I've had a few calls this week for some basic "Corporate Headshots" - traditional head and shoulders, type work. Since people have different expectations of what they should do to get a final product, it's important for me to know a lot about the use of the image, how the subject sees themselves and how they want to see themselves.
A fun aspect of any kind of photography is playing "dress up". Clothing choices are important. If I am planning on a gray/blue background, the color has to fit. The color of the subject's eyes, hair and skin are impacted by the clothes you might wear. If you are an attorney you would definitely have different clothing choices than maybe a photographer or a physician or an advertising executive or even a realtor. You always want to avoid really big patterns or small patterns (houndstooth is nortorius for the moire pattern) that the camera will see funny and moire or be out of focus appearing in the final image. The purpose of the image should have the focus on you and your clothing should represent you, so even though you're into status, labels and logos and text on clothes are not good choices.
Then there is the issue of makeup. Some women are comfortable doing their own makeup. Makeup for a boudoir session is pretend to the nth degree and a very important part of the "character". But for our corporate headshot, well you want to appear put together - not too much and certainly not too little. A professional makeup artist will make the whole experience great - skin is perfectly dressed for the camera. Even men can benefit with at least some foundation and powder to hide the color tone we don't want to see.
I might ask about weight. I am a bit "fluffy" and yes, I have issues about it like most women who ask 'Do I look fat in this?" So we want to have you wear something that makes you feel your best that will make a statement in your image. I ask because I have a photographer's bag of tricks that I can use to adjust the image to make my subject appear thinner in parts both in the studio and at the computer.
Third - a headshot is generally "commercial" photography and not a portrait. It's used for a business purpose. One of my future blogs will focus on the difference in portraits and headshots - oersonal use vs. commercial use.