Run your own business and need a headshot for your website or social media?
Maybe you’re looking for a new job and want to refresh your LinkedIn profile.
Or do you have new starters at your company who haven’t made it onto the ‘Our People’ page yet?
Whichever it is, a quick Google search will no doubt provide you with a list of headshot photographers in your area. But how do you choose?
Here are some of the questions you should ask before booking a headshot photographer.
#1 Can I see your portfolio?
Most photographers will have a public online gallery of their headshots, usually on a website. This will give you an idea of their style, the breadth of their experience and the types of people they have worked with in the past. If they don’t have a portfolio readily available, make sure you ask to see some of their previous work and testimonials from past clients.
#2 What does the fee include?
There are different ways to charge for photography, either on an hourly/daily rate or fixed fees. Many photographers have set prices either for specific packages or dependent on the number of people who need headshots. My package prices always include the sitting fee (ie.the shoot) along with a specified number of edited images.
Make sure you know what’s included in the fee you’ve been quoted, and that there aren’t any hidden extras like travel or additional charges for high resolution images (see next point).
#3 In what format, dimensions and resolution will the images be supplied?
Most headshots are either portrait format or square but if you need specific dimensions, or a different shape for your website, make sure your photographer can meet these requirements. If your IT department needs very small files for the website, or if you want high resolution images for enlargements and printed materials, check that this can be accommodated within the fee.
These days most people only need a digital version of their headshot, so they are usually supplied as JPegs via fileshare. If you need prints, this will likely incur an additional cost.
#4 How long does the shoot take?
There’s nothing worse than trying to relax in front of the camera when you don’t have a lot of time. If you’re investing in a photographer ask them roughly how long they expect the shoot to take, so you can allow enough time.
When I’m taking several headshots in one day for larger organisations, I allow time to set up my equipment and around 15 minutes shooting time per person. I ask my point of contact at the company to give everyone a running order so they know roughly when it’s their turn.
If I’m working with a small business or business owner, the length of the shoot can vary. I always take into account the number of different images you need, allowing for any outfit changes as well as changes in setting or style of image.
#5 How long does it take to get the images after the shoot?
If you need your headshots quickly you should definitely check turnaround times before booking a photographer. They will normally provide you with a selection of proofs to choose from and then edit your favourite images, so ask them when you can expect to see the proofs and how long editing takes.
#6 What editing do you do?
Looking at a photographer’s portfolio should give you an idea of the style and level of editing they do on their headshots. There may be dark shadows and lines to minimise around the eye area, as well as a few stray hairs or blemishes. For corporate headshots the look should be professional and natural rather than airbrushed.
My headshot clients include: Marsons Solicitors | Wellers Law Group | Baxter & Co Accountants | GE Digital | Seven Dials City PR | Heart Valve Voice | White Raft Consulting | Business Rhino Accountants | Empower Development | Lee Townsend Website Content Solutions | Jane Rogers PR | AH Yoga | In-Indigo Ltd | Author, speaker and coach Sherry Bevan.
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