Preparing for Your Head Shots

1. Choose a professional head shot photographer. Even if your best friend takes great photos, they probably are not a professional headshot photographer. Invest in yourself and go with a pro. Interview them in person or on the phone to determine if it will be a good collaboration. Here are some head shot photographers I like: Paul Smith, Joanna Degeneres, Danika Singfield, David Mueller and Emily Sandifer. TIP: Book the photographers’ hair and makeup stylist for the duration of the shoot. Men, this is for you too.

2.Plan the looks. Plan the looks with your representation, head shot photographer and yourself. Finalize the casting you want to represent and get everyone on your team on the same page. TIP: throw in a wildcard look. Since there is no pressure in this category, the wildcard look can often produce the most relaxed and authentic image.

3.Schedule time with a professional wardrobe stylist at Impact Styling. Get your looks on point. A head shot is your business card. Social media is a powerful image maker, but let’s face it, your head shot is not for the approval of your friends. This is not you at brunch. This is your casting. An industry savvy, celebrity proven, outside eye can lead you to empower your image.

4.Create a schedule. Being strategically organized will allow you to be relaxed and present for your shoot. Manage your timeline for the gym, facial, haircut/hair color, therapy, sleep, diet, etc. leading up to the session. Book appointments for makeup, hair and wardrobe shopping well in advance. Schedule your life the day before and day of the shoot so that you will be prepared for success. Plan it like an elite athlete. Use this preparation strategy for everyday life. An actor prepares. Just do it. TIP: Enrico and Rita at Cristophe Salon for color and cut. Makeup shopping at Violet Grey. Facials at Heyday. Day of blowout DryBar.

5.Research. Study effective head shots. Analyze the components: wardrobe, hair, makeup, character, thoughts, angles, lighting, background, etc.

6.Practice. Practice being in front of the camera. Take selfies. Snap images with your non-professional photographer friends. Experiment with a variety of backgrounds, lighting techniques, clothing colors and textures. Know your “good side.” Get used to being alive and focused while on camera.

7.Playlist and friend. Bring a playlist and a friend if they make you feel inspired and supported. Take if from Annie Leibovitz, Hollywood’s ultimate portrait photographer “I use music when I shoot. In the beginning it camouflaged my inability to talk to people. But the music on a shoot isn’t just background, it raises the mood, sets the tone. The right music at the right time elevates the situation. Music can make or break a shoot.” Groove.

8.Remember it is YOUR SESSION. You are the producer, director and star. You have hired a head shot photographer who is the cinematographer. The head shot session is a team collaboration and you are the leader. Lead with confidence and professionalism.

9.Edit. When you receive your photos, click on each thumbnail image as you are editing to examine the minute details. Select ten images per look and save to a favorites file to forward to your representatives and coaches. To ensure proper feedback, DO NOT SEND a link with 500 pictures. No one will get back to you.

10.Empower yourself. Empower your image. Forgot why you are doing this? Here’s a reminder.

Love, Gina Novish and Caitlin Rose Williams