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Headshots in a hurry: a speedy portrait shoot for wine expert Jane Parkinson

How an unusual request and a tight deadline put my shooting and organisational skills to the test

It’s 2pm on a chilly Wednesday afternoon. I’ve just returned from a bracing dog walk, and the kettle is on the boil. I pour the steaming water into my mug and wait for my tea to brew – a warming accompaniment to another hour of editing before collecting the kids from school.

My phone rings. It’s Jane Parkinson: wine expert, journalist and TV presenter. She needs a headshot to accompany her new column in The Metro, and she needs it fast. As in, within the hour.

As luck would have it, Jane lives just down the road. So I grab my gear, jump in the car, and proceed to break a series of personal records:

Jane Parkinson portrait
Jane's warm and friendly demeanour shines through, as she raises a glass

1) Briefing meeting: 3 minutes

Jane fills me in on what she needs, and we discuss how to achieve it.

2) Location scouting: 4 minutes

This requires some quick thinking. The weather is on our side: light cloud diffuses the sun to create a soft, even light. A quick recce reveals a beautiful flint wall that provides the perfect headshot backdrop.

3) Shooting: 10 minutes

I shoot Jane's portraits in a variety of poses, crops and orientations, incorporating props and a quick outfit change.

4) Post-production: 15 minutes

I cull the images down to my favourite 10, give them a light edit, and prepare them for export.

5) Gallery upload: 4 minutes

With the clock ticking, I set Jane’s portraits to upload to a proofing gallery. At 2.59pm they’re winging their way to her inbox, and I’m putting my coat back on for the school run.

6) Tea-brewing session: 1 hour

Officially the strongest – and coldest – cuppa I have ever made. (And no, I didn't drink it).

By 4pm, Jane’s headshot has been laid out alongside her column in the next day’s edition of The Metro, ready to hit the presses.

Phew, what a whirlwind!

If you’d like to read some of Jane’s wine tips (including advice on what to pair with a Pot Noodle!), here’s a link to her Metro author page:

And this is a link to her website:

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