While most teams hover between 5 to 20 individuals, larger teams do need a bit more planning and attention. What does your typical headshot session look like from the beginning planning stages, through photo day, and on to final file delivery? Here I will walk you through my unique process at Kelly Heck Photography, and I will add helpful notes for those of you with larger teams that need a little more timeline planning.
Step #1: The Consultation
We start with the basics – a conversation to get an idea what you as the client need. During this chat, we may cover details such as:
- Headcount for Headshots
- How many unique portraits per person (if more than 1)
- Is this a single-day or multi-day project?
- Look & Feel:
- Composition & Poses:
- Traditional Headshots, Full body, 1/2-Figure, 3/4-Figure
- Horizontal, Vertical, Square
- Location (and where in your office makes the most sense)
- Backdrop (Fabric or Paper) vs. Background (Environmental: Indoor or Outdoor)
- Other Photo (or Video) Needs:
- Team Portraits
- Custom Stock Photography
- Facility and/or Facade
- Video / Cinematography
- Photo Shoot Schedule (usually we follow up on this in detail later)
- Do we see the need for:
- Shooting Tethered?
- Location Scouting?
Step #2: The Project Proposal & Booking
Our project proposals are detailed but very straight forward. You will be able to review this document online, sign online, and pay online (credit card or EFT) to book your photo shoot.
Step #3: Final Plans & Communication
PHOTO PREP TIPS:
After booking, you receive the KHP “Getting Ready for Photo Day” guide to help you and your team members prepare and look your very best for photo day. The guide covers details for both men and women, about wardrobe, skin care, and much more! KHP also offers a customizable email template to share some quick tops with your team as photo day nears.
Location scouting is available by request of the client. You may request a video call walk-through (free of charge) or an onsite visit (fees apply) to ensure that our plan is well executed on photo day.
Your photo needs may benefit from a schedule, so we will work on a timeline together. Most headshots require 5 to 10 minutes per person. For easier client-end scheduling, we often recommend scheduling 3 people every 15 minutes. (Approximately 12 people per hour.)
Expect me to stay in touch, lightly, as our shoot date nears. Reminders never hurt anyone! If any final details haven’t been settled, expect to hear from me within a week of photo day.
We strongly recommend you remind your team about photo day
Lastly, sometimes plans change (example: COVID), so just keep in touch about any changes as soon as you know we may need to shift or reschedule.
Step #4: Photo Day (or Days?)
Photo day can go by in a FLASH (no pun intended).
SET-UP / BREAK-DOWN:
Set-up and break-down each take about 20-30 minutes once all equipment is unloaded from the car. Besides the camera equipment, we have our own backdrops, lights, and lots of other gear to get the job done right. We literally bring the studio to you.
For individual headshots, we do not need a lot of space. Don’t even worry about the natural lighting, because we bring battery-powered, portable lighting. A conference room or unoccupied office space is often large enough and offers your employees a little privacy so they can feel more relaxed during their photo slot.
The most important thing to me as a photographer is to capture a true-to-eye-perspective of your team members. So as long as I can back up enough (5-6 feet) from my subject (with equipment spacing factored in, expect a 10 foot length room as ideal), we are good! Ceiling height is also helpful for proper lighting- if you know your ceilings are shorter than standard ceilings, just give me a heads up so we can plan lighting accordingly.
While it is not required, we can photograph headshots “tethered” to a laptop. This process allows for full-screen review on the spot, not just for me, but for you as the client too. It also gives clients a much better idea what final image will be, as compared to viewing their portrait on the cameras’ small LCD display. See more about the process of photographing tethered and its advantages in this blog post.
NUMBER OF SHOOT DAYS:
With larger groups, it is important to note that the more participants you have, the less likely everyone will be available the same date and timeframe. Even if everyone says they are on board, plan on a few people missing photo day. And in that case, we might want to plan on a 2+ day shoot regardless of your teams’ good intentions. Staff availability can vary even with the smallest of teams (emergencies, unexpected meetings, illness, or tardiness – we get that it happens, just keep us informed!)
Step #5: Photo Selection
After photo day and back at the office, we narrow down your photos to the best, while leaving you with plenty of options to choose from. Your proofs will be shared via a digital gallery, giving you the flexibility to review and select final image choices at your leisure. (Optionally, we can select final portraits on your behalf if you do not have time.)
Turn around time for your proofs is usually 1-3 business days.
Step #6: Retouching & Delivery
Final image retouching includes subtle adjustments to skin texture, removing any imperfections, adding brightness to teeth, hair editing, outfit adjustments, body sculpting (if needed), background corrections, and more.
Full color is always provided, and black and white conversions are also included, free of charge.
Your final photo files are provided via a password-protected digital download.
Turn around time for your final, retouched portraits is usually 2 business days per 10 people. If your needs require a more speedy delivery, jut let us know ahead of time.