top of page

Practice Studio Headshots Anytime!

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

Studio Headshots With a Mannequin Head

As a photographer, what do you do if you want to practice different studio lighting techniques, but do not have a subject to take pictures of? There are times late at night when I want to practice shooting, but because it is late, there is no one available for me to practice my techniques on. It can be difficult to wait on someone else to become available for you to take a portrait of. However, there is a solution to this problem which will allow photographers to always have a subject available to practice shooting on, and that solution is a mannequin head!

I believe it is essential for photographers to keep learning and practicing their craft. When I am not shooting portraits for clients, I am practicing taking photographs using a mannequin head which I own in my studio. This is a piece of equipment which I believe all photographers should own! I am constantly practicing shooting with different angles, lighting, colors, lenses, and modifiers, and I use the mannequin head as my subject during these practice shoots. There is so much creativity that can be achieved, and the possibilities really are endless! The ability to express my creativity is one of the things I love most about photography.

Some of the advantages of a mannequin head are as follows:

1) Always Available for Studio Headshots

There will never be a time where your mannequin head will not be available to shoot! Any time of day or night, you will be able to practice any lighting technique you desire! This is such a great benefit because it allows you to not be fully dependent on other’s schedules.

2) Portability

A mannequin head is small enough to easily travel around with. If you need to take it to another studio location, or to an outdoor location, it is a very easy piece of equipment to carry around with you. You can find mannequin heads around 20” in height.

3) You Can Take Your Time Adjusting Lighting

Some photographers may feel the need to rush when moving lighting equipment around when they have an actual client in studio. This worry is eliminated while practicing with a mannequin head. You can take your time adjusting lighting and make sure that you get your desired effect. Once you have a better understanding of where your lights need to be in order to achieve a certain lighting effect (such as Rembrandt or Loop lighting), then it will be much easier to adjust your lights when you have an actual client in your studio.

With proper practice using a mannequin head, you will be able to become more creative with your lighting techniques, as well as more efficient during your studio sessions with actual clients.


There are many professionals and entrepreneurs who work in a business environment who would love to visit a professional photographer in order to have an in studio headshot session. Also, all actors need headshot images as part of their portfolio in order to show casting directors. Actors, entrepreneurs, realtors, and other business professionals not only need headshots that are lit properly, they also may need guidance on posing and facial expressions, as well as proper clothing choices, depending on the particular look that is trying to be achieved. A photographer must be able to accommodate each of their client's unique desires. Many clients will want retouching done to their digital images, so allowing clients to purchase retouching services is a must.

I really enjoy the editing/retouching process that comes shortly after a studio session. I typically start the process same day after my last appointment. Retouching may take hours, but the time goes by fast when you are having fun!


Putting in the time, effort, and practice when it comes to learning about studio lighting, posing, and retouching will build your experience and lead to happy clients who are comfortable working with you. This is essential to building a successful brand.

If you would like to schedule a session for corporate headshots or actor headshots with me, feel free to contact me at!

Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram and YouTube!


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page