Do you offer RAW photos?
I don’t offer RAW photos. First, a RAW photo or file isn’t what many think. A RAW file is like a tiff or jpeg file, but it’s pure data from the camera and can’t be opened or used without specific software. Most people are actually asking for an unfinished or non-retouched image. I don’t offer these either, as skin shine, stray hairs, dull teeth, etc., while common issues, have no place in a headshot and reflect poorly on all of us. It’s like asking a baker to give you a half-cooked cake. A specialist’s process is unique to them, and the post process is just as important as lighting my subjects with care and making them as real and comfortable in front of the camera as possible.
Do you take just a couple shots?
I take a variety of images with different poses and levels of expression to find what works best for each person. I’m also tweaking my light through the process. With rare exception, only taking a few photos won’t cut it no matter how good the photographer is, or how natural the subject is. That’s generally nothing more than a mugshot. I can get your best look in anywhere from 5 minutes to 10, or even much longer, if we’re doing a variety of lighting, looks, clothing changes, etc.
How will I know what to wear?
I send a headshot tip sheet to clients that helps them prepare. Solid colors with nothing too distracting is a great place to start. Moderate Trendiness can be good, but anything that makes too bold a statement will be dated soon, and most importantly, the shot will be more about the distraction than your image.
Can I get my final images at the shoot or later that day?
While RUSH services can usually be had next day, finals generally can’t be had same day, as there’s a proofing / editing process that clients and I collaborate on, and the post process — where contrast tweaks and natural retouching are applied — need to happen to ensure a great final product.*
I’ve had some bad retouching done before. How can this be avoided?
Examining a photographer’s portfolio is a good way to avoid bad retouching. If their work is well-polished but natural looking, they’re likely great to work with. Retouching is necessary in most portraiture, with the exception of some fine art, photojournalism, street photography, etc (we should never see it in the latter). A GREAT photographer will either do it themselves, or have a professional retoucher handle it. Either way, they should know this part of the craft well. I’ve spent nearly as many years studying this separate but integral art as I have photography itself, and it should be treated just as importantly. Skin should look natural, well-blended, and free of unevenness. It should never look fake, blurred, or plastic-like. Most natural features and natural lines — while they may be softened some — should usually remain intact. Great retouching should still look like you, but the best representation of you, and should never be noticed.
*RUSH services may not be available during peak production times.