PRE PRODUCTION PREPARATION - the Better Prepared you are, the easier it will be for YOU to LOOK like and BE YOU!....the art and science of a great headshot, is to portray YOU as a real, fresh, best YOU! And that goes for actor headshots, corporate shots, family pics, and pretty much any other photo product. so Prepare! We will confirm the location and time the day before the shoot, and sometimes we have to make a game-day call. I shoot everything on location, so weather matters. The day of your shoot we'll confirm details and cover any last minute questions and concerns. By the time we meet on location, I'll be fired up and ready to shoot NOW it is time to let the fun begin.
Before we begin shooting, I'll explain a bit about how I shoot, and give you a chance to "warm up". I really think it helps my clients to understand and I'll give you tips on moving, posing and how I'm going to be coaching you through the session. Some people need more directions, some less. It depends on the individual, there is no formula, more an artful mixology of instinct and experience. It's important to get to the essence of what we are aiming to photograph....YOU!
POST PRODUCTION Now your part is done, mine is just beginning. I am expedient but do not rush the post-production process. I will only submit to you the images that reflect the best of you! That's part of my expertise and experience. I have been in the "talent" shoes ( though I enjoy being behind the lens way more:), and I have looked at tens of thousands of images. I have been groomed by many-a-ruthless talent agents..... I have a formed eye and a pretty good sense of what agents and casting directors are looking for. I cull through the images and narrow them down to only the BEST! I look at this process as a critical part of the overall job so of course, it's included in your session price! To me, my job isn't over at the end of a shoot. I am fully committed to each of my clients from the moment they book their photoshoot with me.
Tips and Suggestions
ACTORS & MODELS - your headshot is your most important tool, the one that determines if the casting agent will even look at your resume. It is an investment in your business.
Shooting times - for a typical actor headshot, or model photoshoot, I don't really work by the 'hour' Sometimes, it's quick.....and we're knocking shots out, client changes quickly, communication is smooth and it just flows, and we're done sooner than later. Sometimes, it takes a bit longer. All that said, there is a typical time allotment depending on the type of photoshoot. We will talk about that when you book, so please budget the right amount of time, a little flexibility, and be prepared. The better prepared, the less stressful, the better your results! Planning to arrive a few minutes early is a good idea. It allows for those little unplanned kinks such as bad traffic, finding the location, and taking a moment to collect yourself before we begin. Beginning on time maximized your time in front of my lens which is exactly where we want to start.
MUA and Stylist
Ladies: MUA Definitely a must! You can use your own make up artist or set up an appointment at a MAC counter/store with one of their artists for 'natural look' for headshots. This is a very inexpensive option.
Gentlemen: It's up to you but not needed.
Sylist: Your agent may provide 'looks' guidelines and names of stylists they recommend. I am happy to offer my opinion during our shoot, and can make suggestions. But plan to have your head to toe looks already laid out, bring your accessories, hats, scarves, etc.
Child Actors - a side note
Parents of children - please resist the urge to direct. I get organic images by allowing people to be comfortable, settle into the posing tips I offered, and be themselves. This is even more critical with young children, because they are not always able to understand or implement direction. So for example, If the child is looking down and playing with a pebble, pondering, maybe a little shy, and I am waiting, please do not feel compelled to interject, and instruct. There will be a split moment when he/she will look up and it will be a beautiful shot. OR, it would have been if you had not directed "Smile at Ms. Alise" just before that moment. Over a decade of working with very young models, I have developed a sharp instinct for anticipating the moment. I will get awesome images that represent your child. Trust me to do my job, and I promise you I will let you know if I need your help (and sometimes I do:).
Regarding toddlers: these guys typically have about 45 min-1 hour to offer, during which time they will cooperate, be happy and photograph-able. After that, most toddlers hit a wall, and no amount of bribes or threats will get the desired result. For little models, we have to squeeze out 3 looks, 3 changes, and 3 locations in that time frame - their time frame. You can understand why time is of the essence. I recommend we optimize our time together in front of the lens, rather than with outfit changes /hair changes. While it is important to change outfits and hair, those should be done in the quickest least annoying way for the child, so we can get the best they have to offer on camera, before they run out of patience. Make sense? If not, drop me an email and I will explain, because this topic, really is that important.
PROFESSIONAL HEADSHOTS - your headshot sets the tone for your business. It is the first impression.
If you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, or professional, a professional headshot that represents you is a must.
What to Wear
Choose mid- tone colors in blue, green, wine and purple because they are universally flattering. Avoid wearing tops in flesh tones (cream, beige, pastels, peach or yellow) as they will blend your face into your clothes. Don’t wear any graphic logo t-shirts or band names or funny slogans on your top, (unless it is your own business), also patterns and thin stripes don’t work well on camera and computer screens. Solids work best.
Gentlemen, we typically do 2 looks. One formal, think suit and tie or sport coat and button shirt, and one business casual. This can be shirt and tie, or lose the tie. It can be a golf shirt or a shirt with your business /company logo (the only type of logo you should consider)
Ladies with long hair, I recommend bringing a brush with you to the shoot. You want your hair to be like a shampoo advert. Make sure that it’s all brushed and neat around the edges. Photoshopping hair is so difficult as there are so many different lines in so many different directions that it really is a specialist job and usually over and above what is included in the job. It’s so much easier to get it right before the photo is taken than afterwards.
A natural look always works best. Makeup for a big night out, probably won’t work for a corporate head shot. Keep it simple and make sure it feels good for you. After all you want the image to be a good professional representation of yourself.
If you normally wear glasses and people are used to seeing you in them, wear them. If you are going to wear your glasses, make sure the lenses are very clean. and make sure you push your glasses back as far as they will go. Often glasses just slip slightly down the nose and tend to cover your eyes every so slightly. In profile photos, it’s really important to see your eyes.
Hair – If you’re getting a hair cut for your shoot, do so about two weeks beforehand, just in case it goes wrong – you just never know. For men, a fresh cut a couple of days before the shoot is fine.
Hair accessories – Bring bobby pins, hair clips, headbands or any other favorite accessories.
Glasses – If folks wouldn’t recognize you without glasses, you want to wear glasses in your shoot – however, the glare on glasses can detract from your eyes in photos. You can have your lenses removed from your frames for your shoot (don’t worry, it’s what Hollywood does to avoid glare in movies), or ask your eye doctor to loan you a pair of similar frames.
Red eyes – Visine or Clear Eyes is your friend. Also, please take care of yourself prior to the shoot - you know...sleep, don't drink excessively, all that good , common sense stuff.
Lips – bring fresh lip gloss or lipstick to do touch-up. Use lip balm for a few days in advance of your shoot to make your smoochers look their best.
Teeth – If you want to brighten your smile, start your treatments about two weeks before your shoot. Yes I can do this in postproduction, but a natural bright white smile will add priceless confidence to your smile, which I cannot edit in postproduction :)
Make-up – A subtle application of make-up can really soften your skin and accent your facial features. But make sure you know what you’re doing, otherwise get it professionally done.
Facial hair – Men, be freshly shaved with a new razor, shaving cream and a moisturizing after-shave lotion to avoid bumps and redness. Trim up your board, sideburns, moustache or goatee, especially looking for wiry stray hairs. Ladies, even if you have some light facial hair (particularly around your lip or chin), indulge in a waxing in advance of your shoot – even barely-there light facial hair will be noticeable in your photos. Men and women both, pluck and clean up those eyebrows.
Moisturizer – Dry skin can really detract from a great photo shoot. Start moisturizing nightly a week in advance of your shoot. Your photo shoot is a great excuse for a fresh manicure, but if you can’t go to the salon, make sure your nails look tidy and clean, including the cuticles. Fresh clean nails are the best, but if you do paint them, choose a neutral color that won't be distracting, clash with your wardrobe or look dated in a short while.
Bloating – Ladies, avoid high salt and high fat foods for two to three days in advance of your shoot. Being bloated will sap your confidence and comfort in front of the camera.
Undergarments – Bra straps won’t do anything to help your outfit look its best. Be sure you bring a set of bras and strap-adjusting accessories to work with any outfit you want to shoot in to keep those straps well-hidden.
Sun burns and tan lines – If your shoot is booked for Saturday, don’t go to the beach on Friday. If you plan to tan before your shoot, do so at least a week beforehand and don’t get burned. Be mindful of clothing tan lines, sunglass tan lines, hat tan lines, etc.
Clean, clean, clean – clean nails, clean hair, wipe away eye boogers, clean feet (sandals on kids = black feet!), wipe snotty noses, fresh-scrub teeth. The cleaner the kid, the better their photos will turn out.
If your child is still of napping age, make sure they nap before the shoot ( easier said than done) - at the very least communicate the what are typically best times of day for your baby and schedule accordingly .
Avoid colorful drinks or lollypops within 24 hours of your shoot, don’t let them eat or drink anything that will stain their face, teeth or mouths.
Wardrobe – For siblings, the children don’t have to match perfectly, just coordinate. You can’t go wrong with dark, rich monotones, which drive the attention in photos to sweet faces and expressions instead of loud prints or colors. If nothing else, pick a color that compliments your child’s eye color.
High school seniors
The biggest tips for seniors are to have an even tan, don’t get sunburned, clean and fresh nails, and moisturize and scrub away dry skin.
Bring a variety of outfits – something casual/collegiate, something stylish/upscale , ladies slip a dress in there to throw folks off, guys try a formal look - not suit and tie, but think something more GQ.
Bring props that recall your high school years – band instrument, sports gear like a volleyball or baseball bat, your beloved (or cursed) high school car, letter jacket, sunglasses. Most of all, rep your style, whatever that may be. Your senior photo should be unique to your life and personality.
Dad – Have a fresh shave or trim, and use a new razor with shaving cream and a moisturizing after-shave lotion to limit bumps and redness. Make sure nails are clean and trimmed. Wash your hands. Clean up your shoes. Moisturize and scrub away flaky facial skin (see above General advice). For wardrobe, again you don’t have to perfectly match the rest of the family, just wear something that coordinates.
Mom – Women know what to wear, but you may want to wear something that covers your upper-arms. Long- or 3/4-sleeve tops are very flattering. Women's arms are the most common insecurity and can totally ruin your otherwise fave picture. If you wear jewelry, aim for subtlety, and be aware of it twisting or turning.
Kids – Same advice as above, but again, everything needn’t match, simply coordinate with the parents’ outfits. If Dad’s in a T-shirt, don’t put the kids in dress shirts – make it make sense.
Well, I hope this information was helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I am committed to your photoshoot experience from beginning to end. I am so excited to work with you. Most importantly, get ready to have some fun and create some awesome images together!