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Starting at Zero: Headshots

Setting Goals: p.1
What to Expect: p.2
Finding a Photographer: p.3
Cost: p.4
Dos and Don'ts: p.5
Getting Ready: p.6
The Shoot: p.7
Your Proofsheets: p.8
Makin' Copies: p.9
Headshots Online?: p.10

Examining Your Proof Sheets

Shortly after your photo shoot, your photographer will provide you with "proof sheets" (also known as "contact sheets"). These are small reproductions of all shots from the session; there can be as many as 36 on a single page. Use a lens or magnifying glass to view them so you can decide which shot or shots you want to have blown up to 8"x10" size. It's an especially good idea to review these proofs with your photographer, because he or she can provide insight -- perhaps from a more technical perspective -- into why one shot might be better than another.

Starting at Zero: HeadshotsBut what will you be looking for? Well, for starters, you want to review what your goals were for the shoot. If you were specific when you answered the two goal-setting questions -- "What am I going to use this headshot for?" and "What product am I selling?" -- you'll be able to evaluate whether each shot meets the goals that you set.

All that being said, there's a less subjective quality that you'll also probably want to be on the lookout for. It has to do with a personal quality -- your "essence," if you will. Most photographers will tell you that a contact sheet from a photo session will often contain one or two shots that simply reflect an undefinable quality of who you are as a person. These shots sometimes seem to jump off the page.  It's hard to define such shots any further, but you (and your photographer) will know them when you see them.

You may initially want to narrow your selection down to a half dozen or so shots that are in the running.  At that point, many performing artists start asking for outside opinions to help choose exactly the right shot.  If you ask others, try to find people who understand what it takes to make a good headshot.  Usually, your fellow performing artists will be able to provide insight.


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