FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

 

 Does it hurt?

 No. The shooting process is painless for both photographer and subject, and contrary to popular belief does not steal even a tiny bit of your soul.

Where will we meet to take photos?

 Probably in my studio. I rent a beautiful space in Allston, MA, just a few blocks away from the Green Line. (The same building as Boston Casting!) We'll start in the studio and talk about what you're looking for in the session, check out your outfits, and make a plan. You'll get your makeup done if you requested it, and then we'll shoot! I love variety, so if weather and light allow, we'll probably go into the hallways or outside as well. I do travel, so if you'd like meet outside the studio we can discuss the fees and logistics of an off-site shoot.

 When will we meet to take photos?

I prefer to shoot during regular 9-5 weekday hours, except Thursdays. Nights and weekends are an option, but let's start with trying to book during the week!

 How far in advance should I book my session?

I take regular bookings as close as two weeks in advance. Emergency bookings (within two weeks) may be able to be accommodated, but will be subject to a $200 fee.

 What do I wear?

 Clothes!  Bring lots and lots of clothes. Bring way more than the number of looks included in your package. Particularly, you want to bring clothes that bring out your eyes. Stick with solid colors, and jewel and earth tones are always good. Heavy textures like wool, canvas, and linen are also great, as well as layers. Unless we specify beforehand, we probably won’t be shooting much below the waist, so just wear whatever pants or skirt or kilt you are most comfortable in. Shoes are probably a good idea.

 Why do I even need a new headshot? This one my friend did for free is fine!

 You need a new headshot because you’re a professional actor who wants to be called in for auditions and taken seriously. And no, the headshot your friend took for you is not fine. I’ve been in many an audition room on both sides of the table, and I cannot tell you enough- your headshot matters a lot. Why not set yourself apart with a beautiful, professional headshot that compels a director to want to audition and ultimately hire you? A great headshot will pay for itself tenfold. That's not to say you shouldn't let your friend take your pictures- photographers need practice- but make sure the photo that you print and email and give to the people making the big decisions is as fantastic and well-executed as the song you’re about to sing or the monologue you’re about to perform.

What if I hate my photos?

If you can’t find any photos that you absolutely love, I can offer you a discounted re-shoot at 1/4 the cost of your initial session.

You'll have three weeks from the day I deliver your images to decide if you'd like a reshoot.

 What about Professional Makeup?

Seriously. Do it. When my clients use a professional makeup artist the quality of their headshots go from great to EXCEPTIONAL. It makes everyone's lives easier, and gives you a much larger selection of usable images without having to pay extra for retouching. If you get headshots with me, you'll be working with Katie Elinoff or Steph Munoz, who are both incredibly talented and reasonably priced. They usually stick around and helpswith the shoot too, which makes things smoother and allows for more lighting options.  You're also welcome to bring your own makeup artist!

 

What’s retouching? Do I need it? What are you going to do to my face? Will you make me look like a supermodel?

 Retouching is as important to the process as the actual shoot. Everyone does it- it is now considered the norm. Generally, the image right out of the camera will be pretty good, but retouching adds an extra layer of shine that makes a photo exceptional. The kind of retouching I do is very light- it won’t make you look ten years younger or twenty pounds lighter. I will, however, remove non-permanent pimples and blemishes, find a good, even skin tone, lightly smooth wrinkles, remove stray hairs, and perform some other basic sharpening and enhancements to the photo. The goal is not to make you look perfect. The goal is to make you look your best. Ideally, through a combination of good makeup, lighting, and posing, you will already be ninety percent there. The retouching is a detailed look at that extra ten percent. Check this out: 

Aaron_Dowdy_0090.jpg

This photo is untouched- lit with flash and natural window light, written onto a memory card, and re-written onto a hard drive. Pretty good, but there are two more steps:

The above image has been put through "step one" of editing. No local adjustments have been made, just global ones like cropping, white balance, color, and exposure. This takes me less than a minute for each photo.  You'll get a gallery of up to 100-400 images like this one a few days after the shoot.

This is the final image from this shoot. It has been retouched in Photoshop- there's more global color work, local adjustments to exposure and vibrance, removal or smoothing of blemishes and stray hairs, slight enhancements to eyes and teeth, and lots more. For all that work though, the photo still looks real- that's the look we're going for. Though a retoucher can certainly can make you look significantly thinner or younger or put an extra eye in the middle of your chest, we don't want to do those things because they're not a representation of who you are at your best.

 

Do you do your own retouching? 

As of April 2018, I am working with the amazing people at Reproductions. All headshots will be retouched and printed through them. This is great for everyone- you get retouching services at a lower cost ($30/image instead of $50), your photos are integrated into the ordering system from the best printers in the business, and much more of my time is freed up to shoot, act, and enjoy life in general!

I’m not an actor! Will you still take my picture?

 Absolutely! All are welcome! I’d be happy to shoot for your corporation or organization- I also can take photos for dating websites, musicians, Linkedin profiles, and engagements. Get in touch with me and we can talk about what you need.

What should I do to prepare?

 First, call or email me and pick a date and time. We’ll talk about who you are as an actor/person, what you look like, and what your goals are. Then we’ll decide on a location, you send me a deposit, and then we’ll both wait.  When there’s one day of waiting left, you should get your outfits picked out, and make sure you get to bed early that night. The day of the shoot, sleep in a little, eat some great food, and relax. About an hour before, put on your makeup- (OR DON'T BECAUSE YOU HIRED A PROFESSIONAL TO DO IT!)  it should be fairly natural- what you would wear to say, a job interview. Don’t go crazy with the makeup. Men, you actually might want to wear a bit of makeup too- just enough to cover up blemishes and lighten under your eyes. Once your makeup is on and you’re wearing your initial outfit, load your car with your other clothes, grab a snack and some water, and drive to our location. Do try to be on time!

 

What if it is raining?

 Unless you've specifically requested an outdoor session, we'll just stay inside. The studio offers myriad options for great photos using both artificial and natural light, and the hallways of the 119 Braintree Street building are filled with beautiful light and color as well. Please let me know well in advance if you'd only like to shoot outside, and if that is the case we can always reschedule. 

 

 What’s the actual shoot like?

 Professional, creative, and above all- fun! We’ll hang in my studio, or walk around the park or neighborhood, chatting and trying on different outfits. I’ll get way too excited about an orange door or something, and I’ll spend some time staring really intently into your eyes as I try to get the perfect light. We’ll probably take between 200-1200 photos, depending on the package you've chosen.

 

 Can I bring a friend/parent/animal?

 Please! Yes! Bring along who or whatever you need for comfort and moral support. If you have a friend who also needs headshots, I offer a discount for group sessions, so ask around!

 

What happens after?

 We both go home, and you make dinner and go to bed. I, however, stay up late loading your pictures onto my hard drive. I make three backup copies of the images, and then cull any shots that are totally unusable. I then process those shots, applying light changes like color correction, darkening/lightening, etc- note that this isn’t full-on retouching, this is just making sure the shots are presentable. I then upload them to a private gallery within one week of your shoot. You are free to send the gallery to friends and family, and you can also download and post those shots anywhere. The photos you receive in the first gallery are for web use only. Usually people make a smaller gallery on Facebook and ask their friends to weigh in on their favorites. This should also take you no more than two weeks.  From that initial gallery, you pick ONE- good luck! Once you’ve picked THE SHOT from that group, the amazing wizards at Reproductions will go at it in Photoshop and send you the final retouched image!

What's my job as the client?

 Your number one task as a client is to communicate! Not going to be able to shoot? Going to be late? Want to reshoot? Want to bring your whole family? Want to do a boudoir shoot for your dog? Just let me know! I want you to walk away happy more than anything else. Your secondary responsibilities include showing up to the session on time, paying in full when payment is due, and making your selection within a reasonable time frame.

 

Do you offer printing services?

 Not at this time. Your gallery will be hosted by Reproductions, and they will give you lots of options for both retouching and printing, both of which are the best the industry has to offer!

 

I really, really want to use you as my photographer but I don’t live in Boston! What do I do?

Call me anyway! I am happy to travel anywhere, and would love visit your town or school and photograph you and all of your friends at a great rate.

 

Do you offer any discounts?

 Yes! Get in touch with me for info. I always have a student, repeat customer, and group discount, but there are often specials, of which you can take advantage.

 

How do I pay you?

We start with a deposit,  I'll send you a receipt and confirmation, along with a short contract and model release form that you should read carefully, sign, and bring to me on the day of the shoot. As soon as you pay this (nonrefundable) deposit and acknowledge that you read and agree to the contract, your session is locked in! The remaining balance for your headshot session is due in full on or before the day of the shoot. I accept cash, check, all major credit cards, and online forms of payment such as Square, Venmo, and Paypal. If you would like additional shots retouched, I ask that you pay $50 in advance for each one- I promise I will make any and all adjustments and edits at your request until you are completely satisfied.

 

Wait- non-refundable deposit? That seems serious!

 It doesn't mean you can't reschedule- you are welcome to ask to move your date or time within 24 hours of your session. 

 

 What happened to your event photography? Do you still shoot events?

I removed the event galleries because though I love shooting weddings and the like, I want this site to focus on headshots and theatre photography only. An entirely new brand and business for my event work is in progress, so look for an unveiling soon! In the meantime, feel free to get in touch if you'd like to see my event portfolio or to book event photography.

Are you tired of typing this FAQ? 

Yes. And I can’t believe you read this far. You must be tired of reading it. But thanks for reading it though.