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Headshot Session Checklist

  Headshot PrepSo you want a great headshot… I created a headshot checklist just for you. When you’re working with me, the best headshot photographer in Chicago, the biggest thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to be my teammate. Yes, you read that correctly, we’re a team now. I’m constantly collecting data throughout our headshot session. I realize that may sound odd. I’m constantly listening to how you respond to your images, how you respond to direction, and how you respond to direction. I’m constantly modifying everything from my lighting to my schtick to provide the perfect headshot for you. Now if you’re not giving me any type of response at all, I have to start guessing like my competition does. Your headshot session is the time to picky. It’s the day to be vocal. Work with me, and I’ll make sure you succeed! I’d love for all of my clients to come in every year and get a new headshot, but the reality is that you may be using this image for two or even 3 years. Let’s make it awesome! Dan Hilton a headshot photographer in Vancouver, BC suggests that the fit of your clothing is important, baggy or excessively tight clothing won’t bring out your best.

Headshot Checklist


I know this probably sounds insane, but you will take better pictures during your session if you have a strong understanding of your expressions. Think about it, you’re manipulating your expression all day long. Someone’s speaking to you and you can’t hear them, you make a face. Someone says something that surprises you, you make a face. Expressions usually appear in the form of a reaction. You’re going to be reacting to things I say all day long, and I’m going to just keep taking pictures.  Practice your expressions in the mirror over and over again. That’s not to say that you should come in with a preconceived notion of what you want this picture to look like.  There’s no limit to the number of pictures we take during a session. My job is to make sure that you have a huge variety of images to choose from. The more control you have over your expression, the more amazing shots of yourself you’re going to leave here with.


Schedule your headshot session for a day that you can de-stress and get a good night sleep the night before. We all wear our stress and our sleep deprivation, and like ill-fitting clothing, they have no business making an appearance in a headshot session. As the photographer, there are a lot of things I have control over during our session, but if you come in tired and tense you’re at a severe disadvantage.It’s all about attitude


You have to have faith in your photographer. A lot of people come into my studio scared to death. They liken it to going to the dentist. I’m not going to poke your gums, and I’m not going to put a drill bit in your tooth. We’re going to hang out and I’ll probably try and make you laugh. I’m going to ask you to contort your face and you’ll feel silly in some of the poses we twist your body into, but it’s all for good reason. I’m not just the photographer, but I’m also the expression coach. If you can be coached, you can achieve greatness in a headshot. I promise you that if you come into my studio prepared ,confident,  and ready to take direction, you won’t leave without a great headshot. At 312elements photography, we have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I do free consultations. If you don’t have complete faith in my ability to make you come alive in your headshot, stop by the studio and meet with me. If after that, you’re still on the fence, you should probably talk to some other photographers, because I might not be the right one for you.


Put together a playlist to listen to during our session. We have a CD player, and Ipod connection and Spotify at the studio. Put together a playlist of songs that inspire you. Just remember to keep it upbeat. Slow songs will drain the energy out of you. Workout playlists tend to work really well.


A little moisturizer goes a long way in preparing your skin for a headshot session. Be sure to moisturize your skin well the night before your headshot session as well as the morning of your appointment. If you’ve hired a makeup artist for your shoot, do not apply any make-up before your session.


You know that expression, everything but the kitchen sink? That applies to my headshot checklist too. Bring as many options as you think you might like to be photographed in. Don’t bring things you don’t like, but bring options. I’m always disappointed when I hear people say, “Oh I wish I would have brought XYZ.” You can totally bring XYZ as long as it fits in your bag.

There you have it! That’s my headshot Checklist. I hope you found it valuable. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.