FAQ – What are your actors headshots sessions like?

© Michael Wharley Photography 2014

Exactly how the session works will depend on which option you’ve chosen, but generally I like to work in an organic way, reviewing photos throughout and trying to give you as much variety as possible. You definitely aren’t going to have 200 shots with the same lighting and very marginally different expressions….

A typical session lasts from 1-2.5 hours in the spacious, well-lit space in my airy Waterloo studio. And I never book more than two actors a day, so you’ll never be shoved out for the next client.

I work indoors and outdoors, so during a session we might pop onto the site to get some shots that give you a truly varied portfolio.

Actors Headshots session timings

(nb. based on a Classic session, see packages here)

10.30am, Arrive:

We’ll have a coffee/tea/herbal tea and a chat to get to know each other, but also to help me understand what you want from the session. Maybe you’ll have examples of photos from previous sessions to show me. Maybe you’ll have very specific ideas about the sorts of photos you need and maybe you won’t. Either way, I’ll offer you my insights, expertise and perspective. We’ll also discuss your casting types, the sorts of roles you’ve had and the sort of work you want to get in the future.

This all helps set our priorities for the session; not that there isn’t the space and time to make organic discoveries of course.


We’ll take a look at the different clothing options  to make a plan for the session, then start shooting. I’ll take a few photos to get the lighting set up right and suited to you, which will also help to make you feel relaxed in front of camera., and we’ll work of simple posing techniques too.

Then we’ll start in earnest.

I tend not to shoot staged or posed shots. Instead, I prefer to talk and take photos, perhaps pausing or asking you to hold a look or to refine a set up when it emerges. The beauty of digital is that I can take as many shots as we need, then filter them down.

11am-ish, Clothing Change and Photo Review:

After getting a variety of shots in one outfit, we’ll look over them briefly and make sure you’re happy with the sort of look we’re getting. Then you’ll have the chance to change outfit, shave, change your hairstyle or simply check that all is still looking good. There’s a mirror in the studio, but you’ll also have access to a bathroom and all the privacy you need.

11am-ish, More Photos:

We’ll carry on shooting, and I’ll use a mixture of studio and natural light to create the right blend to suit your complexion, facial structure and priorities for the session. There’s the time and creative space for a lot of different looks this way.


11.30, Tea and a change:

Being photographed is quite demanding, so it’s often time for a quick recharge at this point.

As we have another tea or coffee, we’ll review the headshots taken, which will help us to choose exactly which outfit and setups will work best to give a really rounded portfolio in contrast to what we’ve already taken.

I really do try to make my actors headshot sessions like 3-4 mini-sessions in one, so the photos will have very different feels and energies.

12.30-1pm, Finish.

We shoot for the time it takes to get he looks we need, up to two and a half hours. Any longer than that, and I’ve found people tend to go off the boil a bit, posing-wise.

Within 1 working day, Online Contact Sheet:

I’ll send you a link to an online album containing the filtered photos from your shoot. I’ll have deleted all the eyes-closed, laughing (there are always a lot of those) photos, so each one in the album would be able to be made into a perfect headshot. It’s simply up to you and your agent to choose the killer shots that will make up your portfolio. If you do want my advice, I’m happy to make suggestions as well.

Within one working weeks of you making your choices:

Within two working weeks of you making your choices and giving me any specific instructions for photoshopping, I will supply you with files of your final shots. These will be in two formats: a resolution for any professional print purpose and a resolution for internet use.

You can opt for 24 turnaround on editing for a fee of £50, but it’s not often needed, so I’d save your money and my late night!

Et voilą: headshot perfection and hopefully many auditions to follow from your new shots.

Now all you have to do is get the job…