Headshot Session Welcome Guide
Thank you for choosing Leslie Crane Photography for your headshot portrait session! This guide will help you to plan for all aspects of your photo shoot.
I love shooting headshot sessions. I believe that headshots should never be boring, and that your headshot should reflect what is amazing and special about you as a person.
My approach is very organic. I take the time to get to know each of my clients, and find out exactly what you want your headshots to say about you and your life’s work. I pose people naturally and draw out real, meaningful expressions.
I often do headshot portraits for artistic types - musicians, artists, writers - but I also do corporate headshot work. I want to design a headshot session that reflects you and tells the story you want to tell.
I am excited to meet you!
When planning your headshot portraits with me, first decide what you want your headshots to say about you. Then, take a moment to look through the headshot gallery on my website and decide what “feel” you would like your session to have. If we haven’t yet chosen a location, ask yourself, “Do I like the casual feeling of a natural space? Do I like an urban vibe, or the simple drama of the studio? Would I like some of each?” If the latter sounds like you, then you should know that right outside the door of my Chaska studio there are historic brick buildings, a white gazebo, the Minnesota River with nature trails, and a lake with a dock. We can get a lot of variety there, and you’ll have a place to change outfits. I also travel all over the metro - to homes, lakes, orchards, airports, cafes, county fairs... I can do anything your heart desires. (Note that some locations may require us to pay for a permit.)
I love to coordinate clothing with locations and backdrops, so we will consult either on the phone or through email to plan the style and colors of your photographs. Later in this guide I will share tips and inspiration for what to wear, how to pose and what to expect during and after your session.
HAIR AND MAKEUP
Consider using a makeup artist/stylist for your headshot session. The ones I use regularly work with both men and women, and specialize in styling for the camera. She comes right to your session. For women, she will airbrush skin, do your makeup and hair, fill in brows and eyelashes, and assist with all aspects of your on-camera look. For men, she'll trim sideburns, groom your neck, eyebrows, and other facial hair, remove lint from clothing, straighten your tie, and airbrush your skin. She will make sure all the details are perfect and photo-ready.
Ask me about booking her services and I will take care of it. The cost for this add-on service is from $200.
ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS
Your headshot portrait session
WHERE WILL MY SESSION TAKE PLACE?
I do most of my headshot sessions at the studio. It makes a great place for professional makeup and styling, clothing changes, and a lot of variety. We can use studio and natural light, as well as the urban neighborhood and natural areas a few blocks away. You aren’t limited to the studio, though; I’ve done headshot sessions at the beach, onstage, in office buildings, on college campuses, parks, and downtown. If there is something you want or need, tell me and we’ll design the session that way. (Note that some locations require permits and/or fees for professional photography.)
HOW LONG WILL THE SESSION LAST?
Typically sessions last between one and a half and two hours. Allow for one hour more if we are using a makeup artist.
WHEN DO YOU SCHEDULE YOUR PORTRAIT SESSIONS?
I usually shoot weekends and evenings, and, if we’ll be shooting outdoors, most often in the last few hours before sunset for the best light. I occasionally do sessions in the morning, but greatly prefer evenings.
WHAT HAPPENS IF IT RAINS ON THE DAY OF OUR OUTDOOR SESSION? In the event of rain during a scheduled outdoor session we will either use an indoor location only or reschedule for a different date (I build rain days into my shooting schedule). And a few times, I’ve actually shot IN the rain - so that’s an option, too, if it’s not pouring or storming out!
WHAT IF I NEED TO RESCHEDULE?
Not a problem. I know that people get sick, or emergencies arise. I appreciate 24 hours’ notice if you need to reschedule, and I will find another time for you.
HOW MANY PICTURES DO YOU TAKE? DO I GET TO SEE THEM ALL?
I take many, many pictures. When I prepare your proofing gallery I narrow them down to the very best ones, at least 35. You will not see blinking shots, outtakes, unedited proofs, or 10 of the same shot. I carefully “polish the gems” when I edit and show you only my best work as a complete gallery.
DO YOU DO RETOUCHING?
Yes, it’s included. In addition to my custom hand-edits, I remove blemishes, whiten teeth, smooth skin and do other types of retouching. More involved edits like braces removal, and special requests will incur an extra charge.
GETTING READY FOR YOUR SESSION
What to wear and how to plan:
Choose colors you know you look good in. If you aren’t sure, consult your family or friends, and also consider your eye color and skin tones. I usually suggest limiting patterns on clothes, though sometime I like to break that “rule.” Medium shades or classic jewel tones photograph better than bright colors. Consider cream over stark white.
As far as fit, close to the body, or even slightly small (but not skin tight), is always more flattering to your shape than clothing that is loose or baggy. Don't go up a size if you are undecided - choose the smaller, more fitted option.
I am always happy to preview your outfits via email before your session, and I will always suggest colors to you that I know will look good in our chosen locations. Look through my headshot portfolio for ideas. Iron out the wrinkles, and have your hair cut about 1 week before the session. Trim your nails, too so your hands look as good as the rest of you.
You can bring as many outfits as you want - we can narrow it down when you arrive. I suggest at least three, so we have choices for coordinating with our different backgrounds. Go for variety, but also consider what your line of work is and what message you want to send in your headshots. So, if appropriate, bring something more formal and dressy, something casual, and something in-between. Try a light-colored option, a darker one, and a jewel tone - plus a nice coat if we head outside and it’s cool out. I always tell people to look for flattering necklines that frame your face well. Something to consider: most often long sleeves or sleeveless tops and dresses are more flattering than cap sleeves or short sleeves. Accessories and layers are a great way to add interest and color, too.
Bring two to three clothing options, and mix up the styles of each, depending on your line of work. Avoid big patterns or graphics unless it makes sense for you. Layers are always a great idea, for example adding a jacket, sweater or vest. With dark shirts and sweaters, a black t-shirt is a great base layer instead of white.
THOUGHTS ABOUT POSING FOR HEADSHOT PORTRAITS
The most important posing tip I can give you is to take a deep breath and relax. Trust in me, and know that I will have you pose in a way that is natural, organic, and flattering. These are some general guidelines but don’t worry - I will talk you though it at your session and help you every step of the way. I prefer posing that makes you look relaxed... and like YOU!
Standing - generally, when you stand, place your weight on one foot rather than two, unless I specifically direct you to pose with your weight on both feet.
Sitting - I love when people lean forward. This makes you look warm and attentive!
Bring your forehead forward and down. This is a good tip for both men and women - it elongates the neck. It feels weird, but it looks great!
Open your hands, rather than make fists. You look more relaxed when your hands aren’t clenched.
If you are looking for some candid or artistic shots, too, I will coach you through those so they look truly natural and not "staged."
Women - more often than not we want your shoulders at an angle to the camera. We want angles, and we want you to bend. If your shoulders are square to the camera, then I will have you turn your head at an angle to the camera. We usually don’t want your shoulders and head both facing the camera squarely (but like I said before, sometimes I like to break these "rules" that aren't really rules). A really beautiful pose for headshots is to turn your shoulders in one direction but your chin looking back in the other direction. I will help you figure out what to do with your hands and arms.
Men - you can pose with your shoulders square to the camera or at an angle. If you want to put your hands in your pockets, try hanging your thumbs in them or putting your hands partway in. Sitting in a chair, leaning forward with fingers laced or or a forearm on your leg always looks great.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
All about the process
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I BOOK MY SESSION?
The earlier the better! I do book up quickly, so four to six weeks in advance during the busy season is ideal. Once in awhile I have an opening sooner than that, so it never hurts to ask... but I always recommend planning ahead to secure the date you want.
HOW DO I BOOK MY SESSION?
It’s very simple - email or call me and we’ll choose a date. We will choose a location and design a session to fit you perfectly. Your parents will be sent an online contract for you parent or guardian to e-sign and instructions for paying the session fee. All set!
WHEN IS PAYMENT DUE?
Your session fee is due at time of booking and payment for print, product and digital file orders is due when you place your order.
WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?
Cash, Check, PayPal & Credit Cards. Minnesota state sales tax applies.
HOW SOON AFTER MY SESSION WIILL I BE ABLE TO SEE MY PICTURES?
Sneak peeks - typically the next day. A password-protected online gallery of your images will be available within two weeks after your session. You will then be able to view your private online gallery and select your favorite images.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO PLACE MY ORDER?
Two weeks. When your proofs are ready, I will contact you right away to find out what two weeks would be best for you to make your decisions. Two weeks after the opening date you chose, the gallery will expire.
HOW DO I ORDER MY PICTURES?
You may place your order online within your proofing gallery. Upon payment, digital files will be made available for immediate direct download.
WHAT ABOUT COPYRIGHT?
Copyright for your digital images remains with me - you do not own the copyright nor do I transfer copyright. However, you DO get print rights and permission to use the images online or in your marketing materials as you need! With every digital file purchase I provide a release form giving you permission to use your images in pretty much every way you'll need.
You may not alter them in any way other than cropping, re-sizing or adding text, as it is illegal to edit copyrighted material without permission from the work’s creator. If you have questions about that, click the "contact" link above and ask! The bottom line is I want you to use your images in all the ways you need to, and I'll work with you to make sure you can.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO REACH YOU?
I prefer email, because I like to keep a tangible record of everything we discuss regarding your session. I also occasionally respond to emails at times of day that aren’t really convenient for phone conversations! However, you are always welcome to call me to talk about any aspect of your session.
Have another question? Click the "contact" link above and ask me! I'll be happy to answer you right away.
Session fee: $200
The session fee includes one to two hours of shooting time, as well as a private online viewing gallery of at least thirty-five images.
The portrait session fee does not include prints or digital files.
To add a makeup artist/stylist: $150 to $200 per person. She will come right to your session, style you and stay for part of the session.
Digital files with release for unlimited printing
Single digital files (one photograph in digital form): $125
5 digital images: $500
10 digital images: $800
Your entire gallery collection, digital files: $1200
Purchase the full gallery collection and receive 50% off additional gift and wall prints, or 15% off other custom print products.
Most headshot clients purchase digital files. However, print products are also available. The full pricing guide can be found here.
I am thrilled to be working with you, and promise to make this experience wonderful and fun for you.