What happens at a headshot photography session?

headshot studio portrait Booking a headshot portrait photographer can be a daunting experience. I sometimes see people online worrying about how they should stand, where they should put their head, what kind of expression they should adopt, what clothes they should wear and a hundred other questions.

Pre-photo Session Consultation

These things (and a lot more) will be covered by any competent headshot photographer. Ahead of the session I always discuss with my clients what clothes they should wear and we can talk about hair, maybe make up etc. This will ensure that when you arrive for the session you are ready to go and it sets the scene for everything proceeding smoothly. I’ll also let you know how long the session will typically last and give you an overview of how it all works as well as what happens after the photography session.

On the day of the photography session, we usually meet at my studio (unless of course we are shooting on location). We’ll chat about the session and it’s a great opportunity for me to found out how and where the photographs will be used so we can tailor the style of the shoot so it works as well as it can do when you receive your images.

Coaching for your Posing

You’ll be pleased to know that you’ll be coached through the entire photography experience. Once in a blue moon I’ll have a ‘natural’ book me and they will sail through the process with barely a prompt from me. It’s very rare though and most of us (including me) will need direction and coaching as the photography proceeds. I often think it’s a big act of faith being photographed – things which look good from the photographers point of view can sometimes feel a bit unnatural for the sitter but when you see the results from the shoot it all makes sense. 

We’ll take breaks and reset if needed. The expression is the most important thing in a headshot photograph and we work hard to produce a natural, open, friendly look most of the time. If you’re in my studio for an actors headshot, a more neutral look is preferred by casting agents and directors so we go in that direction. Again, the end use of the portrait is important so things can be tweaked as we go along.

After the Photography Session

After the session, the images are downloaded and a back up is made. Each photograph is individually processed so everything looks as good as it can. Usually a private online gallery is provided so you can go through the images in your own time. I’ll usually make recommendations and let you know my favourites from the session. We are usually the worst people to make judgements when it comes to our own photographs! I usually recommended having the input of a couple of of colleagues or people whose opinion you respect. Needless to say, you’ll have a good choice of photographs to review which can make it a little difficult to choose but it does give you a good ‘library’ of images for use in different places – your website, social media etc.

Do let me know if you have any questions of course – happy to help at any time.

Simon Kemp

Professional People Photographer from Reading in Berkshire.