A Photographer’s Needs for a Successful Headshot Session: Part I


[Los Angeles Head Shots, Vanie]

Speaking for myself,

I find that my most amazing sessions have A LOT to do with a client’s attitude coming into the session.  I realize headshots are a large investment and that there is a lot riding on them.  And often, by the time actors come to me, they’ve had one or more bad experiences, their agents haven’t been happy with any of their pictures, and they are at a complete loss.

Regardless, assuming you have done your due diligence and have thoroughly researched photographers, once you make a decision, it’s important to trust your decision, as well as the process of the photographer you chose to work with.  In other words, let the professionals do their job.


Rishi Adduri: Studious / Hip


Fran Nichols: Fitness / Quirky Teacher


Andy Bacre: Hipster / Troubled Teen / Studious

WHAT I’M ABOUT TO SAY CAN BE EASILY MISUNDERSTOOD, so I want to be very clear.  I’m not saying your input isn’t important, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t voice your concerns or opinions.

However, when someone is overly controlling about every aspect of  the shoot, from the largest detail to the smallest of details, it tends to stifle creativity.  Not only is the organic process gone, but I’m worried about making the slightest wrong move and failing to please my client.

I’m worried that what I do isn’t what they want, so I’m extra careful to only do the things they ask me to do.  I refrain from offering my usual advice, and typically end up confining myself to tight parameters, which doesn’t leave room for spontaneous moments that make for great pictures.


Lizzie Fabie: Grad Student / Young Professional / Hipster

BELIEVE IT OR NOT,  a person’s attitude can become a self-fulfilling prophecy and can LITERALLY make or break a headshot session.

The person who walks in with a negative attitude, constantly stopping the flow and the momentum because they are worried about what is going to go wrong because of what has gone wrong in the past, is very likely to walk away with pictures that don’t represent what I do in my body of work. This is never intentional on my part, but if I’m prevented from doing what I normally do, how can my pictures turn out the way they usually turn out?


Kenia Arias: Athlete

THE PERSON WHO COMES IN with a positive attitude, is free and open to new experiences, open to direction and entrusts me with the experience, will very likely walk away with exceptional results.

Part II of this post will outline some examples and show you the most AMAZING session of the year because of my client’s amazing positive attitude!

Stay tuned and share your experiences here!




Erin Coleman: Country Mom / Best Friend / Edgy


Shane Rogers: Geeky Tech / Gamer / Farmer


Ally Joe Frush: Hipster / Young BBQ Mom


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  1. Hillary

    I think it also takes being realistic about your viable marketing and character looks, and I know you are well-versed in this topic. Not everyone is a leading lady or a “Brad Pitt type”, but I can’t tell you how many times I have seen and talked to new actors who are just crushed when they realize that their headshots are business calling cards and not “glamour shots”. You should look great, but you should still look like YOU!

  2. Tom K.

    Words of wisdom from the finest head shot photographer in America. I look forward to seeing your work in 2012.



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