KNOPFoto Headshot Prep Checklist & FAQ's

Welcome to the Knopfoto team!

We want to congratulate you on taking this next step in your career. Our goal in this process is to create the you, that you want to play.

Your headshots are one of the most important tools for your career as a performer. Good headshots can be the greatest investment you’ll make. To ensure you are getting the best out of your investment, you’ll want to prep for your photoshoot. This FAQ sheet will assist you in your preparation.

(Time + Energy = Better Photos.)


Ask yourself:

  • What kind of performer do you want to be?
  • What shows do you dream of being on?
  • What stars do people say you most remind them of?
  • What is your “type?”

Answering these questions will help us best figure out what looks we will create for you the day of your shoot.

We want to create images that are the best representation of who you are, and the roles you want to portray. Try to prepare for your photoshoot as if you have a HUGE audition, show, or event coming up. You want to feel and look your best.


Book out your shoot date

We recommend, depending on the package you’ve purchased, that you allow for 2 extra hours in case we run over on time.

Talk to your people

Ask your agents, managers, publicists, teachers, coaches, etc. what they need/want for your shoot. I promise you amazing photos but can’t promise your reps will love them if you don’t consult with them and aren’t clear about what they want. I am happy to chat with them personally before the shoot as well to make sure we are all working together as a team.

Ask your reps/coach to send you samples of the kind of shots that they love/use of some of their other clients—ideally in your category so we can go for that. Ask them to be as specific as possible.

  • What kinds of roles are you being submitted for? 
  • What is your type?  AND ask people in your life how they see you.  What roles do they see you playing?

Although I have never had to do a re-shoot, I will not do one if your reps want something we didn’t cover. Take the time to discuss the kind of shots, characters, etc., that they want you to have or not have. 


We work with the best professional make-up/hair artists. We recommend (BOTH) MEN and WOMEN  book hair/make-up to create all your desired looks. It is extremely helpful in the shooting process as we are more likely to create the look correctly the first time around, we’ll have someone on set to pat down fly-aways and fix any wardrobe malfunctions while you’re getting your photos taken.

  • Please give us a heads up if you know you want to book make-up so we can ensure someone will be there to work for you on your shoot.
  • If you chose to forego makeup/hair, I can definitely assist you as best I can.  However, I do charge an extra $30 for supplies/re-stocking.

**IMPORTANT NOTE:**  Your hair & makeup artists are there for you!  At the end of the day, you need to be happy with how you look in the photos.  Not them.  So if you aren’t happy with anything they are doing---SPEAK UP.  They will not be offended.  They are here to help you feel and look your best.

Who should we contact for hair and makeup?

I work with a few makeup artists that I love. They are all experienced in film & TV, with a strong attention to detail and great attitudes.   I always recommend using my artists before using somebody I’ve never worked with, however, if you have someone you feel comfortable with them and their work, that’s fine too. If you’re happy, I’m happy!

If I decide against hiring a hair/makeup artist, what should I bring?

  • WOMEN: If you would like to skip the hair/makeup option, please be sure to arrive with light hair and makeup already done.
  • Bring your makeup for touchups, like: mascara, a light concealer, lipsticks/gloss, powder, as well as any hair products or accessories you usually use, just in case.
  • MEN:  Come with clean hair, and face.  Bring your grooming products: Hair gel, shavers, etc.  Make sure you send me photos of yourself in advance, in case we haven’t met- so I know what color skin tone you are.


You need to be HD ready. We shoot high resolution. Prep like you are going in to test shoot for your dream role.

(**see RECOMMENDATIONS sheet if you need referrals**)


(applies for both MEN and WOMEN)


  • Get it done the way you love it. 
  • If you’re going to get a hair-cut or color, do it at least ONE WEEK BEFORE. (In case something goes wrong, you’ll need time to fix it.)
  • Fix bad extensions, roots, color, etc. My makeup/hair stylists are extremely talented but they aren’t here to give you a great cut.
  • Come with CLEAN, DRY hair.  Please!  There is not much we can do with greasy hair, or hair full of dandruff.  It takes time away from shooting to try and remedy these things.
  • Bring your products with you, or styling tools that you depend on.

Eyebrows: Do you have unruly eyebrows? Eyebrows are extremely important in photos.  So do attend to them.    

Beards/5’ O Clock Shadow: Trim any unruly hairs and make sure your beard is unkempt. If you want to shoot photos with ‘scruff’ for a more edgy look…we will shoot that first.  So please bring your shavers with you.

Nails:  Make sure your nails are clean and filed.  I don’t usually get hands in photos, but it does happen.  If you are wearing polish, try to pick a pale, neutral color.


  • Get a facial if you can about a week before as well.  Go to someone you have used before to avoid any breakouts, rashes, etc.
  • Drink plenty of water all week
  • Get plenty of sleep for the week before if you can.  GET SLEEP!!!!


  • You don’t need to buy a whole new wardrobe for headshots.  Bring clothing that you feel comfortable in and that you actually wear.  Don’t shy away from some items that are a little worn in, it may be what we need to create a specific look.
  • You don’t want your shots to look like you’re wearing a costume.
  • But make sure that your clothing is clean, pressed, lint and stain free and also that it fits you.
  • Bring options to LAYER
  • Pack your clothes the night before at least, to avoid last minute stress on the day.
  • Clothing you get COMPLIMENTED in
    • IE: “That color looks great on you!”  Whatever color THAT is…BRING IT!  That color makes your eyes pop, and your skin tone look great---BRING IT!
  • You in a different shirt does not necessitate a different “look” or “character.”
  • NO costumes
    • EX: We created a “Silicon Valley” look with a client by layering a button up and a hoodie. The next look was a shirt and leather jacket in a different setting to make him look more like a “detective.” But the looks aren’t costumes, they are clothing that suggest a certain personality trait/character.
    • Avoid logos or large prints/graphics unless otherwise approved by us
    • Avoid super busy patterns


  • TANKS/T-Shirts.  White, black, colors.   Please!  Have a variety of white t-shirts and tanks with different necklines that are clean and pressed.   Try to make sure that they fit properly. 
  • BRAS: (Women): Nude bra (basic), strapless bra, and black.  Again make sure they fit you properly.  I can’t stress this enough.  Bring a bunch of bras so that they look right under whatever you have on. 
  • LAYERS/JACKETS: Cardigans, hoodies, blazers, light jackets, leather, and sport coats.  I like to layer clothing, and a simple switch to a different jacket over a tank or tee shirt gives you an entirely different look & more options. 
  • SIMPLE STUD EARRINGS (Women & Girls)—and some guys too: if your ears are pierced.  Jewelry and accessories that you like to wear.  We will incorporate some jewelry if we are going for a certain look.    I tend to like a little diamond stud-but it is up to you.  But the smaller the better in this case, and no patterns or designs, or colors—are the rule mostly here.
  • JACKET & TIE (Men): Bring some options for ties, dress shirts, etc.  I like to pair a t-shirt under a sports jacket and jeans for a subtler look.   …Maybe a fun t-shirt underneath with a splash of color?
  • DO: Bring a cool black tie that we can mix with a white T-shirt, perhaps, and a black sport coat, for example—to get that hipster look, or just a little edgy and cool. 
  • (Women)  A blazer, or a suit can always look great with jeans and a white t-shirt, or a colored tank under, etc.   They can lend to a hint of ‘cop’, ‘lawyer’, some kind of professional, or can be a little more Upper East Side—kind of ‘Gossip Girl’ with a little bit of hair and makeup—and the occasional headband.
  • JEANS/PANTS: Different options.  Faded, dark, ripped, etc.  Dress pants…  We will probably on see the tops of the pants, but bring options that fit you well especially around the waist.  Options.
  • SHIRTS: or dresses (women) with great necklines, colors, textures.   The most important thing is that the tops fit you properly and flatters your skin tone, and body.  Try to pick clothing that accents your shape, and best assets.  We can always clamp things to ‘cheat’ an improper fit, but again that is time that we can spend shooting. You want to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing.    MEN: PLEASE BRING PLAIN WHITE T-SHIRTS.  BOAT & V-Neck if possible WOMEN: WHITE Tanks clean
  • PRINTS/FLORALS:  I love a little floral dress, or delicate patterns to wear under a cute cardigan, or jean jacket.  Little prints tend to bring out color in my opinion, subtler than a solid.   
  • COLORS: I tend to like to add brighter colors as an under layer, shoe, watch, whatever—unless we are going for a very commercial what look. 
  • What is your color scheme for your website? 
    • Bring those colors.  Also, let me know is in advance ­
    • So I can try to have some matching backdrops.  ***
  • KIDS: Bring on the color.  Think GAP adds.
  • ACCESSORIES: Barrettes, headbands, etc., necklaces bracelets, scarves, watches. It’s nice to have subtle options to give the pictures more ‘you’ in them.  Meaning, if you wear a certain bracelet all the time, or a chain, for example then we might keep it on.  I don’t want to ‘date’ the photos with over the top stuff, but small hints of personality are welcome.

Can you give me some ideas of what to look for?            

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How are you cast?  How have you been cast so far?
  2. How would you like to be cast? 
  3. What roles are you dying to play, and you know you can, but your pictures just don’t reflect that.
  4. Who do people say (famous) that you remind them of?  Your agents will be pitching you like a “younger, quirkier, Charliize Theron, or: “He’s like Patrick Dempsey mixed with a funny- Heath Ledger.   Like it or not, you will be ‘type’ cast for a little while at least.  And it’s OK.  Because if you know your ‘niche’ you will get work.
  5. And again, I repeat, talk to your reps. Ask them how they want to sell you.  What kind of roles do they see you playing?  What shows or movie genres are they targeting for you?  Are they pitching you for “Glee” or the Disney Channel, and you look more “HBO?”  Let’s find a happy medium. 
  6. What is your ‘BRAND?”  Have you created one already, or do we want to develop one for you?


  • The more relaxed you are—the better your photos will turn out.    
  • Treat yourself to a massage; take a steam, a bath, whatever it is that relaxes you the day before or in the morning so you are as stress free as possible.


I like to be hospitable and offer a few light snacks and coffee, since it’s very important to stay bright eyed and bushy tailed for pictures. However, I do encourage clients to bring drinks and snacks to help keep energy up. Try to bring some real food, like a sandwich or something with protein so you have sustained energy.   If you’re not feeling 100% it will show up in your pictures and that’s not what we want!   And please try to limit the coffee!  I want you relaxed not jacked up on Starbucks.


  • Eat a good breakfast on the morning of your shoot to sustain you.
  • Bring food/snacks you like to eat for the shoot.    


  • Don't start a ‘cleanse’ the week of your shoot.  Having no energy for your photos is a ‘no-no.’
  • If you feel you want to lose a few pounds before your shoot, try to push your shoot for however long that will take.


  • ARRIVAL: I will invite you (and all the clothes) inside, where we have a garment rack, hangers and plenty of room to spread out. After everything is out, we’ll pick your basic ‘looks’ for the day. 
  • HAIR/MAKEUP: You will then get into hair and makeup and I will decide on the first set up while you’re getting beautified.
  • I encourage men to use one of my makeup/hair stylists as well, but I am happy to help you with basic grooming if you decide not to.    I really like to have one of my makeup artists at the shoot, for nothing else than to have another ‘eye’ on you.  My focus should be on taking your photos, not on the hair in your eyes!
  • When you’re ready, we will do some ‘test’ shots for the light, clothing, and hair/makeup.  If we love it, we start.  Or we make some changes.  Try to be patient. 


What if I’m early/late?
Please arrive at your scheduled time.  If you are running late, please give me a call as soon as possible, so I know you are still on your way, and I can make arrangements.  But please try to be on time.

What kind of lighting do you use?
I like to use both natural and studio light.  But I like to try to use mostly controlled natural light for headshots.  Hopefully the weather will be kind to us!

What happens if the weather is bad?
The weather is a bit unpredictable.  So, I do like to pick a rain date/alternate if possible. 

How can I make sure I’m getting what I need during a session?
I will show you on my camera throughout the shoot how the pictures are coming, and make adjustments as needed.  This is collaboration.    The better you look, the better I look.


After a shoot, I go through, on average, 300-500 shots per individual, then (edit any blurry/blink-y/transition-y faces and whittle the pictures down to a more manageable amount of only stellar, print-ready material, usually around 200-300+ shots.   This definitely varies per individual. 

ONLINE GALLERY: Your shots will be color corrected, edited and published to an online gallery within approx. 4-5 biz days.  The link for your gallery will never expire.

Please tell us whether you want a gallery of only our ‘selects’ or for the entire shoot to be viewable. 

HIGH RES IMAGES: of the entire shoot if requested, or only the narrowed down selects will be sent to you via Hightail/ as soon as they are ready.  If you are unable to burn a disc, please let us know and we will burn one for you for an additional $5.00

PRINTING:  We recommend having your photos printed at Argentum or Reproductions Photo Lab.  We are happy to announce that Knopfoto clients will receive a 20% discount on their printing.  But both labs are premium labs and offer a wide variety of prices and options.

RETOUCHING: Please give me approx. 5 -7 business days to complete your retouching upon selection.  You will receive a ‘proof’ photo to make any additional minor adjustments. 

Additional photos:  per photo for minor retouching $40h/photo.  (Prices can vary depending on time)

We strongly suggest not posting any unretouched photos to your online casting sites, or anywhere.  They just look so much better when they are polished.  Shots that you publish will always be there.  Even if you delete them.  Web only retouching is $15-20/per photo. 


I am thrilled when you love my photos, but please remember to give your team photo credit whenever possible.  Credit is a must or anything in print, or online publication.  For sites like Facebook, IMDB, Twitter, etc., please write Photo by Sascha Knopf:  Also please credit your styling team if applicable as well.  They will give you their information for credits. 

Thanks for reading all this!    Please try to send me some of your old photos that you have been using so I can get some ideas, and a link to your reel if you have one.  It will help me, and the hair/makeup stylist to “see” you before you arrive.    Add me on Facebook if you dare, so I can get to know you in ‘real’ life.  Please like my FB page as well:   Follow on Ingstagram @Sascha_Knopf_photography

Here’s to your best headshots EVER! 

See you soon!   Xo Sascha & Co.