How A Headshot Session Works

Relax, we've got this.


We have a simple process we follow that ensures you have a relaxing and productive headshot session, that we capture amazing images to show the world who you are.

What should I expect?

Come in, take your coat and shoes off. This is a relaxing, sock-friendly studio.

There is no time limit. No pressure. We want to capture the best image of you that you've ever had taken. Sometimes that takes just five minutes, sometimes sixty. But we won't stop until you are absolutely pleased with the results.

Our goal is to create an image that shows you as confident and authoritative, yet approachable.

First we'll take a few minutes to get acquainted. I need to get an idea of the kind of images you want to create, what business you work in, what you are seeking to communicate, etc. We'll also talk a bit about posture and expression, about micro-expressions and wardrobe choices.

It's not uncommon in our session that I will shoot 100 photos or more. Again, it depends on the number of wardrobe changes and backgrounds. And I will have the camera tethered to a computer and large screen TV, so we can review the results together in real-time, make adjustments, and go back and shoot some more.

After we are both satisfied we have enough to work with, we'll go back and review your images together, keeping only those images that we both like – usually 10-20 shots – and torching the rest. From there, you will pick your absolute favorites – those you want to be professionally edited and retouched.

That's all there is to it. Really.

What do I get?

Each chosen image is professionally retouched and delivered electronically in a few days. I provide two versions of each image: an optimized web version, and a high-resolution print version. I am also happy to supply each image as a properly-converted black and white portrait, if that is something you can use.

There are no watermarks, no photographer's name plastered over the photo, no hidden fees, no upsells.

Can I bring a friend or spouse?

Yes, but after introductions, we will send them out to the coffee shop or bookstore until we are done (be sure they know that this may take 40-90 minutes).

Our process requires a distraction-free, unconstrained, judgment-free zone.

While family members and friends love you and may be well-intentioned, they are sure to be a distraction, and they are going to skew your judgment in undesirable ways.

Design by committee does not work. No one knows you better than yourself, and with a professional photographer sitting next to you, you are the person best qualified to judge your personal image.

My experience has shown that this environment helps people make far better image choices, and of course, taking and choosing the best possible images is our ultimate goal.

What do you mean by "retouched"?

We will soften the effects of the lighting. We will correct things like flyaway hairs, blemishes, forehead or nose shine. We will obliterate muffin crumbs that stuck to your shirt, unsightly shirt wrinkles, ketchup on your tie, etc. We will brighten your eyes and teeth, even out skin tones, and clean up any irregularities in the background.

We will not reshape your face. Our general rule is that if it is something that won't be there in two weeks (like a blemish, say), we remove it. We can remove moles or scars, but we generally don't recommend that.

The final images will look polished and professional, but natural.

How should I prepare?

Don't overthink this. Relax. Get a good night's sleep. Drink plenty of water. Expect to have a fun, relaxing, informative experience.

What is the best clothing?

What you like best and feel most comfortable in. What is most timeless. Since we are focusing on head and shoulders and chest, you only need to think about tops, blouses, coats, ties, etc.

Stick to solid colors (patterns can often date a photo) and simple necklines. It's pretty hard to go wrong with black. Classic whites and greys are also a good choice. A mixture of professional and casual, offbeat and fun, textured and not. Baggy (or wrinkled) is  not good. And stay away from bright and loud (unless that is the look you are going for) or anything else that takes attention away from your face. But feel free to bring something fun if you want to create a few images of you that have a more colorful, less traditional look.

For an in-depth corporate shoot, you should bring a couple different jackets, shirts, and more ties than you think you need (if ties are relevant; keep patterns small or nonexistent). For guys, if we are going to button your collar and throw on a tie, make sure your dress shirt fits well (skin bulging out of a collar and airspace between neck and collar are both bad looks) and is well pressed. Stick with well-tailored jackets and solid-colored shirts if we are doing a coat and tie; please leave all shoulder pads at home, they are not welcome here.

Jewelry? Glasses?

We are here to capture your story. If bold, colorful jewelry is part of that story, bring it along. But, in most cases, simple jewelry or no jewelry at all is the best way to keep the viewer's attention on your face. Again: understated and simple is best for an enduring image, particularly in business.

If you wear glasses, and have more than one pair, bring them. This is because we may want to try different looks, but also because some glasses are just impossible reflection magnets, and it is good to have alternatives.

What about makeup and hair?

You should arrive with your makeup and hair good to go – how you normally look. Fresh, natural, and classic are always best. Cameras tend to accentuate things, so less is more, and understated and subtle are the watchwords. So go with the minimal amount of makeup you are comfortable with. Of course, if you want to go for a more dramatic, edgy look, by all means, let's do it. But you might want to bring whatever tools and supplies you need to remove or remake things mid-shoot, in case you change your mind.

If you don't normally wear makeup, you may want to use a bit of moisturizer ahead of time, as a high-res camera will pick up on dry skin. Same goes with lips – dry lips are not a good look; bring some lip balm if you think you are going to need it.

If you are going to get a haircut or some coloring done, be sure to do it two or three days before our shoot.

For guys, please give thought to your stubble. If you want to look clean-shaven, shave a few hours before our session. If you want the stubbly look, that's fine. But note that we cannot remove a 5 o'clock shadow with Photoshop. If you have a beard or mustache, trim it neatly and clean up the edges like you would before an important first date.


So, who needs a headshot?

Anyone who:

offers professional services

feels their image is important to their company and/or career

has a headshot that is more than two years old

has a LinkedIn or other social media profile

is looking for a new position

can’t remember the last time they had a headshot

recently changed their look

is using a selfie as a headshot

has never had a professional headshot

So, in short, anyone who has a head.