Shannon Cusello

The Art of the Headshot


Headshots can be tricky - clients, jobs, and audiences often see your professional headshot before they meet you, so showing the right side of yourself is really important. Speaking at an important professional conference? The headshot for that would be different than one for a fun creative partnership, so having several photos of yourself that you love is of utmost importance. Just as you put on your favorite socks to give yourself an extra confidence boost on a big, day, so too should you be excited when someone asks for a headshot - when you have ones you love, you know you're putting your best foot forward! 

Getting Photographed? What to Focus On and Wear

For many people, headshots are the first time they're stepping in front of a professional camera and the experience can be a bit overwhelming. But never fear, that's where having a great photographer who you trust can come in handy! It's your job to leave the house looking and feeling awesome, and it's the photographer's job to make sure you look awesome in the photo.

Before you go to your shoot, ask your photographer what kind of lighting they use; both natural and artificial light can look awesome, but each will be a different experience and they can help you understand what to expect. Bring three or four outfit options; I recommend several solid-colored tops in bright colors, since patterns (especially text) can be distracting and black can be too dark. Pick things that make you feel really awesome about yourself! Next, make sure you're well-groomed; shave if you like, comb your hair, and ladies should apply natural looking makeup. I find that even if you don't normally wear them, foundation and concealer help skin look fresh, and a photographer can bring in a hair and makeup artist if you ask. Finally, try your best to get a full 8 hours of sleep before, so you make sure you'll look well-rested and refreshed. 

Let's Do This: What to Expect From Our Shoot

For each headshot session, we chat first so I can be sure I know exactly how you plan on using the photos and what you'd like to accomplish with them. I love getting to know my clients and making friends before I even pick up the camera, and I want to make sure you're totally comfortable. At the shoot, I suggest good wardrobe options that really let you shine, and can have a hair and makeup artist come help if you'd like. I also specially design the lighting to flatter your lovely features, either through natural light with a reflector, or with studio flash. The shoot itself is fun and relaxed - we put some music on, talk up a storm, and get images that you're really excited about. I let you preview the shots to make sure you love what we've captured, and let you pick the shots you like best (I'm happy to make recommendations too!).  After the shoot I carefully edit each shot and do a gentle refresh in Photoshop to make sure your skin is clear and your eyes twinkle before delivering the photos to you digitally so you can start using them right away. 

I hope those tips help! Here are a few headshots I've taken, which includes actresses, professionals and entrepreneurs. Enjoy!

Anti-Hibernation Scene

I'll be the first to admit that I've been hibernating. 

With winter seriously set in, a birthday, new apartment, trip to Vermont for the holidays, jetset to Sydney and Melbourne for a couple weeks, and work up the wazoo, December and January have been a whirlwind. That coupled with a serious artistic drain in the aftermath of my recent show at Submerge, a shift in a new direction was much needed. I did take some super sweet Instagram snaps along the way - you can check those out HERE, and I'll be doing a round-up from my travels Down Under.  

But never fear, I'm back for 2013 and ready to continue with more photos and video in the works!  I'm planning some big thematic and visual changes for GoKateShoot in the coming months, and am really excited. In the meantime, I'll continue sharing what I'm shooting, with interesting characters, wild style, and adventures sure to end in calamity! 

Per usual, as I'm sure you know by now. 

These photos are from a series of nights out on the town in late November - a little jaunt to the Warby Parker VIP party, which was insanely trendy and had truly excellent music (and glasses on a bus, whee!) is coupled with the social photos I took at Submerge, where I was showing, and snaps from Shannon Cusellos oh-so-fabulous birthday bash. The usual cast of characters are all fabulous and present, plus photos of Eliot getting hugged by, well, EVERYONE! Edgy and DC street with a little dash of crazy, these night out styles are to die for. Make it to the end - I really, really love that last photo.

Enjoy, and welcome back!

Ink and Moonshine

The lovely lady DJ from ESL at the FNO Media Soiree with the most perfect makeup

Summer is waning, the press are asking for my trend picks for fall, Fashion's Night Out (FNO) VIP party and shooting plans are being made (or broken, if I jet to Tahoe a bit earlier than anticipated...), and I can't seem to stop buying booties (no but seriously, I need them). And while I'm ready for fall, I'm still having a blast celebrating the end of summer, and have style photos to prove it. From the FNO Media Soiree to a moonshine-fueled, ultra-late night at the Passenger, I'm loving the edgy city style that seems to get better by the day. 

Photos below. 

And, for those of you who have been asking every day, Trillectro photos are done. They're coming. I promise. Getting #trill in honor of the weekend in a super-ultra-mega post tomorrow, so get hype!!

Matt, at Rue 14, fresh white T and ink

Insanely beautiful color at the Dupont Farmer's Market

Mixed prints and chilling with Holly Thomas, editor of Refinery 29 for DC

Thirst DC co-founder Eric Schulze, with moonshine he brought to an intimate cocktail party I hosted

Shannon Cusello, Manager of salon mecca Immortal Beloved and her hilarious reaction to moonshine

Mick Perrigo, bartender and booze guru at the Passenger, with his ink and trusty scooter

Straight skateboard chillin' outside the Passenger, late night

Mick's style...we met when I photographed him for a Washingtonian Magazine style feature

Tom the chef, in a great summer shirt and porkpie hat outside the Passenger

GoKateShoot for Washingtonian: Shannon Cusello

Photo has introduced me to many people, including my close friend, the adorable and fiesty Shannon Cusello, manager at trendy salon mecca Immortal Beloved. I met Shannon at the Refinery 29 launch last fall (a moment documented HERE), and we've worked on several projects together since then. Her style is very Brigitte Bardot goes to Austin, all voluptuous flaming hair, French silhouettes, and rockstar girlfriend details. 

I had the pleasure of shooting Miss Shannon for Washingtonian Magazine. I'm slightly behind releasing the outtakes, but here they are! Check them out below, and then bop over to the full post HERE. She's also rocking new accessories from DC accessory designer Ciao Nina...who doesn't love beautiful hair flowers, studs, and bows? 

I'm still in SF working and tearing all over town finding little coffee shop nooks, the best giant avocados I've ever had (35 cents for one?!), and swooning over the street style. Though I was warned by friends near and far that I'd love the city, I've been swept off my feet. I'm falling hard for San Francisco... ;)