Preparing for your session

dsc_3097-editsmallThere is only one reason to shoot headshots, to get in front of my lens… to empower your dream, to connect and share your story. Some people love being in front of the camera. They intuitively relax and play and have rapport, it’s just natural for them. That covers about 1% of humanity. The rest of us, from actors and artists, to professionals and anyone else needing or wanting a great picture, approach the process with some mix of anxiety, uncertainty and hesitation. There are lots of reasons why, some include:

  • Their career is their passion, and these shots have to be effective.
  • They’ve had ineffective shots in the past, and spent lots of money to get them.
  • They had a friend, family member or amateur shoot them for free or cheap, but their agent didn’t like them, and they didn’t open doors.
  • They are unsure of how to get the shots they need, why their old one’s didn’t work, or what to change for new ones.
  • Their shots look like everyone else’s, or like the photographer crammed them into a “style” that didn’t fit.
  • They believe they “don’t look good on camera.”
  • They didn’t have a clear, implementable career concept, know their casting or goals for their shoot.

While many of those comments are actor focused, with a little imagination, you can apply those concerns to just about anyone. Effectively addressing those concerns is part of the reason you’re shooting with me, or considering it. Because those problems, real or imagined, will be solved once we’re working together. Here area few insights to ensure that.

Make the most of your session:

The Week Before Your Shoot

dsc_9294-editsmallHydrate more than usual. However much water you drink, (which isn’t enough if you’re like me) drink more. Water, specifically. It changes how your skin appears, noticeably, both in person and in front of the camera. It reduces under eye baggage, and softens lines. Really. Dial back the stimulants, (things that also dehydrate you) like coffee and tea, just a bit.

In Southern California, the sun is nearly ever present. Do not get sunburned. Even the best makeup artist will struggle to correct that for camera. And it hurts. So avoid it.

Pick Effective Wardrobe Options. Be sure you’ve read the section on Casting and Career Concept. Be sure you have accomplished that preparation; it takes a lot of the pressure off of your shooting day.

Bring a variety of options.  We will look through the choices you’ve made, and get specific about which wardrobe goes with each look we’re creating. We’re not looking to fit you into a box, or chase a trend. We are looking to tell your story, and each look is a character, or aspect of you, that you’re looking to convey. This is true whether it’s for a Casting Director, a Producer, a corporate audience, your readers, listeners, followers, or people viewing your shots on social media. I am hands-on in this process, working with you to achieve the results you desire. Wardrobe conveys image, and are essential choices. When you book your shoot with me, I will send you a complete guide to making your wardrobe choices, and we can chat about it on the phone as well.

Even if we don’t shoot together, these tips will serve you. If you chose a photographer who doesn’t address these issues, or even more concerning, isn’t sure they are issues, reevaluate your choice.

The Night Before Your Shoot

dsc_5660-editMake the night before your shoot exclusively about you. Self sabotage for many, myself included, is a practiced art. This is a great time NOT to practice it. Make sure your wardrobe for tomorrow is ready, clean and unwrinkled (see the section on wardrobe). Then, make time for things that relax you. Better yet, combine things that have a calming, centering effect. I know what works for me… massage. A Jacuzzi or hot bathtub, a good book or a favorite movie. A cup of Sleepytime vanilla tea. The Bach Cello Suites. Turning my cell phone off, and same with my computer. Anything electronic, with the potential to cause aggravation, noise or stress… except maybe something to watch a movie on, goes away. Whatever you can do to self-soothe, that’s what you want to do. Give real consideration to whom, if anyone, you spend time with that evening. Positive, relaxing, grounding, those are your watchwords.

Journal, meditate, a light work out, a walk. Perhaps something you haven’t done in sometime, to take care of yourself. To get yourself centered and relaxed. Again, the effects are real and powerful, and sure enough, they show on camera. Like the little glowing ubiquitous tech devices, if it’s a stressor, however subtle, eliminate it for one night. Perhaps consider longer. But that’s another story.

The Morning of Your Shoot

Eat a light, pleasing breakfast. And give yourself the gift of time to enjoy it. Whatever hot beverage you love to wake up with. A great hot shower. Throw a snack in your bag, to keep your blood sugar up.

Come prepared to play, have a blast, and get the best shots you’ve ever had.   Toss your iPod or phone in your bag, with some tunes onboard that you know get you in a great mood. We’ll definitely play them through my Bluetooth speakers while we’re shooting. Music is our personal soundtrack, so bring some stuff that makes you feel.

Bring You. This is all about you. The session is yours. I’m here, literally, to empower you, to put as much of you as possible into our images. If you have concerns, voice them, before hand, or during our time together. If there’s something you’re not comfortable with or unsure of, wardrobe combination, make up, hair, music, anything, please share that. I create a safe, fun, creative and collaborative environment. So don’t hesitate to speak up. This is your time and money, your career, and your day. My ego, my makeup artist’s, my assistant’s, are utterly irrelevant to the process.

If you need a few minutes of quiet before we shoot, or while we’re working, just let me know. Anywhere during the process, know that I’m here for you, and will listen, hear, and act. It’s not a touchy-feely show; it’s who I am. And I’m interested in who you are. So show up fully, and leave apology confidently at the door.

Geoffrey captured me. Not the actor, not me playing at something, but my essence: the thoughts, the emotions, the life behind the eyes. His direction allowed me to be natural, and comfortable. My manager loves the pictures and within just a couple of days of our shoot, I had already booked 3 auditions.

Jude Gerard Prest