This is a very important thing to think about before setting up a headshot session because you need to make sure you are going to have enough time to really get what you want.
The easiest way to figure out how long the session should be is by asking yourself a few questions:
1. How many looks are you trying to achieve? To get enough shots for each look, I recommend at least thirty minutes of shooting time for each look. A look is basically one clothing change. If you plan on doing more than one look and you are going to be shooting outdoors, it's usually best to shoot for at least one hour. It is possible however to get more than one look when shooting in the studio because you can easily change and shoot for about fifteen minutes with each look.
2. Are you going to need makeup? Makeup takes about fifteen to twenty minutes for headshots, and if you are going for a glamour look, you will more likely need about forty to fifty minutes. Take this into consideration when choosing a session because the makeup time can definitely eat up time in a shoot. I usually recommend shooting for about an hour at least if you plan on using a makeup artist and want more than one clothing change.
3. Have you ever done a headshot session before? If you haven't done a headshot session before, just getting used to having your photos taken could take between fifteen and thirty minutes, so I usually recommend shooting for at least an hour if you've never had headshots taken before.
Here is a simple chart that might help you in deciding what session to choose based on your needs.
As you can see, the shorter headshots sessions such as the Instant Headshots and Basic Headshots packages are best suited for either business people or actors on a budget who have a lot of experience taking headshots. Because Instant Headshots is such a short session, there's not much time to really delve into getting all of the different looks and bringing out the best characters.
For a new client, it's very difficult to get into the mood and start getting great headshots within 30 minutes to 1 hour of the session starting. For this reason, most headshot photographers shoot sessions that are 4 hours long.
Typically, the shorter sessions are well suited to business people because they don't want to spend a lot of time. Since business headshots are so basic, it is very easy to get the looks that they need in a short amount of time.
The Essential Headshots and Professional Headshots packages, though more expensive, are very well suited to new actors and actors who haven't had many headshots sessions in the past.
I highly recommend actors do the Essential Headshots package with me if they really want their money's worth and want to get a great set of images.
Hopefully this article has been helpful, and if you do have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to ask!