…a budding Actor who recently approached me for a promotional / commercial headshot to be used in her portfolio.
Razwana contacted me via my website’s Contact Form and, once we had linked up, we immediately booked a pre-session meeting. Prior to the meeting, Razwana shared some sample headshots and she spent time to describe the reasons in choosing those particular images. This gave me the opportunity to do my homework; identify possible locations in the High Wycombe area, sketch some ideas and understand the general feel the images we need to portray.
During the meeting, we dug deeper over a cup of coffee, discussing the images in relation to the scope of requirements. This was also a good time to learn about Razwana in general, hobbies, favourite colours, goals in life, style, drive and personality, and the type of work she is interested in pursuing… There was plenty of active listening. This time also allowed me to share my current portfolio of portrait images face-to-face. I explained my work ethic, how my style would be inspired by her selection and how it would translate into the resulting commercial headshot. We spent time reviewing the possible locations, preferred backdrops and lighting, and whether we would be attempting a natural or studio look.
“It was a pleasure to work with a creative spirit with so much enthusiasm and commitment.” – Razwana
Of course, Razwana wanted it all and so would I, but there is always a budget! We set a date and decided on a two-hour session in a great outside location that offered a multitude of scenarios. First impressions count, and even though I was only getting to know Razwana, I was confident we could work well together to achieve at least four wardrobe changes and a similar number of sets – we agreed to push the boundaries and create five individual looks!
“I really enjoyed the shoot with the different locations that you proposed working brilliantly with the choice of clothing I had in mind prior to the shoot.” – Razwana
The session date was set and the heat was on, literally; this was going to be the hottest day of the year so far, forecast at 34C! With this in mind, I thoroughly scouted the location and took test scene shots. I also made sure we were fully prepared to allow us to keep comfortably shooting no matter what temperature a balmy UK summer’s day threw at us.
During the shoot, we reviewed the unedited images immediately on the computer screen This enabled either of us to easily adjust any aspect as we felt necessary. It proves invaluable to get this instant feedback when attempting to capture the perfect commercial headshot.
After the shoot, the image selection process is simple. I provided a range of hand-picked final photographs and Razwana selected the agreed five that were most appropriate to her needs.
I will let a few of Razwana’s favourite images and testimonials speak for themselves. I do hope the behind the scenes shots provide some insight into the process.
“I was taken aback at how great I look in the shots, so thank you so much…
…Thanks again for your support in helping me create great images ready to put out there for potential agencies. You’ve captured my personality throughout all the shots perfectly.” – Razwana
No matter what our experience levels, the setting of expectations is critical – and that works in every-which-way; Customer, photographer and assistants included. For a commercial headshot in particular, I suggest that my customers arrive at the session with their attitude prepared just as if they were attending the casting of their life. The same applies to hair, make-up and wardrobe, for which I offer guidance but I do prefer my customers to be themselves (and to prepare for a fun experience). I brief my assistants on our Customer even before the shoot and we run through our action plan of who, what, why, when, where and how.
Of course, once we have secured the safe shots and achieved the brief, I like to try something a little out of the ordinary as it could inspire the next session with my Customer.