Law Firm Head Shot Morgan Lewis

Business Headshot FAQ

Many people interested in business headshots have questions regarding the subject.  I’ve attempted to list all the questions here and answer them to the best of my ability.  If you find that you don’t see the questions here then you’d like to have answered, please feel free to call or email me to discuss your concerns.

Whats a Business Headshot?

A business headshot is a head-and-shoulder cropped portrait of a person to be used for business communications or social media purposes.  The headshot can be taken in the studio or at some location.  The final “deliverable” is a file delivered via email or on a flash drive.  There are you final prints but if requested, I can issue a letter stating that I, the business headshot photographer, gives permission for reproduction.

What happens at a typical business headshot shoot?

On a studio business headshot, you arrive and park in one of our free parking spaces, come up to the studio.  You spend a minute in front of a mirror making sure that you look the way you want and then you sit down in front of the camera.  I take a couple of photos, adjusting the lights as needed.  I then show you a sample of what the basic lighting and pose will look like.  We adjust from there, making sure that you’re happy with the direction we are going.  Then, the shoot really begins.  I normally pose the subject and have him go through a series of expressions ranging from serious to a big smile.  We tweak the pose and go through the same range of expressions.

I’ve found that by going through the range of expressions, we always get just the right expression.  When you ask some people to smile, they squint or smile too much.  By shooting a range of expressions, we always get something good.  Another reason to shoot multiple expressions for a headshot is that there are different needs for headshots and by having multiple expressions, you always have an appropriate headshot.

After shooting a bunch of poses and expressions, we look at what we’ve done on the computer and decide if we need to shoot more of just select from what we already have.  If the client wants to shoot more, we do and repeat the process as many times as it takes to make the client happy.

Normally, the client sits down in front of the computer and selects his or her favorite headshot for retouching.  If the client has any special retouching requirements, they are noted.

After the client leaves, I retouch as necessary and then email the file to them.  The client then reviews the retouching and adjustments are made as needed.

This is a sample location business headshot taken for Pittsburgh Architectural Firm.

How much do you charge for a Business headshot?

The going rate for a business headshot sitting fee is $175.00 for a studio headshot and $250.00 for a location headshot.   The reason for the difference in prices is the amount of time involved.  At the studio, I have a dedicated area setup for shooting business headshots, so all I need to do is turn on the lights and we’re ready to toke photos.  When I go on location, there is not only the travel time involved with getting to and from the location, but also the setup and breakdown time.

There may be other charges in addition to the “sitting fee” of the business headshot. Other optional or related charges would be retouching ($25 / photo), parking (for location headshots if applicable), flash drives ($15 for file delivery), optional digital contact sheets emailed to client ($15 / sheet), optional online gallery ($25), clothing change ($25 / change), wider than head-and-shoulder crop ($50), travel fee and mileage (more than 10 miles from my studio)

What types of studio backgrounds do you have available?

I have three different canvas backgrounds, grey, brown, and blue, with grey being everyone’s favorite.  I can also shoot on solid grey or white paper backgrounds.

grey business headshot

Here’s a sample of the grey background that is so popular for business headshots.

Can you bring your studio backgrounds on location?

Yes, but that usually entails time to setup and tear down, which a usually charge an extra $50.

How much time should I allow for a typical headshot shoot?

The actual “sitting” time for a business headshot is maybe five or ten minutes.  What usually takes longer is the “selecting the favorite image” time.  All in all, you’re probably safe to estimate a half hour for your headshot.  Some shoots go longer and many take less than that half hour.  Much depends on how picky you are.

How far out do I need to schedule my Business Headshot?

My schedule is always changing so there is no set answer to this question.  There are times I can shoot you business headshot that very same day and then there are times when I’m booked solid for weeks at a time.  I do my best to fit in every customer when that person is available.  I will even shoot weekends and evenings to make that happen.

How long does it take from shooting to final image delivery?

The normal turn around from shooting to file delivery is about one day, but if the subject is in a real hurry, I can sometimes do the retouching while the client waits and they can walk out of the studio with drive in hand in about an hour.

Do you offer retouching?

Yes, I do offer retouching for business headshots.  One thing you must keep in mind, I am a headshot photographer and not a retoucher, but for most typical retouches, I am quite good.  There are however limits to my retouching ability.  I am NOT and illustrator.  My charge for standard retouching is $25 / head and that covers smoothing complexions, whitening eyes and teeth, and cleaning up some out-of-place hairs.

How many shots do you end up taking for a Business Headshot?

I shoot until you’re happy.  The usual number of photos take is about 35 or so, but we shoot as many photos as needed.

How many shots do I get to keep?

If you bring a flash drive to the shoot or choose to purchase a flash drive from me, you can have every single photo we take.  These will be unretouched headshots, but you’re welcome to keep them all.

Simple white background for business headshot

Here’s a business headshot with a simple white background.

How many poses will we have?

Normally, we take variations of two different poses, facing left and facing right.  This may be limited however if the subject has glasses that cause too much reflection wen facing the light. We will take as many photos as needed to make you happy with our results.

What do you recommend I wear for a Business Headshot?

A headshot is really a marketing statement and / or a statement of your individual personality. It’s hard to make a recommendation without knowing the business you’re in and even people in the same business have different ideas about how they want to be viewed.  If you’re in a business where formal attire is the norm, then you should probably dress formally.  If you’re in an informal business, then casual clothing is probably a good idea.  In the end, what you wear will send a subtle message about what you do and who you are.

Here are a few tips (rules of thumb)I would make about clothing for a business headshot, but to be honest, from a photographer’s point of view, the clothing doesn’t matter too much.

No visible clothing logos
Avoid busy patterns and large lines/stripes
Sleeves are usually better then sleeveless (dresses)
Pastel is usually better than bright colors. The idea is that you don’t want to distract from your face.

Do you offer makeup?

I do offer makeup for those wanting it, but with retouching as easy as it is these days, I usually don’t recommend it.  If you insist, there is a fee from $150 – $250, depending on the makeup artist available.

Do you charge for retouching?

I do offer retouching services and would highly recommend it too.  I charge $25 / head for the typical retouching needed for a business headshot.  If the requested retouching is too complicated and requires an unusual amount of time, then I would need to increase the charge.

I have a standard checklist when retouching every business headshot, which includes smoothing complexion, whitening eyes and teeth, and fixing other small imperfections.  If the subject has any other specific requests, I try my best to fulfill their requests to the best of my abilities.

Do you shoot groups?

Yes, I do shoot group shots, but the specifics of every shoot are so different, I don’t want to address that subject here.  Please email me and we can begin a discussion regarding your needs.

employee headshot in Pittsburgh

This is a location business headshot taken at the Pittsburgh Convention Center.

Do you offer quantity discounts?

Yes, and those discounts can be considerable!  I don’t have a price list for quantity business headshot, but would be glad to talk with you about your specific needs. Please email me to discuss the possibilities

Do you shoot on location?

Yes, I’ve done location headshots for all kinds of companies including PPG, GNC, and many others too.

Can you come in to scout a location before the shoot?

Yes, especially with quantity shoots, I will visit the location ahead of time, but usually the price I charge makes it prohibitive. I charge $100 / hour to scout.

If I need a business headshot that is wider than just head and shoulders crop, can you supply that?

I can do a wider crop is requested, but I need to charge an additional amount ($50) to do that in the studio because I would need to setup an entirely different setup.  I offer the head and shoulder headshot at such a great price because I have an area in my studio that is always setup and ready to go.  All I need to do is turn on the lights and shoot.  If a client needs a wider shot, I need to start from scratch and create the set from scratch.  That takes time and I need to charge for that additional time.

Do you accept credit cards for Business headshots?

Yes, I do accept cash, check or credit cards at the completion of the shoot and before the final files are delivered.

How can I schedule a shoot?

That’s simple.  Just call me 412-232-4444 or drop me an email and we’ll schedule your headshot.

Michael Ray Photography
2820 Smallman St.
Pittsburgh, PA  15222