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Why the photo shoot is only part of the job

A rule of thumb in the photography business is that 30% of each assignment is the actual photo shoot. That means if I take an hour in the studio to shoot head shots with you, I’m spending about two and a half hours on all the other tasks necessary to deliver your final photos.

A common response when I share this is, “Huh? What in the world would take that much time?” If you’ve never been a professional photographer, you’d have no way to know.

The first thing to remember is that my job is to deliver photos that will represent you or your business brand in a professional, polished and appealing way. The images you purchase will be used to make an impression, and they’ll probably be used many times, in many ways, for many years. So, there’s more at stake than texting a quick vacation photo to your Mom. More steps to take, too.

Let me explain what happens before and after the time we spend together photographing.

Before the shoot

The advance work I do will vary depending on each particular situation. Obviously, one or two headshots for your LinkedIn profile will take less time than images for a large campaign or a website redesign. If I’m shooting your engineers’ product design process or photographing everyone on your sales staff, quick won’t get the job done.

  • Planning. First, I’ll talk to you to learn your goals and brainstorm ideas. I’ll ask you how you plan to use the photos and how many images you want. We might discuss different options to consider. You might want me to enlist a makeup artist. Sometimes there will be follow-up discussions, especially when it’s a more involved shoot. I’ll use all this information to draw up a work agreement that outlines expectations.
  • Research. After we talk, I conduct research. This could include research about you, your business, your website, the shoot location, or more. I want to be sure I understand the environment, business, or personality I am representing as well as the current trends in your particular field.
  • Location visit. I visit every location beforehand so I can understand the spatial and lighting conditions. I’ll scout the best angles and find ideal spots so I don’t take time doing this when we’re shooting.
  • Equipment prep. As a final step before the shoot, I make sure I have the right equipment set up in my studio or packed in my bags. This can vary more than you might think depending on the shoot and what the location may require.

In the before photo example above there is staining and tire marks on the concrete. With sun coming up from behind the sky was too light and the plane too dark. The entire photograph was fine-tuned to draw attention to the airplane which was important for the client since they were showcasing their aircraft.

After the shoot

At this stage, I am sitting in front of a computer a lot!

  • Narrowing down the choices. One shoot will produce many images, so every photographer also needs to be a photo editor, carefully selecting the images that come closest to meeting your goals. Some images can be discarded quickly, others require a closer look. I cull the first big group down to the best choices. (For headshots, we might do this together on the day of the shoot.) At this stage, I also do some preliminary correcting and cropping.
  • Getting your input. We view the edited selection together and make final choices. This is a good time to review your goals and make sure we’ve checked all your boxes. (Do you need special dimensions for social media or your website? Do you have just the right image for your home page or brochure? How about your LinkedIn headshot?)
  • Retouching process. I use photography processing software to fine-tune the digital photo files, making sure the colors pop, the contrast is right, and distracting details are removed. The process of enhancing digital photo files ensures you get the best possible images — both professional and appealing.
  • Delivery! I place your processed images in a password-protected gallery so you can download the digital photos files. They are now ready to use!

70% + 30% = great results for you!

Hopefully by now, your “huh?” has turned into “aha!” That 70% of work I’m doing when we’re not together is truly important. It means I can do the best possible job for you so that your investment pays off.

For more information on how I can give you 100% of my time, email or call to get the conversation started. Let’s make great pictures together so that you and your business can live out loud with confidence and attract the clients you’ve been dreaming of!

Schedule your conversation with Stacy 

[email protected]


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