Many people wonder how important it is to spend money on high quality headshots. Could it be the difference of booking a job or being overlooked? Here is the 411 on headshots.
As many people in the industry know, everything is expensive.. from editors to edit your reel, acting classes, headshots pr.. etc.. IT ALL ADDS UP. The things we ask ourselves are.. How important is XY and Z and can going cheaper hurt my career?
The most important investment an actor can make are high quality headshots. These are essentially selling yourself to casting directors and is the difference between getting an audition and not getting an audition. Normally these range from $250 to 2k, depending on the photographer (their credentials, if they have a studio etc).
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between hiring a wedding photographer versus a headshot photographer? I mean they both know how to edit, and both most likely took photography classes.. So no big deal, right??
A wedding photographer CAN shoot headshots, but their specialities are weddings. A Headshot photographer specializes in headshots. You wouldn't hire a chef who cooks Italian food to come cook a French buffet for you for an important work event, right?
But.. If you happen to know someone who specializes in shooting something besides headshots but can and HAS taken amazing headshots before, you CAN make it work. Just make sure to do your research to find the best fit for YOU. Many times we think e find someone awesome, but these multi-talented photographers are hard to come by.. and I still recommend a headshot photographer.
Okay.. so now that we realized headshot photographers are a must. Here's what to expect. Not all headshot photographers shoot in studios, and some who shoot outside can be just as good. Before hiring a photographer make sure to look at their past work, and make sure they have shot in the last year. Nothing is worse than shooting with a rusty photographer who takes time remembering to put on the right lense at the last minute, and is unfamiliar with his equipment and his techniques. A headshot photographer should have an easily accessible online portfolio, a set price list and should sit down with you to discuss exactly what you want.
If you have an agent or manager, I would go over any specific looks they think you could book. If you are not represented, talk with the headshot photographer about what kinds of roles you want to go up for, and what looks might be best for booking those roles. Often times comparing yourself to a similar actress or an actress you want to be like can help a photographer visualize what you should shoot.
Once you know the looks it's best to ask specifics. Can they supply hair and makeup and how much? Is retouching included? How many shots will you receive and by what date? Make sure everything is figured out BEFORE the shoot. Signing a contract can help protect YOU and the photographer said I would recommend asking the photographer if he has one, and if not if he can come up with a standard document.
At the end of the day, you need to see how much you want to book roles.. an unprofessional headshot could have casting directors not even glancing at your photos. Whether you take the time to do your research, or you spend the money is your choice.
Hopefully this blog post was helpful for anyone who was curious about headshots!