Headshot 101

Most people have similar questions and I hope I’ve answered everything here, but if there’s something else that you’d like to know, please feel free to zip me an email. Everything is geared to make you look like the best possible you in your final shots!

How long will this take?

Depending on the package you’ve chosen, you’ll be in my studio anywhere from one hour to three hours. You’ll spend most of that time in front of the camera but not all of it.

So I just stand there and smile?

No way! In fact, we don’t even use the ‘s’ word here. There’s nothing worse than a fake smile, expressionless eyes and a weird head tilt so a lot of what we do to capture the real you involves coaching. Together we’ll find your best side and make you look like the confident, approachable person you want the world to see. You’ll be working at this and, frankly, you’ll learn things that you’ll use every time your picture is taken for the rest of your life! We take breaks now and then to review the shots we’ve taken, assess what works and decide how to incorporate the great stuff into the next set of shots. It’s a very interactive experience!

What should I wear?

Great question! Bring a variety of wardrobe pieces with you and we’ll choose the best pieces for your look when you get here. Since I’ll only be shooting you from mid-chest up, you don’t need to worry about what goes on the bottom. I shoot with either a white, grey or black background and I’m a sucker for white on white or black on black.

A few pointers to help:

• Avoid patterns and busy multi-coloured shirts

• Ladies

   o Nothing strapless

   o Make sure your bra straps fit under your clothing – we don’t want to see        them

   o Save the ‘coloured bra under white shirt’ look for another time

   o No necklaces or hair jewelry

   o Keep earrings simple if you wear them at all – little studs are best

   o If your headshot is going to be used in your professional life, choose                  something you’d wear to work

• Men

   o No necklaces or huge earrings

   o If your headshot is going to be used in your professional life, choose                  something you’d wear to work

   o If you are wearing a tie keep it simple, not busy

How about makeup?

Men shouldn’t wear any. Seriously. Women should keep their makeup as light, natural and simple as possible. Bring your makeup bag with you and we can add as we go if necessary but trust me when I tell you that anything beyond light makeup will look awful. My lights are really bright and heavy, caked base or blue eye shadow will make you look clownish. Easy on the lipstick as well – tone it down, bring along some choices and bringing a lipstick brush is a good idea. Self tanners? Don’t do it. They never look natural on men or women.

And hair – what about my hair?

Ladies should arrive with their hair done the way they want it to look. Easy on the hair spray – it’s noticeable - but a little something to keep the little hairs from flying around isn't a bad thing to tuck into your purse. If you have long hair, bring a hair tie so that we can change up the look for a few shots. Avoid hairpins and clips if possible – they never look right in a photograph.

Men should arrive with their hair done also, but a word to the wise: gels are very popular with men these days but in photographs gels create a lot of spots where the lights shine right on your scalp making your hair look really thin. My best advice: avoid the gels. Men with a few days growth of beard are welcome to bring their shaving kit and shave part way through their session – it allows for a different look.

A general word about grooming:

The camera sees everything. Everything means stray whiskers that you missed while shaving, eyebrow hairs that aren’t where you want them to be, nose hairs, unwanted mustache hair, food between your teeth, cracked lips and just about anything else you can imagine. I will do some light editing on your final images such as removing blemishes or lighting dark circles under your eyes but I won’t be spending editing time digitally grooming you. Take a good hard look at yourself in a magnified mirror and correct anything you don’t want in your shots. 

Anything special I should do before my shoot?

Sleep. Hydrate. Those two things are the absolute best things you can do in the 48 hours before your headshot session. Get lots of sleep and hydrate yourself from the inside out and the outside in to avoid dark, blotchy, shallow skin. If you meditate to relax, do that too. You want to feel your best so that you can look your best.

What if I want more retouching after I see the final shots?

I like a natural look – I even like freckles - so if you want to look like a magazine cover model, that look comes from a professional retoucher. That will probably cost around $40 per image – more if you want to enhance your eyelashes, thin your face, smooth your skin, remove stray hairs or widen your eyes. I don’t provide digital high res images to clients but I will, on your direction, provide the digital images to a professional retoucher who will work with you to achieve the look you want.

Anything else?

Well, if you have a few minutes, practice your best turtle. No, really. The first thing that I will teach you is to push your forehead and chin forward for every single shot. Far enough that it's a bit uncomfortable. And then more. Why, you might ask? Good question. I am really obsessed with getting you the jawline you always wanted but didn't know you had. I don't shoot in 3D so nobody is going to know that you're standing there like a turtle.

Is this a photographer's trick to abuse clients?

Nope. I was taught by the best - Peter Hurley - and he even has a video about this manoeuvre. That, and he drills it into all of his students and apprentices. You won't see one single shot in my portfolio that doesn't feature human heads doing an awesome turtle! Here's the video: It's All About the Jaw

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