A potential client contacted me a few weeks ago inquiring about having an actor's head-shot done. She was very specific about what she wanted and seemed to like what she had seen of my work. I forwarded her some information about the way that I work, the fee and my deliverables. We then set up an appointment and she asked if I would mind if she sent me her ideas about the shoot. I love when a client is personally invested in this process, so I naturally said, yes, please do! She then sent along a Word document listing her goals for the shoot, what she thought the head-shot should be or entail, as well as a list of questions.
To a portrait photographer, this is what a great shoot looks like. That isn't to say that everyone needs to do this! In fact, most subjects are actually rather unsure of what is going to happen when they arrive at my studio or I at their location. When possible, I prefer to have a pre-shoot conference, either in a separate sit-down, or if that's not possible, immediately before the shoot. My objective is to explain the process, answer any questions and to solicit any input that the subject would like to contribute. I cannot speak for other head-shot photographers, but I really appreciate input from my client. The great thing about the actress to whom I was referring was that once we started, she wasn't into micro-managing the session. She had shared her vision with me before we met and my job was to make her vision reality. I hope the work speaks for itself.
I work with all kinds of clients, creating actor head-shots as well as corporate head-shots, although I prefer to call the latter, corporate portraits. Irrespective of the client though, having a vision and goals in mind before the shoot begins is key.