Frequently Asked Questions
Here’s a list of our most frequently asked questions for headshot sessions. Some questions can’t be answered generally and will be best answered once we know a bit more about you. If you need any advice specific to yourself, please get in touch.
What is a headshot?
A headshot is a portrait specifically tailored for business. It should demonstrate who you are and why people should choose you over anyone else. As human beings, we’re prone to making instant, gut decisions on everything from whether someone is credible, capable and trustworthy. A headshot helps you to bridge this gap and control, to a great extent, the way in which others initially perceive you.
“I’m not photogenic! Can you still help me?”
If you genuinely feel this way, you are our favourite customer (by a long way)! Nothing gives us more satisfaction than producing awesome headshots for people that think they can’t be helped.
It amazes us how bad people think they look until they experience a headshot session with us, so it really doesn’t phase us in the slightest. In-fact, it makes us even more excited to work with you.
The majority of the headshots that are displayed on our website and the reviews you’ll read about us are from ordinary people who also felt they weren’t photogenic.
We are highly skilled photographers, here to help pose and coach you throughout your entire session.
We have professional lighting and cutting edge technology and are 100% committed to make you look your best.
You just might be surprised at how photogenic you can be.
Is black the best colour for headshots? It’s supposed to be slimming right?
It is widely accepted that black is a sliming colour. We would tend to agree with this but it really does depend on a few things…
How does black make me look slimmer?
Black is excellent at hiding the contours of the body (lumps and bumps). It does this because you cannot see shadows on black thus it gives the appearance that there aren’t any bumps when viewed at certain angles.
Black items appear smaller than light items
Dark colours recede whilst light colours come forward, this is simply a visual phenomena that makes black items appear smaller than light items when viewed together.
Absence of contours
Unfortunately, the absence of contour and shadow can also make you appear to be wider if you’re not posed correctly.
Dark or light?
In photography the eye is always drawn to areas of the highest contrast first, so if you want to have your headshot on a white background, wearing black will only emphasise your silhouette and so opting for a lighter colour can help to minimise your outline whilst bringing more attention to your face.
The truth is that there are lots of tricks we have to make you look thinner on camera:
- Body angle
- Angle of light
- Camera height
- Lens choice
- The fit of your clothing
- Layering your look
- Hair style
These components all have the capacity to make a much greater impact on slimming than wearing black.
We work with people of all shapes and sizes so we’ll always give you personalised advice on this when preparing your for a headshot session so its not overwhelming.
Do I really need a professional headshot?
Truth be told, not everyone needs a headshot!
A professional headshot for an individual is the equivalent of a logo for a brand. It will help you get noticed in a crowded street and will also show people that you are established, care about your brand and have invested in your business or invested in yourself.
That being said, we know a lot of businesses that manage to get by without having a logo (my gardener for instance) or by having a logo thrown together (quite badly) in Microsoft Word.
Does that make them less credible? Not necessarily.
Is there likely to be the perception that they lack experience and carry a greater risk? That they are less invested in their product and could quite easily be a hiring decision that you regret?
Are they likely to need to jump through a lot more hurdles to be trusted? You bet!
There are lots of ways to market yourself and many of these don’t require an internet presence. We would say that if you only meet customers face to face and your customers aren’t online then you can probably get away with not having a headshot.
If you intend to take advantage of the internet and want to have a presence that will show people why you are the best person for the job, having a good headshot, whilst not crucial, is going to make your life a whole lot easier.
A headshot is a marketing tool and should be seen as a marketing expense, or an investment over an outright cost. If your headshot is done right it will make you more money than it costs you. In most cases it’s also a tax deduction meaning that it will normally cost you less than you actually think.
Can I take my headshot myself?
Sure! If you’re on a budget it’s worth a try. Alternatively you could consider our virtual headshot session or use our retouching service to give it a final polish.
The value in having a professional headshot photographer taking your portrait, is similar to training with and without a personal trainer.
It is possible to get to the same place training by yourself but it will take you a lot longer, with many more ups and downs and some likely failures along the way.
An experienced personal trainer, after having worked with thousands of people, will have the knowledge and experience to get you from A to B in the quickest time, at a manageable pace and will be able to push you where needed to maximise your results. They will be able to guide you through exact exercises, tailored specifically for your body type and your goals.
It’s the same with a professional headshot photographer. The only difference is that once your headshot is done, it won’t put on weight, even if you have that slice of cake after dinner 🙂
How much should I pay for a headshot?
It’s difficult to answer this without also considering the cost of not having a headshot. This comes down to what kind of usage you’ll get from your headshot or by really considering what your headshot will be doing for you over the next 2-3 years.
Real Estate Agents for instance have their headshot on their website, flyers, property signage, sold stickers, social media, property listing websites.
With that kind of usage and exposure, even if you spent $1000, you could do so in the full knowledge that it will make you much more than this in future sales that would no doubt come from a trustworthy and welcoming portrait of yourself.
For others, a great headshot may be the difference between getting asked in for an interview or getting a promotion by showing you’ve the right image for the job.
In all of these cases, the relatively small cost for a professional headshot is likely to outweigh the expected returns.
With confidence we can say that we have never heard of anyone begrudging paying for a good headshot but we hear regular complaints from people who paid for a bad headshot that they couldn’t use.
Do you Photoshop the photos?
The quick answer to this is ‘Yes’ …ok, you can relax now!
The extent to which we do this varies from person to person.
We work with all of our customers collaboratively in order to achieve the ideal results for each person or project.
We still want you to look like you so we‘ll always advise you on what’s appropriate for your style and industry.
Should I go with a tie or no tie?
A successful headshot is highly tailored to your ideal job, client, interviewer or audience. Would you be wearing a tie when meeting these people in person for the first time? In most cases this should answer the question for you, as it’s really a question only you can answer.
There’s been a notable shift in the last 10 years across all of marketing that has put a much greater emphasis on being relatable and being authentic (being yourself).
The perception that that a tie will make you appear to be more credible is simply not true. Bad posture, creased clothing, bad lighting and the overall quality of your portrait will all have a much greater impact on your credibility.
Whilst we are seeing industries moving away from the tie, there are some that still expect it and so you’ll need to be mindful of this; finance and law being the most notable of these where a tie is often considered a necessary formality as much as it is a tradition.
After considering this, you probably will instinctively know if you need to wear a tie or not.
In most cases these days, it’s a no, a shirt and jacket combination has become the business attire of choice for most professionals including CEOs.
If you are still unsure, bring your tie and we can take some shots with and without it. You may find there’s a practical place for both.
Do I need professional hair and make up?
Professional hair and make-up is more akin to the sprinkles on the cake as opposed to the cake itself (sorry for comparing you to a cake). Without seeing you and knowing a lot more about you and your industry, it really isn’t something we’d be able to comment on…
If you feel like you can do your make-up yourself and feel you do a good job then you’ll still get a great headshot without professional make-up.
If you feel as though you’d like a more glamorous look or if you don’t feel confident doing your own hair and make-up, the make-up artists that we work with are fantastic and well worth the money they charge.
They have spent years learning how to accent features on the face, colour matching, toning and contouring to name a few. They can also give you one less thing to worry about before your shoot and will in most cases be able to do a better job than you at getting you camera ready.
For men we generally don’t recommend hair and make-up unless there is a specific look you are going for that will require it.
The cost for professional hair and make-up is $175 and can be added on to any headshot and portrait session.
What are the best colours to wear?
Colour can make a big difference to your headshot and is a huge topic in itself. Plain colours are generally your best choice.
Consider bringing colours the you get a lot of compliments in. There’s normally a reason for this.
Anything that matches your eye colour is always a bonus as it will help draw attention to your eyes.
If you are a business owner or a brand ambassador consider wearing a flash of your brand colour. This can be done subtly through an accessory like a tie or belt or through lipstick or eye shadow. For a bolder connection, consider a top or jacket of the same colour.
Subtle flashes tend to work best in our experience and can tie in nicely with your logo when featured on your website.
Rich colours along with gemstone colours (sapphire / ruby / emerald) typically work well on all complexions. Pastels along with patterns are generally best avoided for photography although there are sometimes exceptions.
Can I use the same headshot everywhere?
You can use your headshot wherever you like, it’s yours! It is still worth considering where you will be using your headshot and if it is the right fit for that platform.
For example, you may be looking to tap into a business audience on Linkedin, a family audience on Facebook and millennials on Instagram. In such cases it would be smart to tailor your headshot to relate to these audiences. The Elite headshot session was designed with this in mind.
Do you supply clothes?
Sorry, we don’t supply clothes, your headshot is about you and so it’s important to look like you.
We do have a small selection of blazers at the studio and a few neck-ties that you can use if you need them but for hygiene (and practical) reasons, we cant supply much more beyond this. Feel free to ask if we have something in your size when making your enquiry.
How long will it take?
Our session times for individuals range from 20 minutes to 2 hours. If you are booking a make-up artist through its, you’ll also need to add an hour for this.
Sessions for companies can be done over a number of hours or several days.
In most cases, the length of your session will depend on how experienced you are in front of the camera, your ability to let go and trust the process.
In addition to this, the number of looks you wish to achieve, either through clothing or locations will also play a part in how long we will need for your shoot.
How quickly can you turn things around?
Our usual turnaround times are 3-5 days from when you’ve made your selections. Professional retouching takes time and isn’t something we like to rush if we can help it.
If you need something urgently though, we can almost always turn things around for you the same day or within 24 hours. Just let us know and we’ll do everything we can to meet your deadline.
What if I don’t like my photos?
Whilst we can never guarantee that everyone will love their headshot, we have a fantastic track record of overachieving in this regard. Our signature process has helped us deliver outstanding headshots to over ten-thousand happy customers.
We also care deeply about everyone who decides to work with us and we promise to do everything in our power and skill set to get them the best portrait we possibly can.
With our Elite and Branding session, we also have a complete happiness guarantee where we’ll either reshoot or refund your investment if you’re unhappy with your headshots.