Frequently Asked Questions:
What is a headshot?
A headshot is a portrait with a job to do. It is there to highlight YOU, and draw the eyes purely to you. It should ideally look like you without excessive retouching or changes, and importantly – you are more important than the style of photograph.
Why do I need a headshot?
To be honest – no one really cares what you look like. They don’t care what I look like either… which is a curious thing to hear from someone like me. What people really care about is the message you put out there. It conveys you should be taken seriously and makes you more approachable than just a name on a paper. A great headshot can help your career or if you are an actor it can entice a director to imagine you better. There is no understating it – a great headshot makes a real difference.
There are lots of headshot photographers – How do I choose?
These days the world and his dog are claiming to shoot headshots so it can be a difficult choice sometimes. Look at the photographer’s whole portfolio and see if you like their style – but also look for consistency. Do the images engage you? Do they make you interested in the people you see? If you want studio style images, does the photographer have their own dedicated studio? Does the photographer come recommended? (For the record, I’m now LinkedIn UK’s sole preferred headshot photographer) When you call the photographer are you inspired with confidence?
Go on then – Your boast of LinkedIn’s sole preferred headshot photographer…?
Yes, sorry – I couldn’t resist. LinkedIn UK have a number of blue-chip corporate clients who they work closely with. I’m their first call when they need to recommend someone or supplying photography for their corporate clients. So recently that’s been with TFL, Adecco, John Lewis, Expedia, Gowling, AnDigital etc… Often I am shooting 50-60 headshots for whole departments.
And you mention different “looks” in your packages..?”
It can be as simple as swapping a jacket through to a whole clothing change. Hair up or down? Casual or formal? With each “look” I tailor the lighting specially for you. There are no “cookie-cutter” solutions with my photography, so you’re sure I’ll make each shot unique for you. I’m happy to advise to get the nest results.
What can I expect from your headshot sessions?
Great shots, and fun… I shoot differently to many headshot photographers in that I shoot slowly and deliberately. We’ll work together to fine tune your best “look” or pose. We’ll discuss options and the styles you like, and whilst you’re changing into something different, I’ll be making alterations to lighting and backdrops, because every set is different. We take lots of shots so you have lots of options and we refine your choice as we go – keeping only the best ones that you love. And at the end, you have between 1 and 15 different amazing images as high resolution JPEGs to use freely.
Some photographers offer me 100’s of final images…
Every photographer is different. I don’t send you away with endless average shots. You leave with a pre-selected set of amazing headshots. And each of these will receive a little extra TLC to ensure contrasts, colour and framing are perfect. (A bit like going through a digital darkroom). You don’t need 100’s of shots. In reality you need one from each look. One great one! But we select 3 from each just in case and we choose as we shoot so we know when we’ve got your best and you are confident we’ve got it. By not overwhelming you with unnecessary images, I can spend longer afterwards on each, to ensure they’re really great. A bit like fine dining – you don’t need a huge plate, you just want a scrumptious meal.
What about Retouching?
Yes I offer retouching and it is amongst the finest around. My retouching is by hand and can take 60-90 minutes per image. Your headshots leave the camera looking amazing to start with, so not everyone wants retouching – that’s why it is optional. But if you do want it, then be sure that it will be beyond any automated offerings with plugin filters. This is the real deal. Good retouching should never be seen. No one should notice, except that you’ll look particularly amazing. The better retouching is, the less you’ll notice it – until you see the before/after of course. 🙂 I’m aware that many photographers offer 5-10, or all images retouched in packages that are very cheap. There is retouching and there is retouching. True hand retouching looks authentic and particularly for actors, hand retouching won’t get you into trouble with a casting director. I can also add textures to the backdrops, which add a lovely “organic” quality to your portraits. My retouching is optional, and I can show you examples of retouching work after your shoot so you can decide if you want it or not. There’s no pressure.
What do I wear?
A headshot is about you, so best not wear anything that will distract. So big patterns and bold colours are not always the best choice. Black almost always works well, so is great to include. I advise that clients bring a variety of clothes and we’ll take a look through them. You’ll know the colour palette that works for you, and some items will be favourites for good reason. Jackets are always a good choice and you can bring casual and / or formal. Remember if you’re having more than one outfit change, you may want to portray different sides to your character. Classic t-shirts, suit jackets and shirts/blouses, ties and open neck jerseys all look great. Have a look through my portfolio to get an idea. Open necklines can make you look friendlier sometimes and both round or v-neck looks great. Suits and ties give a formal look for men, but lose the tie and we’ve a whole new image. Sounds obvious, but clothes that fit work best. If your shirts are tight or they “pull”, then that may show badly on camera, and if things are too baggy or loose then there is only so much we can do with clips. Sit in front of the mirror and decide carefully. How does that favourite jacket actually sit on you? If you’re not sure – bring it anyway. Fine checked patterns can be an issue when resizing for the web, so best avoid those herringbone patterns if you think it may moire in front of the camera. Again if in doubt, bring it anyway. I’ve got a hand steamer and an iron, but pressed clothes are better than wrinkly ones. Hopefully no awkward stains – I know… but you’d be surprised what people turn up with… 🙂 Jewellery can be great, but remember that you are the centre of attention – so keep it simple.
What about hair and makeup?
For the ladies I always recommend a natural look. A light foundation and a good concealer. Easy on the makeup and light on the eyeliner and eyeshadow. A light foundation and a good concealer with a light powder. Careful with some powders because they have a lovely “glow” which looks great for day-to-day, but less so on camera. Avoid anything that has any sparkly element. You can always add it later. I carry quite a full makeup kit of 12 different blot/foundation/powders from Mac, along with matt primers, cleansing solutions and a number of brushes. And whilst I’m not a dedicated makeup artist, I’ve a deft hand at helping with those awkward spots. You’ll just love my new vibrating brush… This is all free of charge on all packages. I can of course bring in a talented makeup artist, but much of the time it can be more cost effective to opt for retouching if we need a little extra help. For the men, I may still want to help out with a little makeup here and there. Don’t worry, it will look quite natural. But if you are shaved, please make sure it is a good shave. Those little stray hairs can be distracting unless I take them out with retouching. A bit of moisturiser goes a long way to keeping skin looking fresh. If you’re wanting looks with and without beard, we can do this too. but bring your own shaving kit, you won’t like mine. For everyone I advise not to get a haircut the day before. Let it settle in for a few days. But please do make sure your hairstyle is how you want to be portrayed. Washed and conditioned looks better than oops I forgot my brush. Oh, and bring your favourite brush… If your hair is long, you may want to have it up and down for different looks. Easiest if we start with it up. If you’re thinking of with and without glasses, remember that frames can leave a mark on the nose. So best arrive without (if you wear contacts), and we can swap later in the shoot.
There are so may options for different “looks.” I can’t decide.
Take a wander through my headshot portfolio and see what you like. Those lovely graduations and colours on the backdrop are easily achieved and I can often match to a particular “feel” for you. When yo’ve found some headshots you like, just let me know so I have a good idea of what you want. Do you want formal and serious, or friendly and inviting? Perhaps a bit of both or you need to look particularly caring or attentive. Actors, do you need something for a specific look or role you aim for, or perhaps different vibes to suggest versatility? Tell me the vibe you want to create and I’ll help with suggestions. We can have you angled gently to the camera or straight on to the lens. I’ve even a useful posing table to help with your pose. And of course I’ll be guiding you every step of the way, and showing you a few useful tips to really make your headshot sing. Who said the camera never lies…?
What do I get at the end of the session?
You’ll work collaboratively with me to discover your three best images from each look. So that is 9 high resolution images. The great thing is that you’ll know what you’re choosing at the time of your session and I can help you with your selection and we can be sure you’ve definitely got exactly what you want and need before you leave the studio. For the purposes of headshots, high resolution images will be at least 3000px at the longest edge – which is easily big enough to print at about A4 size and much more than you will ever need for web use. (Higher resolution by arrangement). Retouching is optional so if you choose this on any images, these will be supplied as such. Otherwise images will be carefully checked and fine tuned before sending to you as an easily downloaded link. Images are supplied as high resolution JPEGs. (To maintain quality, Raw files are not supplied), with an editorial licence suitable for headshot usage.
Any other tips?
Get a good nights rest. Avoid alcohol the evening before. And prepare to have lots of fun. We’re usually laughing all the way through – even with the most reluctant of subjects. I’ve lots of parking on site, so just pull your car right in. Or by tube, Uxbridge is on the Metropolitan or Piccadilly lines and I’m a short walk away. I can even pick you up from the station if that is easier.