Head Shot FAQ’s

Everyone has some questions about having head shots created, so we’ve tried to anticipate and capture most of those here on our FAQ page. If you have a question that you don’t see here, please feel free to call us!

Where does the shoot take place?

Most sessions take place in our studio conveniently located in NE Raleigh near US401 (Louisburg Rd) and I540. If your needs dictate something different, we can photograph on location for an additional fee.

What do I wear and what should I do to prep for my head shot session?

To create a polished professional portrait that makes you look professional, likeable, approachable, and trustworthy, there are several key elements that need to come together, and proper planning is essential. This information is designed to help you start thinking about your professional portrait and the message that you want it to convey. Remember, your professional portrait is your on-line ambassador telling your story and representing you 24-7, so don’t overlook its importance. Most of the information discussed here is geared toward traditional business dress since that covers the majority of business portrait scenarios, however if you have a situation that doesn’t fit in that box, we are more than happy to discuss those situations individually.


  • For professional business portraits we generally recommend darker clothing tones because they tend to work better with most skin tones. Typically with portraits, you want the clothing tones to be in the same tonal range as the background so that subject’s face stands out. We often use darker tones in the backgrounds for a high end elegant look and feel. Think of high end restaurants and the look and feel they typically have with regards to colors & tones. This is of course just a guideline and doesn’t apply to everyone or every situation. If you prefer a more modern look with a “light & airy” look and feel, we can create that type look as well with lighter backgrounds. We don’t recommend wearing lighter tones or solid white only. It’s fine when covered with a jacket or sweater, but it will tend to wash out your face by itself. We also recommend covering the arms with long sleeves and / or dress jackets where appropriate, because skin on the arms will tend to compete with the face for the viewer’s attention. This is important because the goal of a headshot is to draw the viewer’s attention to the subject’s face. You will also want to avoid busy distracting patterns or designs in the clothing. This also will tend to distract the viewer from the subjects face. Again, solid darker colors are best while small discrete patterns such as pin stripes in a suite are not a major distraction. Of course you also want your personal style to show through a little too, so take all of that into consideration when selecting your outfits. One final suggestion on dress is to consider a second pose with a more business casual or casual dress look. For men this would normally be a suit without the tie or even something more causal depending on the use, and for women a nice sweater or something along those lines. The second pose can be used on more casual social media sites such as Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter etc., or for other purposes depending on your situation. It’s important to control your personal brand not only on LinkedIn or your website, but other social media sites as well.


  • Shirt

For traditional suit and tie photos, the standard white shirt dresses up the image and tends to be more on the formal side, while the traditional light blue shirt dresses down the business look just a tad for a slightly more casual look. The same goes for the business casual dress with a jacket and dress shirt, but no tie. You can dress that up a notch with a white shirt, or make it even more casual with the blue. We don’t typically recommend photographing without a jacket since dress shirts tend to have lots of wrinkles and be a distraction.

  • Tie

The tie, being an accent piece, is more personal preference, but again bold distracting patterns should be avoided. A little splash of color here is ok, since the tie does not dominate the image.

  • Shaving

If you tend to have a “5 o’clock shadow” in the afternoon, you probably want to try to schedule your portrait for the morning or shave before the session. We edit and retouch all images (except where noted), so any nicks or blemishes from shaving or other mishaps will be edited out, however we cannot remove beard growth with photo editing techniques.

  • Hair cut

We generally recommend scheduling your hair cut a week or so before the session so the hair has grown out to a more natural look. Also, very recent, short hair cuts may reveal your “white wall” if you have a tan.


  • Hair & Make-up

Regarding make-up, two primary factors should be considered for females. The first is to ensure that the style and amount of make-up is appropriate for the target viewing audience for your business portrait. This can vary by field & industry, but as a general rule we suggest subtle application of make-up so as not to be distracting or overpowering in the image. Secondly you want to ensure that the style and amount of make-up closely mirrors what you normally wear in a professional setting. As a rule you don’t want any surprises when a potential employer or client meets you in person after having seen your professional image first.

Hair should follow the same basic rules as make-up in that you don’t want big surprises and the hair style in your image should closely resemble your everyday style. Of course hair styles change from time to time and when your hair style changes drastically, you may want to consider updating your professional image to match.

  • Jewelry

As a general rule, we recommend subtle jewelry that is not too busy and distracting. Earrings and necklaces are nice accent pieces and generally recommended. Of course the jewelry should also reflect your personal dress style that you normally wear.

  • Expression

We will discuss expression when we photograph your portrait, but it helps to think about what type of expression you are comfortable with and what is appropriate for your field, industry or intended viewing audience. For most professionals, a slightly warm, friendly and approachable expression is ideal, but we don’t want to go overboard so that you’re not taken seriously. You also want your personality to show through, but above all, the expression should be genuine and not forced or fake. We have lots of good tips and tricks for good expressions, so don’t worry, we’ll make sure yours looks great!

  • Rest

Finally, you should try to get good rest the night before your portrait session so you look and feel rested. Again, we edit and retouch to minimize lines and wrinkles, but if you’re feeling tired it will tend to show, so this always helps.

What are your hours for studio head shots?

We photograph head shots between 10:00am-4:00pm Mon-Friday. We can photograph on weekends or evenings if needed (depending on availability), for an additional fee.

How do I schedule an appointment for a head shot session?

First, if you haven’t already, visit our business head shot page for some relevant information and to view our pricing & package options. Second, simply call us (919) 850-0492, or send us a message via our contact us page and we’ll discuss your needs and schedule a head shot session for you.

How long do your head shot sessions typically last?

Our business head shot page has the different session durations listed. These times are maximum times for the given session, however we sometimes finish sooner depending on several variables.

What type of payments do you accept?

We accept all major credit cards, personal or company checks, and cash.

When is payment due?

Payment is due at the time of your photo shoot (session), but not before you have viewed and selected your final images. This way, you are assured that you’re completely satisfied with your images before you pay.

What if I’m not happy with my images?

We have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if for some reason, you’re not happy with your images, you don’t pay a dime and we’ll part ways with no hard feelings. That’s how confident we are that we’ll create great images that you’ll be happy with.

How many shots do you usually take during a head shot session?

That one is simple, as many as it takes to get the images that you’re happy with, within the time frame of the session duration, of course :).
As a professional, having spent years studying the art of posing and lighting with the industry’s top experts, we don’t need to take tons of shots just to get “a few good ones”. We spend time with you up front to discuss important details and coach you on posing, so that we can hone in on the right look for you quickly. We will however, usually photograph some different variations in your expression so you can see what looks best for you.

How do I view and select my final images?

You will do that in the studio, during your head shot session, with our helpful guidance and input. Unlike some studios that shoot tons of shots and send you lots of proofs to sort through own your own, we want you to be happy with the results before you leave, plus when you leave the studio, you’re all done! Over the years we’ve found this to be the most beneficial for our clients.

When do I receive my final images?

We usually like to have 4-5 business days to edit and retouch your images, so that we can be efficient with our workflow. This helps us keep costs down for you.If you’re in a rush, we can turn images around next day or same day, for a small additional fee.

How much editing and retouching do you do?

We have two levels of editing & retouching that we provide for head shots.
Basic Editing – Al images include this level of editing. This includes color correction, cropping & image resizing and removal of any facial shine from lights.
Custom Retouching – Most of our head shot options include this (except where noted). Custom retouching includes the basic editing, but also includes removing blemishes etc., minimizing lines & wrinkles, lightening dark area under eyes, whitening teeth, eye enhancements, subtle skin smoothing and stray hair removal. Our overall goal of retouching is to tastefully polish up your image and make you look your best, without making you look fake or misrepresenting you. For more info on retouching and to see examples, visit our head shot retouching page here.