Large Groups Headshots in Washington, DC

FAQ and General Information

By Dennis Drenner on 24 Apr 2017

Organizing headshots for your office can be like herding cats. So if you're the one in charge of this, give yourself a hug and have a stiff drink on me. After your drink, relax and know I'm here to help! Please take a minute to read the info below, and let me know any questions.

The Pop Up Studio

I often pack up my studio gear and set it up at your place of business. I can photograph just a handful to over a hundred people in a day. It's very convenient as an employee can leave their desks for just a few minutes, have their headshot session, and then get right back to posting on Insta... ummm, working on that critical spreadsheet.

Location shoots fall into two broad categories: 20 or fewer people, and groups of more than 20.

20 People or Less

With this sized group there is time for a longer session with each subject, giving me the very best results. We have time to experiment with different clothing options and backgrounds, as well as make subtle lighting adjustments for each individual face. And most helpfully, there is time for each person to get comfortable in front of the camera.

More Than 20 People

When we have more than 20 people to shoot in a day, there isn’t as much time for a lot of tweaking. We need to choose one background option and stick to it, and don't have as much time for experimentation. But I can still get great headshots this way! We can also set aside extra time to make sure your VIPs get special attention.

Requirements for the Shooting Space

I like to have a shooting space that is about 15 feet square with easy access to electricity -- though I can squeeze into tighter spaces if necessary. (A few weeks ago I squished my studio gear between a fake palm tree and a steaming tray of quesadillas!) If the space has some privacy that is also nice, so people being photographed don't feel like they're onstage.

Often I work in empty offices or conference rooms. If you have any questions about the suitability of your space, please email me some photos.


Having a rough schedule, particularly for big groups, is very helpful. The train will almost always go off the rails a bit, but it’s best not to start with utter chaos. For groups under 20 people, 15-20 minutes per subject works well. For larger groups, more like 5-10 minutes per person.

You may also want to schedule extra time for your VIPs so I can give them extra time and photo love.

Preparing Your Team For The Shoot

Beg, badger, cajole, threaten... please just make sure your people to take 60 seconds to read over the tips below before shoot day. To get the best headshot results, a bit of preparation goes a long way. Contrary to popular belief, Photoshop can't, with the push of a button, give someone a shave, haircut and new suit!



Please wear solid or simple patterns with dark to mid-toned colors. You should avoid bright whites and bold patterns. In your headshot we want the attention on your face, not on your clothing. Splashes of color (like a red shirt under a dark blazer) are good. Ideally, bring a few options-- different shirts, jackets, ties, jewelry, scarves.

Blouses for ladies should not too low cut or they could end up being cropped entirely out of the frame (and it will look like you are doing a naked headshot shoot!)

Makeup and Grooming

I don't usually recommend makeup for men. It can help, but unless you're an actor or TV personality, the makeup is more likely to make you uncomfortable and isn't worth the trouble. Men should pay extra attention to grooming their facial hair. I can't give you a clean shave with Photoshop!

For women, keep the makeup simple and flat, but a bit heavier than usual is OK as the camera takes some off.

Hair and Makeup Artists

A makeup artist can really help improve the quality of the photos, especially if you have a lot of ladies to be photographed. I don't have a MUA on staff but am happy to recommend some of my local favorites. You would have to double-check with the MUA for prices, though it is generally about $125 per person or $600 for a day.

Also- having a lot of people go through makeup slows things down and is only practical for groups under 20.

What if Someone Misses The Shoot

It is common with large groups for someone to miss their shoot due to sickness, last minute meetings, wolverine attack, etc. When this happens, I will usually schedule a makeup session at my studio.

Session Fees

For groups of 20 or less, I usually charge a flat fee for my time and include a retouch or two per subject. For larger groups, especially where the final tally is unclear, I charge a fee for my time, and then bill later for the retouched images.

There are many variables in these large group shoots so I usually quote each project individually. To give you a ballpark, rates start at $1100 for a four hour shoot with 10 subjects.

Image Delivery and Retouching

Within a day or two of our shoot, I will place all the best images in an online gallery that you can share with your colleagues.

The next step is to gather everyone's favorite images for retouching. I find it much easier to communicate with one person at your company who can email me a list once everyone has decided. It usually just takes me another two days to do all the retouching and send you a link with the final images.

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