How Long Does a Headshot Session Take?

How long a headshot session takes will vary by photographer and the goal of the session. However, with Headshots by The Light Committee, the average session is under one hour for one to two finished headshots. But there are various factors that can change the length of a session.

Corporate Headshot Session

Because of the Nature of Needing to Get Back to Work, Corporate Headshot Sessions Are Often the Quickest. They Can Take as Little as 5-10 Minutes.

How Many Looks Are You After?

Probably the most frequent factor that can change how long a session will take is the number of looks one is after. If you’re not familiar with what a “look” is referring to, this is simply an outfit change or hair / makeup change during your session – those things that can change how you look in a photo.

With outfit changes, this can mean a quick 2-3 minutes and usually less since it’s common only a top is being changed. However, with a look change often comes the need to change a photographer’s lighting setup. For example, if you need actor headshots, for a commercial look and theatrical look, the lighting will be different between these two. This can be another five minutes or so to change lighting, test it, etc. Remember this additional time is per look change.

For entrepreneurs, corporate and similar executives, a look is often just going with a suit jacket and another without. In many cases, there might be a subtle change to the background lighting but, often these changes are also just a few minutes per look.

Are You Having Hair or Makeup Done?

Often, you will have your hair and makeup done before arriving at the studio. If you’ll have hair and makeup done at the photographer’s studio, with your own makeup artist, it’s likely you’ll pay for the studio time to do so.

Hair and makeup can add anywhere from 15 minutes for very light makeup to 60-90 minutes for thorough hair, makeup and wardrobe styling. Of course, some people opt to do their own hair, makeup and styling before arriving at a studio.

Outdoors or Studio Headshots?

Having headshots done in a studio is often the most efficient – and arguably provides the best results too. This is because a photographer will have every tool at their disposal right in front of them, in addition to being able to control lighting. But again, how many looks you’re after will make your session time vary.

Some people just prefer natural light headshots, and this will likely take a bit more time. The time of day you schedule a natural light session may have an impact too. This is because where the sun is may impact ideal locations to shoot, making some location more or less available.

How Long Does It Take to Get Finished Headshots?

Some people might expect to walk away with digital files right at the end of a shoot. Some photographers accommodate this by handing over a copy of the photos on a thumb drive, for example. Others may take a day or two – some perhaps much longer – to process the photos. It is this scenario that can determine levels of quality in a headshot.

In scenarios that take longer or add quality value, this is often because retouch work will be done. This is usually well worth waiting for. A photographer may setup a gallery or provide some sort of previews to the images. Then you might select a set number for retouching.

Once you made selections your photographer may do favorable retouching that can include removing some fly-away hair, some acne or a temporary scar, perhaps some lint on your shirt or some red eye. Photographers often will not alter the essence of your look without you asking for it. For example, this might be something like straightening a crooked nose. Be sure to ask your photographer about their turnaround time if they include retouching.

Professional Headshots in Los Angeles can be tricky, particularly with more than 1,200 photographers attempting to provide such services. So, be sure to do some homework to spare you the time of a re-shoot.

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