I first met Justine way back in 2009 (I think) when I photographed her family portrait with her Mum and uncles. I then met her and her school girlfriends when they asked me to capture their friendship group portrait when they all graduated from high-school together.

So I was absolutely delighted to capture this next stage of her life with a family portrait of her own! Husband Brad and the two kids were a delight and these shoots is one of the truly joyous reasons I do what I do…

If you’re a budding actor, or a veteran looking to re-fresh your personal brand, then an updated headshot is a must. I’ve worked with loads of agents and actors, so I’ve complied my most asked questions about an actors headshot shoot…

Where does the shoot take place?

The majority of our sessions take place in our studio located in Como, Sydney. Here at the studio we have a full service professional studio as well as gorgeous Hamptons style deck for those natural light and “in situ” editorial style shots. We also have a beautiful garden. If your needs require something different, we are available to go on location for a small fee.

What do I wear for my session?

You should bring plenty of options to the shoot, we will go over it before hand and here’s a link to my Personal Branding eMag that contains my pricing and loads more top prep tips, but here are some pointers for you to get you started:

Always bring clothes that match your style and personality.

Avoid black clothes or white clothes, they tend to lose detail in some photographs. Look for charcoals, navy and creme’s instead.

Stay away from clothes with busy patterns. Solid colors are best.

Make sure any clothes that you bring are clean and neatly pressed. This goes double for collared shirts and suits. The camera picks up a lot more detail than you think.

Blue Jeans always look great on camera, unless they are dingy and torn. For headshots your lower half won’t make it in to most of the pictures, but don’t neglect to pick out some good pants for the shoot.

Make sure to dress comfortable but classy, v-neck and u-neck sweaters and shirts are great. For women tank-tops are always good, stay away from clothes that are too tight or uncomfortable.

Collared button down shirts are great, a solid color with a crisp-clean white shirt underneath for the men and a stylish solid color for women. All shirts need to be clean and pressed.

Be rested and drink plenty of water the day before your shoot, it is amazing for your skin.

Don’t bring any jewelry or props; the shoot is all about you, not accessories.

Any color is great for tops, but remember that bright colors can draw away from your face so pick something muted that matches your eye color and skin tone.

What about hair and makeup?

Hair and makeup is not included in the session fee. Most of the time men can get by without using professional hair and makeup, but we recommend a powder or foundation to help even out skin tones and to keep the face from looking shiny and is helpful if you have fair skin or are prone to redness. You can pick up a powder in your color at any department store, we recommend the MAC counter or a beauty supply store where you can get professional help picking the right color.

For women we always recommend professional makeup. A professional makeup artist knows how to make you look your best for the camera.

You can bring your own makeup artist to the shoot, or we can book our favourite HMUA’s that we work with all the time and love!

Our studio is open for you to have your hair and makeup done before your session, just make sure to let us know when you schedule your appointment.

How long does it take to get my images?

For most headshot sessions our turnaround time is three business days to get your gallery of images. Once you make your retouching selections it is typically another two to three business days before your final, edited images are delivered to you. If you have a deadline and need something even faster, be sure to let us know when you book.

How much retouching do you do?

Straight out of the camera your images will be pretty much ready to go. We use the right lighting and posing techniques to make you look your best. Before we deliver the images to you we sort through and ditch any of the blinky or blurry ones, color-correct and crop them.

You can order images to be digitally retouched as an add on to your session. Each image you order is then given the highest level of attention to reduce and remove wrinkles and blemishes as well as stray hairs and dark circles. The key is to enhance the image without making you look fake.

Getting a facial several days to a week before the shoot can ensure that your skin will look its best. It is important for you to look natural, and too much retouching can make you look fake.

It’s my first time, what kind of acting headshots do I need?

As an actor, the type of shots you need is going to be determined by a few factors including your market (where you live and work), your type (what you look and act like), what you want to audition for and more. Here are a couple of things to consider.

  • You should always consult your agent on what you need. They have experience in the industry and more importantly, they know what you need to book more jobs.
  • If you don’t have an agent yet then by default you want to get a clean, simple, commercial headshot. Basically a smiling, looking-at-the-camera head and shoulders image with minimal retouching to show potential agents and casting directors what you look like.
  • Remember that the majority of casting for film and television, at least in the early stages, is done online. Casting directors look at an array of small thumbnails to determine the initial round of auditions so it’s important that your headshot is impactful and close up. A small thumbnail of your whole body from head to toe will make your face a lot less visable at that size.
  • Don’t worry too much about specific character shots unless directed by your agent. Your two basic looks will be commercial (upbeat and happy) and theatrical (more dramatic).

If you’d like more information about your headshot, you can contact the studio or download our eBook

To make a booking or chat to us in the studio, call 0414 412 069 during business hours or email anytime sam@jettyblue.com.au

Nat and Dug’s wedding in the Snowys last weekend was gorgeous! Nat has lived in Berridale most of her life and Dug is an “import” having followed the call of the mountains from his home town of Newcastle. I knew these two had something up their sleeve, so when Dug suggested he wanted to “jump” his family on his mountain bike – I jumped at the chance! Ha! What could to wrong???

Whether you’re a local or an out-of-towner, I highly recommend the snowy region for your wedding. So many amazing spots for your ceremony and your photos too. Not to mention some actual cottage businesses to cater to your every need with diligence and love. You don’t have to torture yourself with a trip to an inner city hipster market to meet some (not so) “real” wedding vendors, just a short trot down the Hume to Jindabyne.

hair & make up = Mandy Woodhouse and Sarah Mullay from Sheardelight Berridale.
celebrant = Joan Herringer – joan.herringer@gmail.com
ceromony location = the little thredbo river picnic area jindabyne.
DJ = Turps ( Terry McConkey ) mutual friend
cake = Tracies cafe east jindy
car = Damon Mclachlan Nats brother
reception = Panorama Jindabyne www.panoramajindabyne.com.au
Check out their showreel…


Planning a wedding is exciting and terrifying at the same time! For the LGBTI community, it carries even more significance. Many couples have waited, fought and pleaded for their own day in the sun. And now that its here, its real…what the??? Where do you start?!?!?! Just like every couple planning their wedding before them, its impossible not to get caught up in all the excitement and swept along the rapids of other peoples opinions, experiences and hang-ups. You don’t know what you don’t know…right? Right! So asking the RIGHT questions is key when selecting your wedding vendor dream team—not only does it give you an opportunity to negotiate pricing and learn about their process and skills, but it allows them to get to know you better as a couple. I love it when couples come to our initial consultation armed with a list of questions. Mostly they’re the obvious kind of things “how long to I allow for photography?”, “what time is the best light for photos?”…but same sex couples have all these things to consider, PLUS a few more…

I asked a few of my same sex couples about their wedding planning experience, particularly about how they went about choosing their vendors. Michael and Ben said “wedding planning is such a chaotic, stressful and expensive time and come the wedding day, you have put so much time and money to this moment you want to know you have picked the right people for the job. I think with all that in mind we would want nothing more than the support of marriage equality with the vendors that we pick. They are on the magical journey of marriage with you and if we knew the support of equality was not there I think it would affect us mentally and emotionally. You want your vendors to be there celebrating love just as much as you do.”

Traditions of all kind go out the window with same sex weddings (hurrah!) so you’re pioneers in a whole new world! The traditional definitions of bride & groom will be re-written for your wedding. So its 100% up to you what you want to call each other – bride and bride, wife and wife, groom and groom, husband and husband? What will we be called before we’re married vs. after? Forget the “partner” thing. You’ve got a fiance now! Dance a little with it. Who’s name will you take? Will you change your name at all? I never bothered when I married my husband Wayne in 2001 and I copped a HEAP of flack for it. But I just didn’t see the point. I have never been one to jump on a bandwagon just because an antiquated tradition and societal expectations told me I should, so I wasn’t about to start. I spoke to Ben and Michael about how they negotiated the family thing:

“We found that leading up to the wedding you already know what family members are disapproving and would not want to support you. The other family would know as well. Every family is different but for us there was only a few family members that chose not to support our marriage and we did not send them an invitation. At the end of the day it is our wedding and you want to be surrounded by all the love and support in the world when saying your vows to be with the one you love forever.”

Never forget that this is YOUR wedding. You only have one shot at it, so make it whatever YOU want it to be. Don’t make the mistake of generations of heterosexual couples before you and let your wedding day be rail-roaded to suit the agenda of others.


Chat to your celebrant about what are the legal bits of your ceremony and what are the things you have full control over. An industry expert like my good friend Lillian Lyon of Lyonheart Celebrations will guide you through the process and keep you fully informed of your rights and all the details you need to be on top of.

A very important but un-publicised detail that affects you and your ceremony is that from March 9th 2018 all celebrants without exception must declare whether they are a “Marriage Celebrant” or “Religious Marriage Celebrant”. If a celebrant defines themselves as a “marriage celebrant” they by law cannot refuse your booking based on gender preference. Only a religious marriage celebrant can refuse a same sex couple based on their religious beliefs. All celebrants MUST by law display exactly the words “marriage celebrant” or “religious marriage celebrant” on all business material including business cards, advertising, online and social, letterheads and all correspondence. The terms “celebrant” or “civil celebrant” alone are no longer legally accepted. Same sex couples will be able to identify whether a celebrant supports marriage equality or not based on these definitions. Here’s more info about that: http://blog.jettyblue.com.au/2018/03/19/deadline-for-celebrants/

Two dresses? Two suits? One of each? There’s no rules here. If you decide to go with two of something, you could potentially negotiate a better price. But be aware of lead times. Making one gown to a deadline is one thing, preparing two is something else. Work with your dressmaker to set a realistic fitting and delivery schedule. I’ve spoken to brides who have found it almost impossible to find a good fitting tailored suit. I mean just because you don’t want to wear a dress doesn’t mean you have to dress like a man, so definitely don’t think finding a suit will be a breeze compared to finding a bridal gown. I love the work of Shane Ave, “Androgynous formal attire custom made by women for women ~ “Be free to be” ~ Express the inner androgyny in you with attire that makes you feel alive” so check them out.

Floral Artist
Having two bouquets? Two button-holes? Many floral packages come with one bouquet and one boutonniere so make sure to ask if their floral packages are flexible and priced accordingly before signing on the dotted line.

Hair and Makeup
Particularly if you identify as female, hairstylists and makeup artists may assume you want a traditional bridal “natural beauty” look. Communicate exactly the style you’re going for (photos help) and ask if they can provide images of similar looks they’ve created in the past, so you can feel assured you’re both on the same page.

DJ or Band
Entertainment pros are terrific resources for day-of music recommendations, but clarify if you’re seeking tunes that aren’t boy-meets-girl ballads.

Kiss and Tell???
We’d all like to think that what goes on in the bedroom is noone else’s business, but we all have to face the harsh reality that life and society isn’t always sunshine and rainbows (pun intended 😉 A few same sex couples found the dilemma of disclosing their sexual preferences to potential vendors a bit of a dilemma – do they tell and risk potential backlash? or keep quiet and risk an awkward conversation when its too late to change vendors??? Sarah and Bec said “We chose vendors who went out of their way to show us their level of support – this was the most important factor for us. We did run into a few issues with some vendors, where some didn’t even respond to our enquiry! We made it a point to advise all vendors that we are enquiring about a same sex wedding to ensure we had that support from day one.”

For me, shooting a same sex wedding is almost identical in format as a hetero wedding. Sometimes both want photos beforehand, some don’t. EVERY wedding is different from the next so its important to find a shooter that has enough experience to be able to be flexible and deal with changes on the fly. If you’re both getting ready in the same place, do you want photos of you getting ready together? Or separately in different rooms? Are you going to go for something more traditional and not see each other for the 24hrs beforehand? For day-of photography, many photographers either jump back and forth between the couple’s rooms if they’re getting ready separately or have a second shooter capture one while they capture the other. If like me, they mostly shoot solo, talk to them about the getting-ready timeline so they can capture key shots with both of you separately (example: make sure you’re not slipping into your outfits at the same time so the photographer is able to photograph both). If you’re having two photographers, make sure that both shooters are well versed in taking bridal detail photos if you’re two brides. “Second shooters” are usually the ones that get sent to shoot the grooms all the time, so you don’t want to be the first bride they shoot.

Michael and Ben’s thoughts on choosing your photographer: “It’s very important to be comfortable with your photographer. For some heterosexuals it can be uncomfortable getting their photos taken. This is the same for a a same-sex couple, except we also believe that there is another layer of intimidation particularly when you are getting your photo taken in public. One thing the photographer should be aware of is the couple being uncomfortable, nervous and uncertain. A same-sex couple might be comfortable showing affection around family and friends but not necessarily in busy public places. There is a possible history of baggage with every same-sex couple and you want to be confident in your photographer that they are capable of looking after you and making you as comfortable as possible on your special day.”

Choosing your perfect shooter is a task all its own and you can read my top shooter picking tips HERE.

Now that you’re all tooled up and ready to get out there into weddingland – why don’t you connect with me and make a booking to come visit the studio? I’d love to chat to you about your wedding dreams and you can pick my brain and my 20years experience in the industry. It may well save you a lot of unnecessary malarkey!

By Samantha Halpern
B. Visual Communications (Photography & Digital Imaging)
Dip. Fine Arts (Photography)
Fully Accredited Member of the AIPP since 2008

Owner and Principle Photographer at JettyBlue Photography

Email me for a copy of my wedding mag “Forevermore” with loads of wedding day tips and an article with the delightful Lillian Lyon. There’s a very special offer on the back too 😉

sam@jettyblue.com.au 0414 412 069.