So there’s no denying it or excuse for it. You have to be well prepared to get this right. A lot of sessions in the past could have gone better if people had brought the right bra, or remembered their straighteners etc… so this is exhaustive but i really want you to think of everything to make the best use of the time.
Ok this is by far the biggest thing people worry about, what tops to wear! trickier for girls but guys have to plan as well…
My biggest pet hate, turning up with a bag full of stretch t shirts from Primark in many different colours, it’s just boring and too simple.. 1 or 2 is fine but they have no detail and can be dull.. but even worse than that, don’t bring t-shirts that are cut for boys.. unless you ONLY want to do commercial dance they will completely un flatter any lovely feminine lines and features
Also don’t screw everything up in to a backpack and expect it to come out looking good…
You’re investing a lot of money in these shots.. so lets get this right… some thoughts!
How Many Should I bring - you know what, it might sound like loads but i’d say 8 - 10, why not? isn’t it better we have the options? if we don’t use it it doesn’t matter!
A Black top or 2 or 3… - It’s never wrong, always kinda works… is it the most exciting, no. can it make you look like a college grad, potentially, but bring interesting black tops, vests for people happy with their arms can look great, a shirt can look great, blouses etc….
Back tops with detail often work well because the detail is less noticeable than with colours, but it’s still there
I personally prefer darker colours on most people unless you have a really rich skin tone or loads of dark hair.
Because these shots need to look good in colour, the way the colours work together with you and your hair is important. Dark green, blues, turquoise, maroon, wine
White? - Yeah why not, bring it it might work! especially if you have some colour going on in your skin or hair.
if you are fair, with light skin.. it’s probably going to get a bit ghostly and wash you out
Back to that Primark thing a bit, people in the past who’ve brought clothes from higher end shops or ranges have worked really well. It’s something about the quality of fabric and way it fits the body that just works really well.
You should know what shops or labels fit you well so why not buy yourself a few new bits, you can easily take them back!! we don’t need to take labels off and trust me nearly every fashion shoot you’ve seen will have borrowed clothes from a shop and taken them back.
Detail - Yes… love SOME detail, not logos, but some patterns can really work, tops with button details can look really nice, blouses with some folds/lapelles/epilettes, a bit of lace can look sexy and sophisticated
Girls don’t forget you may have some nice dresses in your wardrobe where the top half and neck line are great. you can even wear them over your jeans, i won’t laugh or judge you.
Yes, can look lovely, skin is a great way to bring colour and a natural tone to the image, and necks and shoulders are a lovely feminine feature to show off..
Blazers are good if you’re a little older and can play corporate or cop/business type roles, or smart mums.
coats are really good but avoid big furry collars or over sized collars.. smart and simple is best… Duffle coatts and bombers look too casual
There’s no point in bring a top if you cant hide your bra under it… do you need a strapless bra? if you wear a red bra on the day is it going to show through everything? if you want to use a thin strap dress or bra how will you hide the straps?
We don’t generally need jewellery. You may want to do a ‘chav’ look in which case some hoops and bling might work
again if you’re in a slightly maturer or elegant woman category some earnings and a necklace may work nicely
If you’re caucasian then similar coloured tops don’t normally work, you need something to separate from your skin colour otherwise it all blends into one
Neons can be a bit too powerful unless you know you’re look and personality is really bubbly and big to match them
Big Logos or Picture Patterns don’t work, if you look at the top and has a picture of a city or a bird for example on it, you don’t want people spending time looking at those images.
Guys - Don’t go too tight around the neck with t shirts, they can choke you off a bit.
don’t bring stuff thats been washed to death and faded, get some open neck lines, shirts or tops with button detail around the neck, good fitting jumpers with some texture look good, a blazer can look smart and sophisticated, think about layers, shirt under a jumper? t-shirt under a blazer?
Polo shirts are a nice compromise between too basic t-shirt and less formal than a shirt.
Really important, DO NOT get your hair cut or coloured the day before or worse the morning of the shoot. Why risk it? it could go horrible wrong. Give it some breathing time so you know you’re really happy with it and you can control it.
Also don’t come for headshots if you’re planning on cutting in a fringe a week later.. pointless!
Everyone’s hair is obviously so different, but.. 9 times out of 10 - Girls if you have a long hair style - I LIKE (relatively) big hair, there i’ve said it.
now i’m not talking comedy Wedding Singer 80’s hair, but some volume is essential. Also your parting, lots of girls come with neat centre partings, but by the end of the shoot we’ve experimented and they prefer an off centre as it creates a bit more interest with the asymmetrical shape, not for everyone but just what i’ve noticed
someone said something very funny the other day, “it’s about hair to face ratio” and i know what she means.. more volume in the hair can make the face feel a little more in proportion, and even slimmer sometimes…
Layers can be tricky, if you stand in the mirror, tilt your chin down 10 degrees, and your hair falls in your face, it will probably do that for the whole shoot. So do you need to use some hairspray to keep it back open up the face a bit? does it look good with sections gripped back?
Also have a think before hand what ‘hair up’ works best, if any? very high pony tails and high buns often get lost off the top of the photo as we crop the top off a little bit. Does it look nice a bit lower? or even anything to the side or platted? just thinking out loud…
This sometimes takes military precision! wash it first thing that morning and it can be too soft and not hold any shape or style, leave it too long and we don’t want greasy dirty hair either.. only you know your hair.. but too clean can be a problem
You can shave during a session, but wet shaving doesn’t always work out. You can cut yourself, the skin can look a bit raw and aggravated and for guys we normally want to make the jaw look nice and strong, so baby face clean leaves no detail to hold some shadow. Of course, if you’re always clean shaven, don’t grow a beard for the shoot!
I think you should come with the same amount on as you would wear to a normal audition for you. If you’re a dancer maybe a little less as full dance make-up will probably be too heavy.
Most people like to start very neutral, just covering up blemishes, and a little around the eyes.
If you have a Basic Headshot session it needs to be done before hand, you won’t have time to do it in the room as that will probably be 15mins of your session gone already
Feel free to add more as you go and develope your look
Generally no. If it’s super subtle and you know what you’re doing fine.
If you neck is a different colour to your face, it will look stupid.
Normally a bit too much, if you wear them all the time then we need the photos to look like you so fine, but it’s probably a bit over the top for most people.
a tinted gloss is normally a good way to start, it gives a little shine and colour whilst being subtle
you might want to do one look with a colour on your lips if a more dramatic and sassy look is useful for your bracket.
I cant think of ever getting a good shot with dark purples or browns.
Preparing your skin and lips before the shoot as much as you can is also advised. Sleep, lots of water, no late nights, cut out fatty foods and chocolate if you can.
Spare a thought for your lips as well, dry cracked lips can be quite noticeable, lots of vaseline and lip salve to moisturise them leading up to the shoot might help.
I rarely think you need any make-up. if it’s a spot we can clean it up easier in the retouching stage. Under-eyes maybe a little will help if they’re bad.
But don’t do anything unless you’re really confident with what you’re doing.
Heres some other questions that you I get asked occasionally.
Have a look on my contact page, address and directions from the station all on there.
Feel free to get to the studio 10 mins early to get settled in and relax,
unfortunately though, as it's a smallish space I don't have a separate waiting room and if I'm with a client you may have to wait outside, not great in winter!
Also If you're the first session of the day, I don't arrive at the studio hours in advance so if you're very early you may be waiting outside.
I don’t do any printing, what i provide you with is high resolution .jpeg files which can be taken to be printed anywhere you wish.
Cool, you and 95% of everyone else I see, don't worry.. I'm kind of friendly if I've had my coffee and I don't work in an intense serious way. I like to try and have a laugh and enjoy the session with you, give you feedback and direction along the way, creatively criticise what both of us are doing, and eventually we'll get there together!
At the moment i’m booking roughly 2 months in advance at any given time, so if you’re window shopping for a photographer at the moment you may want to keep that in mind.
Always check my booking page though as it will tell you when the next up-coming sessions are.
I’m always happy to try and work something out for you if you’re a group of people that need headshots, or if you want to share a session with a friend.
E-mail me and we’ll see what we can organise.
I use an online gallery system. Within 24 hrs of the shoot I’ll email you a link and password for you to view all the images from your shoot.
You can also share the gallery with friends/colleagues and get their opinions.
You will be able to download everything at low resolution with my watermark on it.
Retouches take 7 - 10 days from when they are ordered. it all depends on the waiting list I have at any given time.
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