Overshooting: Causes and Cures for Headshot Photographers


You’ve probably heard me say it before, but I come from the days of film. Film had 24 or 36 exposures on a roll. Cameras did not have an LCD. There was no peeking to see if the image looked right.

So, as a photographer, I had to make sure my metering was spot on (pun intended) and every shot mattered. Naturally I took my time to make sure I didn’t waste any frames because if a client paid for 3 rolls, they got exactly 108 clicks of the shutter.

Uhuh, let that sink in for a second.

If my client was a blinker (you know those people who can’t stop blinking?) I had to be so intentional to make sure I didn’t get too many blinks. I still remember the one blinker who complained that I did a terrible job because a lot of the frames had captured his eyes closed.

Now we all have the luxury of digital and don’t have to deal with trying to please the blinker. We get to delete all the blinks and mishaps and look like total geniuses when we turn over our web-galleries.

But here’s the thing, one mistake I see photographers make over and over again is OVERSHOOTING.

Even my very own associate after years of drilling into his head to shoot less, still struggles with it.

Overshooting creates more work both during and after a shoot. 

If you’re overshooting, you’re spending way too much time shooting and you’re spending even more time editing hundreds or thousands of images. This brings down your hourly rate leaving you with less profit and more work.

If you’re overshooting, it’s most likely because you’re overcompensating for something. Whether it’s uncertainty over lighting, insecurity over your poses or self-doubt over whether or not you got the shot.

The key is to spend most of your time setting up the shot and making sure your lighting and posing is on point before starting to shoot. Once you do this, it only takes a few clicks to get the shot.

These days a four outfit shoot for me is an average of 1.5 hours of shoot time and an easy 45 minutes of editing time. I’ll take 10-15 minutes setting up a shot with lighting and positioning and another 5-10 minutes shooting. The majority of my time is spent on the setup and prep.

In addition, pretend like I do, that it’s still the days of film. Aim to shoot a maximum of 60-70 images per outfit or setup. Then aim to edit down to the best 36-46 MAX to turnover to your client.

This way, you can bring down the time you spend in post editing, increase your hourly rate and also prevent your client from feeling overwhelmed by an excessive number of shots.

Always remember. The overwhelmed buyer does not buy. Making it easy for your clients to identify their favorites increases the chances of them ordering retouches.

And retouch orders means more revenue!

Do you overshoot? If so, why? Comment below with your thoughts.????

Hi, I’m Vanie!

Pronounced like Bonnie… and I blame my parents for the misspelling of my name! I went from having $300 in the bank to building a six-figure headshot photography business doing what I love. I’m here to teach you how to do the same!




Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *