We've carefully compiled some of the most Frequently Asked Questions regarding your Professional Headshot Session. If there are any unanswered questions, you can always contact us and we will answer any question you may have.
Do I really need a professional headshot?. . .
The short answer is yes. If you’re an actor and it’s been more than 2 years since your last headshot, you shouldn’t even have clicked on this.
This is your business card. This is how you feed yourself. This is how you get work, and you should know better. However, if you’re not an actor and you’re online in any capacity then the answer is still yes. You have the power to dictate your online perception. It’s the 21st century and when it comes to marketing, we judge our books by their covers. Your headshot is your personal logo for your personal brand and should be treated as such.
There are a great number of online marketing tools these days and whether you’re connecting with peers and potential employers/clients on LinkedIn or you’re looking to find the love of your life on Match.com, you are being judged by your profile picture or lack there of. We’re in the digital age and it doesn’t matter how great you look in that picture from your cousins wedding that you cropped your significant other out of, it just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Daniel Sommer Photography recommends that you update your headshot every 2 years.
How do I choose a headshot photographer?. . .
If you have the time, the best way to choose a headshot photographer is to meet with a few of them. Most photographers will meet you free of charge. You need to trust that your photographer can deliver. If you don’t trust your photographer or if you try to micro-manage your headshot session, you will not succeed. There are thousands of photographers at different price points and different levels of experience in Sydney and the right photographer for you is out there, you just have to do a little digging. Like most things in life you get what you pay for. Photography is not a commodity and every photographer values their work and their time differently. Some great questions to ask are:
How long have you been a photographer?
Do you have a photography studio?
Do you specialise in headshot photography?
Google is your friend, use it! Chances are that if a photographer ranks well in the search engines, they’re probably good at what they do. That being said, there are exceptions to the rule, so do your homework. Read the reviews, look at their work, and even ask for references. At the end of the day you’ll probably have to live with your decision for a couple of years, so take your time and make sure that your photographer is the right fit for you and your needs.
What makes a Headshot session with you different from other Photographers?. . .
We offer our clients an amazing product that is truly second to none. We don’t just photograph people we educate them and more importantly we learn from them.
The process is constantly evolving to ensure that no two headshots are exactly the same. We look at things differently. This is not just a photograph this is your personal logo. It has to stand out in crowd, it has to say “I’m the one”, and it has to be an honest representation of who you are. We are authentic in what we do and we believe that what we do makes a difference.
What should I do to prepare for my headshot session?. . .
You have to have faith in your photographer. A lot of people come into my studio scared to death. They liken it to going to the dentist. I’m not going to poke your gums, and I’m not going to put a drill bit in your tooth. We’re going to hang out and I’ll probably try and make you laugh. I’m going to ask you to contort your face and you’ll feel silly in some of the poses we twist your body into, but it’s all for good reason. I’m not just the photographer, but I’m also the expression coach. If you can be coached, you can achieve greatness in a headshot. I promise you that if you come into my studio prepared ,confident, and ready to take direction, you won’t leave without a great headshot. At Daniel Sommer Photography we have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I do free consultations. If you don’t have complete faith in my ability to make you come alive in your headshot, stop by the studio and meet with me. If after that, you’re still on the fence, you should probably talk to some other photographers, because I might not be the right one for you.
Put together a playlist to listen to during our session. We have a CD player, and Ipod connection and Spotify at the studio. Put together a playlist of songs that inspire you. Just remember to keep it up-beat. Slow songs will drain the energy out of you. Workout playlists tend to work really well.
A little moisturiser goes a long way in preparing your skin for a headshot session. Be sure to moisturise your skin well the night before your headshot session as well as the morning of your appointment. If you’ve hired a make-up artist for your shoot, do not apply any make-up before your session.
What do photographers mean when they use the term LOOK?. . .
This is photographer jargon that denotes the number of outfits you’d like to be photographed wearing during your headshot session. In most cases a photographers fee will increase for each additional “look”.
Most of the time a corporate client will only need a 1-look headshot session. The corporate client looking for images of themselves to use on their website or for social media websites like LinkedIn or Twitter are looking to convey something very specific. The great majority of the time this message is confidence and approachability. The typical corporate client isn’t necessarily interested in displaying character diversity or range in the same way that an actor might. Don’t forget to check out our guide of what to wear for your corporate headshot session. Actors and models are often interested in additional “looks”. It really has a lot to with your casting. What roles are you usually cast in? What roles do you want to be cast in? We use different looks to help you with different casting options. The majority of our actors purchase our 3-look headshot package. With the 3-look package the session runs longer to accommodate the changes of clothes. These additional clothing changes offer the industry professional to show more range. Rather than having 1 headshot that they use for everything, they have the ability of choosing which headshot best showcases their ability to fit a specific role. It’s not uncommon for women to change a hairstyle and or make-up with each additional look. It’s also common practice for men to shoot their first look with a 5 o’clock shadow or beard and then shave for additional looks. This is Marketing for Actors 101. Additional looks give you, the actor, more precision in your marketing plan. You want to make sure that the casting director can visualise you in the roll you’re auditioning for.
Do you offer on location headshots?. . .
We do occasionally travel for headshot sessions. It’s our opinion that our clients are best served in our studio located at 87-93 Abercrombie St. This is a controlled environment and the reason our product is unique has a lot to do with our studio, how we light our clients and the elements of the studio included in the shots. This cannot be replicated on location. That being said we do offer other products on location that can satisfy your needs as well. Especially if you have a unique working environment or you’re interested in executive portraits. Please note that headshots require a great deal of working space and not every space is conducive to headshot photography. All on location shoots include a site visit so that we can assess the situation and decide what we need to bring to deliver the service our clients have come to expect. Group discounts are available and all location shoots under $1000 in total value are subject to a $200 travel fee.
Do you shoot outside?. . .
Part of providing a great product for my clients includes a comfortable welcoming environment where we can consistently get the results we want day in and day out. Shooting out on some street or in a park offers us very little of either of those. If we're not fighting the weather we're dealing with constantly changing light situations all of which takes away from our focus in honing your appearance in front of the camera.
Nearly all my work is shot inside my comfortable studio.
I want to be able to give you a consistent quality shoot day or evening, rain or shine.
Why are all your backgrounds, white, grey ot black?. . .
There are times where we use custom backgrounds for very specific corporate clients(ie pink/purple for a candy store staff). Generally speaking though, the best headshots have little to nothing to do with the color or type of background and everything to do with the energy you're giving the camera.
White, grey and black do very little to distract from your face and everything to complement it.
After your shoot FAQ's
What happens after the shoot?. . .
At the end of your photo session, we will quickly take you through the basics of using our super easy, online photo proofing gallery. Shortly after the shoot you will receive an email with a link to your personalised, and secure gallery, along with your user name and password.
This online photo proofing gallery cannot be searched or seen by anyone without your direct permission (send your login credentials to friend and family for advice in picking your images).
Depending on your chosen package, you can ‘order’ 1 or multiple photographs. We recommend writing comments or notes on the photos you like as you review, in case you need further assistance in your selection.
Once you have selected your specified amount of images, our retoucher will produce the final images. A fee of $50 applies for any additional images.
How long before I will receive my final images?. . .
Retouching can take up to 7 business days. The final images will be delivered in an email download link. Be sure to save all files in a safe place. The download link expires in 7 days.
24hr. Rush Delivery – $50/image
How do I receive my images?. . .
The photos uploaded to the online proofing gallery are of a low quality and are NOT to be downloaded and used for any purpose.
Once you have selected your specified amount of images, our professional retoucher will enhance the overall image to ensure the best quality possible.
A fee may apply ‘rush jobs’ for faster turn around, this fee is at the discretion of the retoucher.
You will receive a WeTransfer link to your final images (both high resolution for printing and lower resolution for internet and email use), allowing you unlimited downloads for up to 10 days (after this time the link will expire). Dropbox is optional if requested.
Do you offer Headshot printing?. . .
We do not personally print our headshots. The lab we recommend is:
Kent Street Studio
422 Kent Street
Sydney 2000 NSW
02 8234 4606
The final presentation is everything. Go to a lab that specializes in printing headshots. You’re only hurting yourself if you don’t. Print matte or lustre, NOT glossy. Glossy will make you look like an amateur from a mile away. Using cheap prints is like taking a 5 star meal that Gordon Ramsay cooked, and serving it on a paper plate.
Once you have selected your specified amount of images, our retoucher will produce the final images. A fee of $75 applies for any additional images.
How do I pay for my session?. . .
Once you have booked your session, a non-refundable deposit of 50% is required at least five (5) working days prior to the shoot. (You will be invoiced at the time of your booking confirmation) This deposit goes towards the total cost of your session.
Our preferred method of payment is via direct debit transfer (instructions are included on invoices). We accept cash, checks, as well as Visa, Mastercard and American Express. The remaining balance is due the day of the session.
If you require/have requested a professional make-up artist, a separate invoice will be sent to you to be paid separately to Daniel Sommer Photography. Alternative methods of payment can be organised prior to the shoot date.
All deposit checks and money orders can be made payable to Daniel Sommer Photography Pty. Ltd. and mailed to our Chippendale studio address or in person.
Do you offer Returning Client Discounts?. . .
Have you recently changed your hair? Or maybe you’ve changed industries and need a different focus in your headshot. Take advantage of our special 50% discount for returning clients. How can we offer such a great discount? Well, as we’ve worked together before, we’ve already found our ‘groove’ and can jump right into taking amazing photos.
Hair and Makeup
Do I need a hair stylist for my headshot session?. . .
If you hire our make-up artist services, they all come prepared to help you with your hair, but at the end of the day an up-do would be inappropriate for a headshot session. You know your hair better than anyone. This picture is intended to represent you on your best day. You know how you want your hair to look and you’re probably going to do a better job on your own hair than a stranger. We’re here to help if needed, but we prefer to let you tackle your hair on your own.
Do I need a make-up artist for my actor headshot session?. . .
Need is such a strong word. In a perfect world, all women who schedule headshot sessions with me would use my make-up team. Doing your make-up for a headshot isn’t really the same thing as doing your make-up for going to work. My team is amazing at what they do and I can always tell in the finished product whether or not someone hired my make-up artist or did it herself. Our team of talented MUA’s understand our lighting techniques and how the camera perceives color. All that being said, the answer is no, I don’t require you to use my team, or a make-up artist at all. I do feel that it makes a difference, but it’s not a deal breaker. If you’ve hired a make-up artist for your headshot session, please come to the studio without any make-up on and be sure to moisturise well. In the event you choose to do your own make-up please reference these tips here. I typically prefer that men don’t wear any make-up during their headshot session.
Do I need a make-up artist for my corporate headshot session?. . .
I recommend a make-up artist for all of my female clients. It’s not required, but you will look better in your pictures. I’m thrilled you realise the importance of corporate headshot, and if you’re going to invest the time and money to do it, you might as well do it right. Let’s be honest, it’s fun being pampered and why not make a day of it. You’ll look better, you’ll feel better, and the final product will be better. If you’ve hired a make-up artist for your headshot session, please come to the studio without any make-up on and be sure to moisturise well. In the event you choose to do your own make-up please reference these tips here. I typically prefer that men don’t wear any make-up during their headshot session.
Do you recommend make-up for men?. . .
I generally prefer that men not wear make-up. We have a product here that we use to remove oil from your face and cut down on shine. That’s usually all I recommend. If you have specific reasons for wanting a make-up artist, we’ll bring one in, but I think most guys with make-up on look like guys wearing make-up.
Should I get a haircut before my headshot session?. . .
A haircut is a great idea before a headshot session, just not the day before your headshot session. A little trim will help your hair look healthy in your images, however if possible cut your hair at least a week before your headshot session. Sometimes after a haircut we’re left with tan lines and hair that isn’t quite sure how it wants to be styled yet. By giving yourself a week you’ll have some time to learn how your hair lays best and how you want to style it. Also, if you happen to hate your hair cut, it will allow you ample time to reschedule with me if necessary and push your date back few weeks.
Should I shave before my headshot session?. . .
If you’re going to shave, do it well. I’m constantly shocked by how bad a job some men do when shaving. We are shooting ultra high definition. You will see every pore. I know you can do it! Just take a little extra time shaving before your headshot session. If you’re the kind of guy that shaves and then has a 5 o’clock shadow 30 minutes later, go ahead and bring your razor and shave here. There are those of us who can grow facial hair and those of us that can’t. You’re more than likely going to be stuck with this picture for 2 years. Be honest with yourself about your facial hair and decide accordingly. Some men who opt for some of the larger headshot packages will shoot a couple looks clean shaven and a couple of looks bearded.
How many outfits should I bring to my headshot session?. . .
Please feel free to bring as many outfits as you like. I seriously have people bring their whole closets to the studio. It’s definitely better to err on the side of caution. Please don’t bring anything that you don’t feel like a rock star in. It has to fit you well and you have to feel confident wearing it. If you want my opinion I’ll be happy to give it to you. If you’re truly torn and indifferent I’m happy to make the final decision. If you don’t have anything that you love in your closet, go shopping! Leave the tags on, we’ll shoot around them. You can return them after your session. Please remember that you book your session by “looks”. If you booked a 1-look headshot session please understand that this means that you’ll only be able to be photographed in one outfit. If you’re not sure what a “look” is, please read more about “looks” here.
What should I wear to my headshot session?. . .
There are only a few hard and fast rules to this question. Follow these tips and you should be in good shape. Wear something you like. If you don’t have anything you like, go and buy something. Leave the tags on it if you want. We can work around it and you can return it later. Wear something that fits you well. Make sure that it’s not wrinkled and keep your pets away from your clothes before your headshot session. Animal hair is not attractive unless it’s on an animal. Stay away from blacks and whites, as they are just too contrasty. A black suit with a white shirt is my worst nightmare. Avoid this combo at all costs. While you’re at it, stay away from loud prints, as they’re too distracting. Earth tones and gemstones tend to make for the best color pallets. I’m also a huge fan of the color grey. It just works! Short sleeve/sleeveless shirts can be problematic. If you’ve got the arms for it, go for it, if you don’t love your arms, you’re probably not going to love the picture of you in the shirt. I recommend my corporate clients dress as they would for a client meeting. If it’s business casual, then a button down shirt or polo shirt is just fine. If it’s a suit and tie kind of industry, than rock the suit and tie. I recommend my actors keep things simple. Solid color T-shirts can be great. Layers are great. Interesting necklines are great. Just don’t let the clothes outshine you in front of the camera. Ladies, if you feel better in heels, wear your favorite heels. They wont be in the shot, but their presence will be made known in your smile.
Should I wear jewelry in my headshot?. . .
Unless you happen to sell jewelry I recommend keeping accessories to minimum. Earrings shouldn’t dangle. Small studs are great. Necklaces shouldn’t be “chunky” or “blingy”. These shots are headshots. Less is more. The product is you, not the fashion. The fashion is there to accentuate you and your features, and not be a distraction from them.
During your shoot FAQ's
What happens during my photo shoot?. . .
All headshot and portrait sessions can be customised to suit your needs. We generally start with a few warm-up exercises to get to know each other and get you comfortable in front of the camera, this includes and is followed by what I refer to as ‘coaching’. This ‘coaching’ is just a way for me to take you through some tips and tricks for taking a perfect photo that not only speed up the whole process, but also apply to ‘real world’ situations, such as personal photos, ‘selfies’, group photos etc.
Our main goal throughout the shoot is to make you feel as comfortable as possible, have a lot of fun and ensure you leave with great images.
Can I see my images during the shoot?. . .
During all sessions, we shoot tethered to a computer, so your images are readily available for viewing and basic modification straight away.
This allows me to coach you into the best poses and expressions, ensuring that you get the best headshots possible.
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