With any project there’s so much work that happens after the shoot. One of the first & most important steps is to choose which image(s) will be worked on further and retouched for final delivery.

If it’s not something your used to doing, making selections from a gallery of images can be an tough process. Picking the ‘right’ photos can be overwhelming. I wanted to share some insights/tips to help with this process, along with information about how my proofing galleries work and how you can get the most from them. In this post i’m going to use an actors headshot session to help illustrate my points.

As there isn’t a limit to how many images are taken during an actors headshot session, the first step is usually for me to run through a ‘fist pass’ and choose which images will be presented in the proofing gallery. Typically i’ll do this on the same day as the shoot whilst it’s still fresh in my mind. When skimming through the library of images i’ll look out for photos which are ‘better & different’ both in technical terms (focus, lighting & sharpness etc) and the actors performance (expression, feeling & believability). I’ll then cull through those images again and look for any that stand out as my favourites.

A typical proofing gallery. Click to enlarge.

I’ll upload those images to a proofing gallery which is split into different sets (think of a set as being a playlist, it’s a collection of images from the main gallery) in this case there are 2 sets, one which contains all of the images ‘headshot session’ and one which contains just my selections ‘Tom’s favourites’.

Navigating the gallery, each set represents different selections. Click to enlarge.

Once everything has been setup i’ll invite you to become a collaborator, viewing the gallery you can scroll through thumbnails of your images or click onto each one for a closer look. You can mark photos as favourites by selecting the heart icon just above it and share individual images or the whole gallery using the share features.

Now comes the hard work, selecting the images that will be used. My recommendation would be to look through the whole gallery and mark as many as you like as a favourite by selecting the ‘heart’ icon above the image. Once you’ve finished the first pass, you can then check out just your favourites and go through those again removing ones which aren’t the best. Don’t feel pressured into making your final selections immediately, sometimes it can be a good idea to take a break and return with fresh eyes. It can be really helpful to gain someone else’s insight, your agent for example might have an idea in mind for what would well for you so feel free to share the gallery with them. They’ll be able to mark their own favourites and collaborate with you on making final choices.

Add images to your 'favourites' to create a short-list. Click to enlarge.

Once you’ve finished selecting your favourites they can put into their own set, allowing others to view and add them into their own list. This is especially useful when collaborating with different people such as an art director, producer, retoucher or even the end client. After selections have been finalised i’ll start work on them ready for delivery.


Easily share the gallery & your favourites with an agent or with me when your finished.


In closing there’s a few important aspects to consider when choosing the right images for an actors headshot portfolio;

  • Usually the best options will be obvious, they’ll stand out more than others.
  • Choose a variety of images that showcase you.
  • Don’t pick photos which are all very similar.
  • Don't worry about the little things, something you notice about your appearance others might not.