The Secret Behind A Professional Headshot: Part Deux

I wasn’t quite sure how to fit this in, so I thought I would go ahead and expand on my previous blog. Last week, I had the opportunity to photography a former actress for some head shots, in San Diego. She had given her dream, for the Corporate World and was looking for a change and a chance to get back into acting. Since, she was an actress, so I figured that she did not need a lot of help in posing, which can be difficult for some photographers, me included. Some tips that I cannot stress enough to make your shoot go as smoothly as possible:

1)      Setup a consultation with the client, even if it is just a quick phone call. Spend a few extra minutes with the customer. This is very important, so that both parties have a solid idea of what to expect before, during, and after the shoot.


2)      Discuss where the shoot will occur. Is it going to be outside, using natural light. If so, you may want to have a conversation on where exactly, so that you can do a walk-through and get a lay of the land, so to speak. Remember to bring one of those handy dandy reflectors. Or is the shooting going to be at his or her house or in a studio. If you are shooting at his or her house, make sure there is ample room, for equipment to work and free of furniture or debris. I would also recommend double checking one’s equipment list, just to make sure you have not forgotten anything, i.e. backdrops, light stands, umbrellas, light boxes, and lights. Most of us do not have our own studio, so if you are renting one make sure to double check the time and availability and what will be provided, by the studio. Most studios will be BYOE (Bring your own equipment).


3)      Let the client know that any major touchups, outside of lighting that may require extra work, which of course should command an additional fee. Don’t feel bad about this, this is a business and you want to be successful, not give away the farm. My theory, on touchups is that anytime, I have to edit a picture in Adobe Photoshop there is going to be a fee. Let’s face it, editing in Adobe Lightroom is much nicer, easier, less time consuming.


4)      Explain how their product will be delivered to them, whether it be in download form, printed media, or a cd/dvd. If the end product will be the latter two, make sure to inform the client that there will be a cost associated with it. I know some people may this it is petty to charge for a printed picture or burn a cd, but let’s face it, it’s your business. It takes away from your time, the media isn’t free, and I don’t think you can go to his or her job and get “free stuff”.


5)      If any extra fees were incurred during or after the shoot, be sure to inform the client verbally and in an e-mail. Make sure you have a paper trail. I am not saying that you can’t trust people, but it will eliminate any confusion or hard feelings down the road, and you know what Judge Judy would say.


6)      And last but not least with these additional costs make sure that you collect on them immediately, either right after the shoot or when those additional requests are completed. People’s memories aren’t what they used to be, it is difficult to collect from someone a month after they have received their product, and no one likes to take someone to court.

Well, I hope I have given you some valuable tips to think about, before planning your next shoot. It’s not all bad, just be clear and informative, it will save you a lot of headaches. Remember nothing is set in stone and there is not perfect formula, so go out and have some fun.