. This isn’t retouching, just some very basic white balancing and lighting corrections. I’ll also pull out the unusable shots and pare the session down to your absolute best choices.
The session will be uploaded to a password-protected online proofing gallery within one week of your session.
Step Five: Your final choices
Along with access to your online gallery, I’ll send you tips for how to choose the keepers and how to interpret the input you get from others. You can mark your favorites in the gallery and then send out a link to your agent, friends, and family where they can view only the ones you’ve narrowed it down to and select their favorites.
Once you’ve notified me of your final three shots, I’ll get to retouching.
Step Six: Retouching
I’ll lightly retouch your final shots to make them look like the best and most realistic version of you. I’ll edit these retouched shots into a number of files for different uses: with and without a white border and your name added, smaller web-ready versions optimized for sites like Actors Access, and more.
Once everything is ready, you’ll be able to download a zip file containing high res versions of the entire session plus all the final versions of your retouched shots. You’ll also get a guide to what’s what and what to use where, headshot best practices, and tips for printing.
You’ll have one month to download the zip file, and it’s your responsibility to back it up to a DVD, an external drive, or the cloud. After you’ve downloaded the files, I only save a few samples from your session for my records.
Step Seven: Print, use, and get work!
Get those shots printed using the tips I provide, and start sending them out into the world with confidence and pride!