To this day, my creative headshot session with Kirsty Jones - all the way back at the start of 2022 - feels like an absolute classic of a photo session! Kirsty and I really clicked during the time we spent together, and I love so many of the photos that we took! So I thought a blog looking back on the session, describing the entire process from booking to delivery of images, would make a great example for anyone who wants to know more about how my headshot and professional sessions generally work.
Headshot and Personal Branding photography at Bristol Harbourside
Kirsty Jones is a Bristol-based writer and poet who initially came across me photographing a project she was part of at St George's Bristol. She emailed me a couple of days later to enquire about headshots, and it sounded like my image style would really suit what she was after. Kirsty needed professional photos - both full-length, and head-and-shoulders - for her new website, but wanted to ensure that they were more natural feeling and creative in style than your standard headshot. This is really in keeping with my own approach - all my photography has a very natural feel to it, but in particular my headshots always make use of natural lighting and outdoor environments to create images that have a more personal feel to them.
Given that my headshot and professional sessions take place outdoors, the exact location of a photoshoot is always up for discussion - though I do of course have recommendations for some of the best spots around Bristol! For this session, Kirsty and I settled on Bristol harbourside.
We met at Fresh Cut coffee on a fairly chilly Monday morning, and spent quite a while chatting before we got going. This is how pretty much all of my sessions start, as it tends to help people relax before I point my camera at them. Kirsty and I seemed to click pretty much straight away, and ended up discussing all sorts of different things relating to creative practice - from developing the confidence to put your work out there, to the frustration of dealing with mediocre men in creative spaces!
Something that I really, truly adore about one-on-one headshot sessions is that they give me the most wonderful opportunity to connect with another person. When you end up getting on really well with someone, like Kirsty and I did, it can stimulate creativity in the absolute best way; as a case in point, I actually ended up with nearly double the amount of photos from this session than I usually would for a set of headshots!
Warm-up photographs to set clients at ease
We initially started out by taking photographs on the old railway line next to the Chocolate Path. I like to start out with very informal shots, usually incorporating a bit of movement on the part of my client, before moving on to anything close up. Shots like these are less pressurising; they give you the time to walk off any nervous energy and get used to being on camera, while also serving as a nice little warm up for me. While I tend to see these shots purely as a bit of practice before we get going properly, the ones we took at this session ended up looking quite nice!
Creative headshots for creative people
After warming up, we did a variety of full-length shots around the railway tracks, before moving on to close-ups at Mshed. There are some really gorgeous textures and backdrops around this part of the harbourside - it's actually one of my top recommendations for headshots in Bristol - and we made use of pretty much all of them. The red Mshed shutters and the blue panels at the Olive Shed in particular served as great backdrops! Kirsty brought a few different jackets and accessories to wear, and we made sure to incorporate them all at each location, to get a range of moods and colours.
In the end, I sent around 40 finished photos to Kirsty, and the turnaround time was just under two weeks. I'm usually not stingey with the amount of images I turn over; I don't have a set amount, and I don't charge extra for more images - ultimately if I think a photo has turned out nicely, I'm probably going to edit it and send it over to you. That being said, 40 is a lot, even for me! I was just having so much fun on the day that I took way more photographs than usual! For most headshot sessions, you can expect around 20 images to be sent over to you.
One year on, I'm still super pleased with how the photos of Kirsty turned out - not to mention that the session itself felt really creatively stimulating! Be sure to check out Kirsty's website to see the photos in action - and also to learn more about her work! She really is a fantastic poet, and she runs all sorts of interesting classes and workshops around Bristol!