Headshot Sessions | A Planning Guide

So you’ve booked a headshot or branding session.  Now what?  In order to get the most out of your investment, it helps to plan ahead.  During my pre-session consultations I talk through several points on my handy checklist, most of which are geared at helping my clients to be well-prepared for their photo shoot.  I work in a very collaborative nature with my clients to ensure a smooth process, and it’s my job to make sure that they have all the information they need to make their experience the best it can be!

Here are some helpful suggestions to walk you through the process:

  1. Use a professional for your headshot photos:   It pays to remember that a headshot of any kind (actor, model, professional, executive, etc) is a branding tool.  You are selling yourself to someone and you only get one chance to make a GREAT first impression!  Think about the many ways in which you will be utilizing that image.  Will it be printed on business cards?  Posted on social media? Donning  your LinkedIn profile for hundreds of prospective employers to see (or the customers of your business)?  Pictured on the header of the company financial newsletter, shared with thousands of subscribers?  Or, in the case of models and actors, your images are actually printed out as 8×10 comp cards and handed directly to casting directors!  The quality couldn’t be more important!  This is your opportunity to put forth the best of you; to show people who you are through imagery.  No matter the industry, you owe it to yourself to invest in a proper headshot.  It can be the difference between a potential client, school or employer choosing you, or your competition.  With that said, when uploading profile pictures please don’t use pictures from your uncle’s wedding where you cropped out your drunk ex-girlfriend, or the selfie you took last week in the bathroom at the bar!  If you want others to take you seriously, then take your personal brand seriously.
  2. What to expect during the photo shoot:  Hopefully your photographer will have completed some type of pre-consult with you, either in person or via phone, to collect as much data as possible about you and the reasons behind the need for your headshot request.  Asking the right questions (Why, when, what, where, etc) are imperative.  If the photographer does not possess a complete vision of what your needs are, they will not be able to help you convey your message clearly through the imagery.  Therefore, open communication is critical here. Be sure that you are explaining what you want and sharing your vision for the shoot.  You should also be informed of all the details about the session, including what you are getting for your fee.  Here would be some critical things to consider/inquire about:  
    1. # of outfit choices
    2. # backgrounds/backdrops
    3. # proofs available to select from
    4. # digital files in final deliverable; how many are low resolution/how many are high resolution?
    5. Will the final delivered images include retouching or is that an extra charge?
    6. What is included in the copyright release?  Is there a time limit on that release?
    7. How will my final images be delivered?
    8. What is the charge if I want to order more?
    9. What if I don’t like any of the images in my proofs?
    10. Are makeup artistry services included or available?
    11. What is their reschedule/cancellation policy?

    Many photographers advertise a low market rate for their headshot sessions only to reveal later that that they charge extra for retouching, per image (anywhere from $20-$70 each).  Once you add on those fees, their package prices are then, very similar to other photographers. So, just make sure that you clearly understand all pricing up front, before you purchase.

  3. Preparation is key: You want to look your best so try to get a good nights sleep the day before and drink plenty of water in the day’s leading up to your session.  Both of these things will do wonders for your skin and help to lessen the bags and dark circles under your eyes.  It is highly advised not to make any drastic changes to your hair within 7 days prior to your photo shoot.  Doing so could be risky! If it doesn’t turn out well, you could end up frustrated and that frustration will show through in your images.
  4. Wardrobe, 101:  Selecting the proper wardrobe is probably one of the most important parts of your preparation responsibilities!  There are many tips we can offer you (as can many other people-just Google it!).  Overall, here are the basics:
    Dress appropriately for your industry and the image you want to present Dress appropriately for your industry and the image you want to present
    Avoid black!  It drains all color from your skin and washes you out.  Instead, choose navy, brown, green, gray, burgundy or tan. Avoid black!  Instead choose navy, green, purple, burgundy, turqoise or other jewel tones.  Pastels are ok if they are on the darker side.  Avoid very soft, pale pastels.  Most women look dull & lifeless in them.
    With dress shirts, avoid short sleeve; the professional way to go is long sleeve. Absolutely avoid sleeveless unless you’re rockin’ great arms.  Also, avoid turtlenecks and mock-neck tops, as they are outdated.
    Men look great in colored dress shirts (pink, lavender, blue, grey).  Some small patterned dress shirts are nice but avoid large patterns (XL windowpane). Avoid crazy patterns and large, flowery patterns.  Go for solids or very simple patterns.
    Jackets should be pressed and clean, no buttons missing and they should fit properly. Bring layering choices: Twinsets, a nice jacket/blazer, a leather jacket, a fitted sweater, etc.
    Bring at least 1 tie (2 if all of your looks will be formal). Tie the tie in advance, if needed.  Half windsor is sufficient.  Ensure your ties are stain-free please! Scoop necks, crew necks, Vnecks are fine for knit tops but avoid low cut!  If you bring fitted, collared shirts, be sure they are pressed into place. Bottom line, bring things that make you feel good!
    Bottom half will not usually be seen, but if you are shooting a branding session where some 3/4 shots may be taken, then bring along a nice pair of black trousers as an accompaniment. Accessories should be minimal in order to keep the emphasis on you.  Very small earrings, bracelets and/or necklaces.  No chunky jewelry.  Silk scarves could be worn for 1 outfit, to add some variety.
    Ensure that all items are brought to the studio on hangers, are free from dirt and debris and have been pressed!  Wrinkles are enhanced in photos! Ensure that all items are brought to the studio on hangers, are free from dirt and debris and have been pressed!  Wrinkles are enhanced in photos!
    A very nice watch or important ring is always a nice touch.  Bottom line, bring items that make you feel good! Makeup:  A professional makeup application is highly recommended for all female clients!  If you do not have the option through the photographer, you can have it done prior to your appointment.
    Inform your photographer if you have any tattoos or scars that you would like to have removed in photoshop as part of the post-processing. Inform your photographer if you have any tattoos or scars that you would like to have removed in photoshop as part of the post-processing.
    If you wear glasses: Inform your photographer if you would like some shots with and some shots without your glasses. If you wear glasses: Inform your photographer if you would like some shots with and some shots without your glasses.
  5. What happens after the photo shoot?: Typically,  your photographer will inform you of the approximate date when your proofs will be ready and/or the process for getting your images to you so you can make your selections.  This will range anywhere from same-day to 3-5 days.  Once you make your selections they will deliver your finished product.  However, it doesn’t end there. Be sure that you know what to do with the files once you receive them, including deciphering which ones are meant for online use and which ones are meant for print.  Also, typically, you will want to place duplicate copies of those files into a folder somewhere, (ie: on your desktop) labeled “my headshots 20xx” or something similar and then keep the originals in a safe place as your backup.  That way, you have them easily accessible for uploading into all the places you will need them on social media, etc.
  6. A side note for actor headshots: For actors, generally, the majority of rules above still apply.  However, when shooting, actor headshots will be cropped in closer, with an emphasis on the eyes.  Actors are generally focused on delivering a bit more emotion and energy in their headshot photos so as to engage the attention of the casting director.  In addition, makeup is usually utilized in a minimal fashion, as the objective is to allow the actor to be portrayed very much like they look in real life, with very little re-touching.  With wardrobe, KIS: Keep it simple!  These images must be all about you, your face and your expression.  No jewelry.  In addition, actors usually need both color and B&W images for their portfolio.

The bottom line….a great headshot is your silent sales person!  It is selling your personal brand for you in ways that you can’t imagine.  Whether it’s adorning your Linkedin profile or sitting as the header on your monthly newsletter or CV, or maybe you’re one of the lucky people who has their photo branded right on their business card!  A great, professional headshot should last you a couple of years before you need to update it (actors need a new one every year, or sooner).

Here’s to great branding!


Timeless Images by Susan.  We provide individual headshot sessions, corporate group headshots on location and team/group portraits.  Call for more information today! 734.391.8662

Headshots | HS Seniors | Glamour

Member: PPA

Headshots | Moving the Mitten Real Estate, Belleville, Michigan

Sometimes in life you are blessed to meet incredible individuals.  Therese Antonelli is one of those people.  She is an outstanding entrepreneur with a skilled business mind who knows how to treat people; both clients and employees.  She lives life to the fullest and has worked her *** off for everything she has achieved.  People stick with her because she cares and because she delivers what she promises.   From the moment I first met Therese I was excited to talk with her and get to know her, especially since we shared so many similar values when it came to service and business philosophy; take care of people the way you want to be taken care of!  I am very appreciative of the opportunities I have to photograph her team’s professional headshots and support her branding efforts.  Each of her hand-picked agents are dedicated, hard working and determined individuals.  If you’re in the market for a new home or in need of an agent to help you sell your existing home, I urge you to call Therese’s team!  You won’t be disappointed.

To learn more about the Moving the Mitten team, click HERE




Timeless Images named one of Detroit’s top portrait photographers for 2017

Today, I am very honored and humbled to be selected by Expertise.com as one of their “19 Best Detroit Portrait Photographers”! Expertise based their decision on 5 main categories: Reputation, credibility, experience, availability and professionalism.  Every day, I have the pleasure of meeting and working with amazing people; business professionals, beautiful, empowered women, high school seniors and their families, as well as charitable organizations and groups.  I have but one mission: to exceed their expectations and provide an exceptional experience in both service and product.

Potential clients are always telling me how important it is that their photographer listens to them, is capable of providing a relaxed and comfortable environment and most important, is able to connect with them, allowing their true personality to shine through in the final images.   Then, and only then, will a genuine portrait be revealed.  As a professional, I will never stop learning.  My long-standing membership with PPA provides me with the continued resources, education and skill development that helps me be the best I can be.  I truly love the art of photography as well as the interaction that it brings, with the many wonderful people I encounter, as a result of this incredible business.  Over the years I have built wonderful relationships.  While it can be long hours on my feet and late nights of editing and photoshop work, seeing the joy on my customer’s face when I present them with their portrait art is priceless to me-that’s why I do what I do!

Of course, I couldn’t do what I do without my unbelievably talented makeup artists or the love and support of my incredible husband (who also serves as my occasional second shooter!).  I’m also so appreciative of all of the other talented photographers who inspire me every day, to keep shooting and to keep trying new things.  As a working mom, I am truly grateful for the many blessings in my life, especially the amazing customers that allow me the privilege of photographing some of their most precious memories.  Thank you to each and every one of my customers!  I appreciate you.

Timeless Images by Susan is a contemporary portrait studio offering headshots and branding portraiture for executives and professionals of all kinds, located in Belleville, Michigan.  We serve the cities of Belleville, Canton, Plymouth, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Livonia, Northville, Novi and the surrounding areas. Making you look good is our business!

Call us now for a no-hassle consultation! 734.391.8662.




Holiday portrait special!

It’s hard to believe but summer has passed, the fall colors are barely hanging on and before you know it, the holidays will be here!  Once again we have set aside a day this November to provide you with family photos for your holiday cards.   We know how busy you are and how life just gets off track! We’ll have you in and out within 30 minutes!

Come to our studio on Saturday, November 12th to create some beautiful family memories and contribute to a wonderful charity at the same time! Help us support the American Cancer Society while having your holiday family portraits taken on Saturday, November 12th! You’ll receive a fabulous print package including a gorgeous 16×20 fine art, mounted print!  Your portrait art is guaranteed to arrive within 2 weeks of your order date and 10% of all proceeds will be donated to ACS. Space is limited, so call now to reserve your spot! 734-391-8662.  We would love to see you!

*Sessions are 30 minutes and provide one background option.  Online proofing gallery will be available within 3-5 days from session date. Package may not be altered.  Package fee due up front to secure appointment.  Michigan sales tax not included in promotional price.


Branding, 101: Professional Portraits

The headshot business is booming and it’s no surprise!  If you’re a professional, a model, an artist, an entertainer or anyone in need of promoting or marketing yourself (even a graduating student) then you’ll probably be in the market for a new professional portrait at some point.  If you fall into one of these categories and you’re not utilizing a professional headshot, you should consider getting one.  If you want others to take you seriously then you need to take yourself seriously and put your best foot forward by presenting yourself in the best manner possible!  Make the investment in your personal brand.  Posting a “selfie” from your cousin’s wedding on your Linked-in profile or your CV just doesn’t cut it anymore!  Don’t leave anything left to chance.  Here are some great examples  of some of our recent clients that came to us for professional portraits because they wanted to stand out from their competitors…


Timeless Images by Susan is a contemporary portrait studio offering headshots for executives and professionals of all kinds, located in Belleville, Michigan.  We serve the cities of Belleville, Canton, Plymouth, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Livonia, Northville and Novi. Contact Susan at 734.391.8662 to schedule your photo shoot or simply for a free consultation.  Click HERE to learn more about our corporate headshot packages!

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