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:

First, 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- Business cards, social media, newsletters, company marketing materials, promotional materials, prospective employers, news media, etc.  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 your intended audience choosing you, or your competition.  With that said, do you want them to see a professional photo or a picture 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.

Know what to expect during the photo shoot:  Your photographer should complete some type of pre-consult with you, either in person or via phone, to collect as much data as possible about you and your objectives.  Asking the right questions (Why, when, what, where, etc) are imperative.  If the photographer does not possess a complete vision of what you’re going for, 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.

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 days 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.

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.
































What happens after the photo shoot?: Typically, your photographer will inform you of the approximate date when your proofs will be ready and how you can go about making 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.

Note: Actors are “special”: 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 encouraged to deliver 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 similarly to how 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




It’s Time to Update Your Headshot!

Have you looked at your headshot lately? Does it say what you want it to say about YOU? Does your current headshot accurately represent your personal or professional brand?

If you said no to any of these questions then it’s time to re-brand yourself! You’ve procrastinated long enough…call us today to book your headshot portrait session and take control over the message you are sending with your online presence. We’ll ensure that you are depicted in just the right way for your industry, helping you look your best in front of your intended audience.

Don’t leave your professional brand to “chance”. Invest in a professional who knows how to pose you, light you and assist you with proper wardrobe selection and makeup/hair. And especially, one who will allow you to relax and enjoy yourself, resulting in a final portrait that is genuinely you.

No reason to wait! Call us today to book your session! Evening and weekend appointments now available! 734.391.8662.

*Need on-location branding portraits? We can do that! Just call us for details or go HERE to view our professional branding options.


Individual headshot sessions: $259.00 plus tax with makeup artist ($199 without artist) Corporate group pricing available.  Contact studio for details.

Branding and Promotional Portraits – Dramatic Musilogues

It’s not often that you come across such a multi-talented individual as Sandra.  But when you do, consider yourself lucky to know her!  Commissioned a second time to photograph some promotional shots for her upcoming one-woman show, “Fine and Dandy” the story of George Gershwin, I was thrilled about the opportunity to shoot her in the famous “green dress”!  This is one of those dresses that many women dream about wearing but few can actually pull off.  Combine this stunning dress, a stage, a baby grand piano and some dramatic lighting and you have the perfect setting for our photo shoot.  Sandra is a natural born performer.  She is an actress, a pianist, a singer, an author and an all-around entertainer.  It is a privilege to listen to her play the piano.  You can see and feel the immense amount of joy that rings through her as she plays.  She is lively, energetic, enthusiastic and fun.  If you ever get the chance to see her show, do yourself a favor and go!  To learn more, visit her HERE.

*Special thank you to Evola Music in Canton for the generous use of their studio!

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 and Novi. Contact Susan at 734.391.8662 to schedule your photo shoot or simply for a free consultation.  Ask about our corporate headshot packages!



Professional Headshots | Metro Detroit Headshot Photographer

I love having the opportunity to shoot headshots.  It affords me the chance to meet so many wonderful people and develop great relationships with them.  In addition, during their photo shoot, I frequently learn so much about new businesses and different types of industries that I may not be familiar with.    No matter where they’re from it’s always a fun an interesting experience for both of us.  Recently, I had the privilege of working with two beautiful ladies, Denise and Karen.

Denise is an educator for Washtenaw Community College.  Previously, she also taught at the elementary school level.  Denise found me through Thumbtack and we hit it off right away!  She is just a joy to work with, very engaging and has an incredible smile.  She really enjoyed her makeover from Danell and felt that the whole experience was wonderful.  We spent almost 45 minutes just talking after her shoot was done!


Karen is a Real Estate Agent, working for Moving the Mitten in downtown Belleville.  She had taken a break from the industry and is returning part time.  Karen also has an amazing personality and I found her to be quite approachable, very outgoing and super fun to work with!  And that beautiful red hair…to die for!


Big thanks to my makeup artist, Danell Ledin, for making sure that my clients looked perfect for their headshot photography sessions!



Headshots | Belleville, MI

Having my own small business is a wonderful venture.  I enjoy getting out, meeting new people; networking, etc. and also helping incredible people to jump-start their own new businesses!  Recently, I was commissioned by Velon to shoot some headshots for her team, in preparation for the grand opening of her new AAA insurance office in Belleville.  Upon meeting her, along with her mother and son, I was immediately impressed with their warm, friendly personalities.  After further discussion, it became apparent that we believe very much in similar service philisophies; take care of your clients, go the extra mile, provide the best in product and service and always be there to answer questions and follow-up.  I am so excited for this wonderful group of people to begin the next chapter in their lives and, I couldn’t be happier that they will be located in my own community!  Congratulations to the Willis Agency!

For more information on the Willis Agency, you can reach their new office at: 734-697-0170.


Headshots, Branding: Shannon

One of the best things about what I do is having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people!  Shannon was no exception.  She is a new Realtor in the area, who just happens to have been signed with my friend Therese, at Moving the Mitten, in Belleville.  Once I met Shannon I immediately recognized what Therese saw in her.  Anyone working in the customer service industry these days has to understand what true service is all about.  Shannon gets it.  She wants to connect with people and make a difference.  She is outgoing, personable, honest and very down to earth, but very motivated.  She possesses a strong work ethic.  I have no doubt that she will be an amazing addition the team at MTM.  Thank you Shannon, for the opportunity to assist you with  your branding portfolio!  You rocked your headshot session!

Makeup:  Danell Ledin

Hair:  Susan Richardson


Lydia, Branding and headshots

Meet Lydia.  Lydia owns a non-profit business and needed headshots that she could use for branding and marketing purposes to help promote her business.  Most importantly, she wanted images that would show her in a professional, yet approachable manner.  She chose a simple studio setup for her shoot, although we do offer location/environmental shooting as an option.  She also utilized one of our studio makeup artists to add that professional, polished look under the studio lights.

During our consultation, we discussed wardrobe, styling and the types of shots that may be needed for her future marketing needs.  It’s always important to consider your marketing plan and the future needs of your business when planning out your headshot sessions, so you can be proactive about your overall needs.  We also discussed her current social media strategy.  In the end, we created several different looks for Lydia, that ranged from casual to executive, in order to ensure that she would have a decent selection to draw from.  Lydia  made my job easy, with her stunning looks and comfortable demeanor in front of the camera!  I’d say “mission accomplished”!


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.  Ask about our corporate headshot packages!

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