Umm ... it's winter? Can we shoot indoors?

Ha! Yes. I don’t have a studio (or want to only shoot indoors for most of the calendar year) but I do have a range of studio gear that I can bring to either your offices, or home, or I can hire / use various spaces around Hampshire. All of which means that we don’t have to be out in the cold.

What are headshots?

Professional headshots are one of the important investments for actors, musicians and performers. A good head shot is essential and can be critical to get you through that first stage of any audition, casting or interview process. Your headshot is your calling card and must create a great first impression.

Your headshot should look like you on a good day! Not air brushed within an inch of it’s life. Casting Directors or Interviewers will expect to see what your headshot portrays when you walk in the room, and will be disappointed if the reality is different. This is really important!

A good headshot will capture expression in your eyes and show off your unique features to their best advantage, even if you think they may be flaws, such as freckles or a crooked nose. Headshots should be current and reflect who you are now not what you looked like five or ten years ago (however good you looked then!), so they need to be renewed every couple of years.

How long are your shoots?

My standard headshot shoot is 2 and a half hours. Yes, I know that sounds a long time but believe me time flies… firstly the reason they aren’t 90 minutes is so we don’t feel rushed. I want us to spend some time talking, running through what you are looking for, explaining some of my headshot tips and direction. I want you to feel relaxed. Hopefully this feeling of being comfortable comes across in the images. Outfit changes take time. Finding different locations and chatting takes time. Longer shoots than this time, also tend not to work – there is a natural fatigue at around 2 hours.

How does the shoot work?

I work mostly outdoors, with natural light and a bit of extra magic. Usually the plan will be to have some time indoors either in a venue of your choice or at your home, we’ll take some shots there, then head out and have a walk and try and find some interesting backgrounds/lighting. This really can be anywhere – I find that interesting images can be made in the most inauspicious environments.

Because we’re looking for an outdoor shot, we will be reliant on the weather – rain will stop play so we will need to be potentially flexible with the timings, likewise, it will need to be in daylight hours.

What should I wear / bring to the shoot?

I generally ask people to bring at least 4-5 different tops anything that you love or other people have commented on suiting you, is a good starting point.

To avoid distractions and make the most of your expressions I’d generally suggest keeping to simple, non-patterned clothes. Avoid any tops with a shade that is close to your skin color – you won’t stand out! It’s also really useful to bring layers, like a jacket or coat with you, or something with a collar – these can really help to create some variety across the images.

If you are unsure, bring a suitcase full and we’ll try a few!

What should I do to prepare?

Drink lots of water the week before our shoot. It’s amazing how much drinking water affect’s your skin.

Don’t drink alcohol the day before your shoot. It affects your eyes – making them look more bloodshot than usual.

Breakfast?? Eat before the shoot / feeling Hungry or Hangry on the shoot isn’t ideal.

Prepare your wardrobe – iron clothes, find those accessories and make sure you’ve got a hair brush, comb.

Make sure you can get to our venue for the right time.

Feel excited! Portaiture is a collaboration, if you want your headshot to look energetic and sparky – try to feel that way.

Don’t worry. I know that most people don’t like having their photo taken I’ll be able to give you some top tips and directions – but mostly I want us to enjoy our shoot, that will come across in the images, it will be fun!

Hair and Make up?

I’d suggest keeping make-up natural. You need to look as close to how you would look going into a casting, so dont feel you need to put more on than you would normally. Think of it like dressing for a job interview rather than a night out.

Hair, try to avoid greasy hair and keep hair products to your normal daily routine. Those with long hair I’d suggest we try some different styles, those with shorter hair it depends on how it fits with your casting. A hat might be suitable for bald clients or those accessorising but generally it’s best not to overwhelm or hide the face.

What about the Images?

After a few days, I provide you with a link to a private online gallery from our shoot. I will have removed any eyes closed, and other unsuitable images. You pick your selection from this contact sheet.

I’ll very lightly retouch the selected images, following any suggestions from you to remove any minor skin blemishes, stray hairs and make minor tweaks to lighting and colour. The aim of these shots is to look like you so the images aren’t airbrushed crazily but pimples are removed. These digital files are supplied via download available as print quality and web quality. You can arrange physical prints through me or print your chosen images yourself.

Do headshots have to be Portrait 10x8inch these days?

No. The industry has changed – nowadays it’s starting to become more common for headshots to be landscape and in colour. A term “cinematic headshot” or one that looks like a still from a film has become a bit of a trend. I often shoot landscape which allows the image to be cropped to a 10×8 inch if needed although Spotlight doesn’t insist on 10 x 8.

Range? What's that all about?

The same expression in different tops, isn’t range. To get real range, we might do some shots standing, some sitting, looking away, different lighting, different framing. Some looking warm, smiling some serious, edgy, professional etc whist always still looking real and organic and not posed or forced.

Hence a couple of hours shoot time, if all the photos are taken with you standing up, face on to the camera and staring down the lens. This isn’t going to give you range, nor is it very likely that you will look relaxed and natural looking.

Viewing and selecting as you go along

I’m a fan of showing people images as we go along. Whether it be on the back of the camera or on a larger screen. I find it multi-layered in it’s helpfulness. One it helps to see a decent image, an “oh phew, it’s going to be ok, he knows what he’s doing” kinda of moment. Then even more helpfully it can show the sitter what the small changes I’m asking for make to the image – believing in the direction – most people don’t believe me until they see the results. And lastly, the mirror type effect – when smiling we might feel we are beaming when in fact it’s small or even the other way around. By seeing the images we can see whether something is working as intended and how we might improve.

Off camera / looking away shots

Often looking away shots can make it easier to imagine you in a role. At their best they can look like a still or a rehearsal shot, and they add “range” to a portfolio / Spotlight folio as long as they aren’t “the far away dreamy look” but more of actual looking at someone look. If you agree that they can work and help to add a bit of range, we’ll take some.

Natural and Relaxed - Coaching

I work really hard to try and capture something authentic. A real smile. I have a number of coaching tips and tricks to try and help you relax which often that comes from seeing the results as we go along, I think I’m pretty easy going and hopefully that too will be calming. I’m also looking for shots of a recognisable YOU – you but on a great day – so I’ve got a load of directions and coaching that are aimed to be flattering and that real smile. Although, I do try and have a laugh with you, as a warning I’m not a joke teller, in fact I think even if I was, it would be hard to get what I’m looking for with just jokes – too big a laugh is often not really what we are looking for …