Hi lovelies,
How do you feel about getting headshots?

Do you get excited for them? Is it fun picking out what you’ll wear, planning your makeup, organizing the looks you want?

Is there a bit of dread sometimes? Does the decision-making get overwhelming? Have you found yourself feeling hella hot and empowered in front of the mirror, only to feel cold and awkward in front of the camera? (ooh, did I say ‘hella’? is that my Californian slipping out? :P)

If your experience has been like mine, maybe a bit (or a lot) of both.

I just got new headshots done, and before this session I’d never done ‘professional’ headshots before. I’d always grabbed a camera and my partner, ran into the backyard, and said, “Ok, point and shoot.”

The thought of dropping $$$$ on a photographer and makeup and a studio, sitting there trying to look relaxed but feeling anything but, made my stomach tighten into knots. I didn’t have that kind of money to spend – and even if I did, there was no guarantee that in those set of circumstances I’d get the shots that I wanted.

So instead of focusing on the outcome, I decided to focus on curating a specific experience for myself. That way, even if I didn’t like the shots, I’d still have a great time. It would still be worth the learning curve that I’d go on.

And I gotta say — not only did I have the BEST time, felt empowered and relaxed and joyful, I also got some KILLER fucking shots, if I may say so myself.

A headshot of Caitlin, a white woman in her 30s, short dark brown hair. She wears a brown leather jacket and black top, and is smiling toward the camera.

So today, I’ve recorded the story of my headshot experience into a voice note, and I’ve outlined 3 things I did to curate a joyful headshot experience:

1) Intention: What do you want to use these headshots for? What medium? What specific roles? What genres? What’s the work you WANT to be doing?

2) Get a cheerleader: Bring someone into the room who will take on the role of your cheerleader / coach / director. (more on this below)

3) Hire a makeup artist: Do you know how to do make-up specifically for a camera? If your answer is anything less than a definite yes, get someone who can do it for you.

Is a headshot coach a thing??? Because if not, it should be.

On a whim, I asked a trusted friend of mine if she’d be in the room with me while I was taking photos and help curate the session. And boy howdy, did she deliver.

Afterwards, I asked her what advice she would give to someone who wanted to do the same. What’s the ‘job description’ of a headshot coach? Here’s what she said:

Advice for Headshot Coaches:
1) Affirm, affirm, affirm. Getting photographed, for most folks, can be a tense or nerve-inducing experience. The more you can let your friend know they are doing well, and hype them up, the more ease they can find. You already see them with the eyes of love—let them know!

2) Inject play. In between coaching the different energies and intentions, do some stupid ones! Make them laugh! Shake it out.

3) Talk in advance about what would create comfort! Caitlin did an amazing job of already planning for herself (playlist, tea, having us there), but as a coach, you can also find ways to provide this!

Bottom line: the more at ease and free they feel, the more the shot will look like them. So aim to create ease and playfulness in the space!

So my friends!! What headshot experiences have you had?? I want to hear all the things — stories of the BEST sessions, stories of nightmare sessions, the advice you’d give to young actors just starting out, the stuff you’ll never do again.

Can’t wait to hear from you.

With love,

Caitlin

P.S. Should I offer headshot coaching as one of my services??? Is that something you’d want? Let me know. 🙂

A headshot of Caitlin, a white woman in her early 30s, she runs a hand through her hair, wearing a black top against a black background.