The primary difference between headshots and portraits is that headshots are much more standard and portraits are much more experimental. There are four primary differences between the two:
These differences can be found in the lighting, the angle of the shots, how far out the shot is taken from, and the coloring. Additionally, there are usually more Photoshop effects added into one than the other.
Headshots are shot fairly close in and are very standard. Especially business shots. Typically headshots will be in color, however every once in a while you'll see them in black and white. However, no special effects are added to the shots. Most headshots use very soft lighting that covers the entire face and doesn't make any harsh shadows. Additionally, most headshots have a relaxed and realistic expression. You usually don't want a crazy expression in a headshot because it will look fake or forced.
Portraits, on the other hand, are different in all aspects. First of all, they can be shot very close in or very far out and they can be shot from low or high angles. The framing of portraits can be however you want because there are no rules. Typically, portraits will use many more Photoshop effects in them, and although they might be black and white, the contrast might be extremely strong, or they might have an advanced color effect. For portraits, you can use soft lighting or you can use hard lighting, it really depends. Most head shots are taken with high key lighting, but portraits can also be taken with very low key lighting, where the lighting is dark and dingy. It all depends on what the look is that you're going for in the shot, since portraits are extremely artistic as compared to headshots. Additionally, in portraits the expression on the subject can be anything from an extremely funny and crazy face to something extremely scary and dark.
Again, to reiterate the difference between headshots and portraits:
Portraits are extremely experimental. Headshots are not.
As a professional headshot photographer in New York City and Manhattan, you have to make sure you know the client's personality as soon as you meet them. Learn their mannerisms and see what they act like and do.
There is no easy way to learn a person's personality except by speaking with them during the session. Remember that if they seem not to joke too much, a very smiley and playful shot will not fit them well. It won't capture who they really are.
On top of that, you have to understand that it's not only just about expression. The lighting and style of the entire photograph should serve to capture the client's personality. There is something about every headshot that either makes it truthful or doesn't. Look at the shot and try to determine: does it look natural?
The funny thing is that you can tell a persons personality just by looking at their face.
If someone looks very friendly, they usually are. If they look mean, they probably don't have the friendliest personality, because over time, their expressions have caused wrinkles in their face in that way.
This is pretty easy unless you've never hired one before. All you have to do is email or call a headshot photographer that you are looking for. Make it simple. Just send them a message saying you need some new headshots and want to schedule a session, and it will be easy enough because they should get back to you within a day about their availability and you'll be able to schedule something.
The more difficult question is where to find headshot photographers. First off, if you are reading this article it means you are on www.cityheadshots.com which is a great headshot photography website and you can contact me for professional shots whenever you'd like. But if you are interested in hiring a different photographer, feel free to follow the steps below to get yourself some great results:
How to find a great headshot photographer:
1. Google "Headshots" and you'll come across a bunch of excellent photographers. Only thing is they typically charge a lot.
2. Google "Cheap Headshots" and you'll find some great resources for headshot photography and you'll be able to really get something decent without breaking the bank.
3. Ask your agents, managers, or acting teachers for recommendations. They will always point you in the right direction, but again, be willing to pay for those great shots.
4. Ask your friends who they may have used. But remember: just because a session went well for your friend doesn't mean it will go well for you.
5. Scour Craigslist. There are always photographers posting ads there. Same thing with flyers. Typically, if someone is posting an ad it means they are new and have not been getting much referral business, so be wary.
In a word, no. But in more than one word, perhaps, maybe.
You see, the reason makeup artists are recommended is because they know how to make you look natural and great on camera. You don't want to look made up for an event. You want to look like you look in every day life but with special makeup to hide imperfections and problematic things that show up on film.
There is a difference between makeup to enhance your appearance in real life and makeup to enhance your appearance on a camera.
I highly recommend that you use a makeup artist if you can afford it because it will really make your shots pop and look better. Be careful when doing makeup yourself because you might overdo it and it might not look as natural as it should.
If you absolutely cannot afford a makeup artist, I recommend you watch for two primary things:
1. Shiny face, from too much oil. You can wipe your face off if necessary.
2. Dry lips. You can use Chapstick if necessary, but be sure to remove it right before the shoot so your lips don't look shiny.
Hopefully these tips help you out if you can't afford a makeup artist. If you can though, don't be cheap. You're only hurting yourself.
Well, this is a great question. And not a simple one either because using a bounce board is more complicated than it sounds. Many people think bounce boards are simple to use but they aren't. You have to understand the subtleties.
When someone first learns how to use a bounce board, they hold the board below the clients face and reflect light up all over them. They think this looks good when in reality, it actually looks terrible.
You never want light coming from below, unless it's extremely subtle. It's much better to have light coming in from the side.
This means that to use a bounce board correctly, it is best to use the dull white side of the reflector and shine it from the side of the actor's face instead of below. Rather than reflecting light onto the actors face, you are actually just adding some extra brightness to the side of their face.
But to really get a shot that pops, you can use two bounce boards on either side of the actor's face so that they shine on both sides and you have really great light coming in. It looks amazing and will get you excellent response to your shots.
Yes, you can sign onto another headshot photographer's website and learn the clothing to wear, and you can learn what the formatting should be for your headshots, but you're never going to learn the real secrets. The real things that allow those headshot photographers to charge so much for their work.
You'll only receive some of the benefits of those secrets, but they'll never tell you what those secrets are.
So what are they? What will make you successful as an actor? Do you really have to pay $600 to make it? The answer is no.
What will help you make it is not paying someone to take a great shot of you, nor is it just having good acting skills and being able to play the part. No. What will help you make it to the top of your acting career is understanding how the industry works, having a killer headshot, and knowing where to go from here.
Is having a great headshot everything? Absolutely not. But it is very important.
Having a great headshot is like having a great appetizer to a fine meal. The problem is, most headshot photographers and actors who have these shots end up stopping after the appetizer. Where's the fun in that?
You need the full package: the appetizer, the entree, AND the dessert. You need to know exactly what to do to be able to make it in the industry. And listening to a bunch of headshot photographers out there telling you to hire them over and over when their headshots don't book you solid isn't the way to go.
There is more to a successful acting career than just a great headshot and good acting skills. You need to understand the core principles of self promotion. That's the key and the truth. If you want to learn this, sign up for my newsletter. It's free and will teach you everything you need to know about it.
Are you a photographer starting out? You can't afford to hire an assistant for your shoots, especially if the shoots are unpaid? Well, you have one of two choices for using a bounce board:
Choice 1: ask your client to hold the bounce board. Although its not very professional, it's an easy way to do a shoot with a client without having to pay someone to help you. The primary problem is that your client might be annoyed that they have to hold the board, and they also might be impeded a bit. Just tell them that is the price they have to pay since they are getting headshots for such a low rate.
Choice 2: you can set up a bounce board system. Go to a photography store and purchase a lighting stand, a reflector, a reflector boom attachment, and a sand bag. It should run you about $125. What you need to do is to set up the bounce board so that it reflects without you needing to have an assistant to hold it up.
The key to using a bounce board is to know how to light up the face of the client without it seeming fake. Light coming from below will look terribly fake and won't show off the client in a flattering way. Instead, always have the bounce light coming from the side. It looks more realistic and will make the photo look much nicer.
After you use a single bounce board system for a while, you may want to look into a multi-bounce board system, where you use two boards to reflect light in a more flattering way, coming in from both sides of the client's face. The result is gorgeous and can really make your photos pop.
Did you know that if you are thinking of setting up a photo studio in NY, all you need is a fairly large room with big, south-facing windows? It's fairly simple and yields great results because the light coming in will be very soft and will look great on clients.
You don't need advanced lighting equipment or even a backdrop if you have a studio with large windows. Just shoot the client against some sort of backdrop, which can be anything. If you use an 85mm f/1.8 lens, it should be easy to blur out the background so the shot looks extremely professional.
Remember though, that darker backgrounds are best. Don't shoot with a bright background unless its a completely neutral white that doesn't cause vignetting or halos around the client. The reason to stay away from bright backgrounds is because they are very distracting for headshots. Darker backgrounds almost always look best (except flat black). Therefore, if you are shooting headshots in an indoor studio, try to buy and only use dark upholstery.
The whole idea of casting is what creates the need for headshots in the first place. If you're a first time actor, you need to understand how the whole casting process goes before you get into acting.
Casting, simply defined, is the act of choosing an actor for a role. The process, on the other hand, is much more complicated and is what's most important for you to understand.
The casting process works as follows:
1. You submit your headshot, the best one you think would work for the role you are trying to get. You can either mail in a hard copy or do an online submission, both of which work.
2. If the casting director who reviews your headshot likes what he sees (meaning that you like like the character they imagined could play the role), you may be called in for an audition. This will typically happen via telephone or email. Usually, auditions take place over the course of a few days, and for some projects, there are open auditions, meaning you can just walk in whenever you arrive. For other projects, auditions are scheduled at specific times.
3. If you do well in your audition, you may be called back. Typically, you are asked to bring in another headshot to your callback. The callback audition is much more in depth and the casting director is much more critical. They have narrowed it down to only a few top choices for the role, so the competition is fierce. Be sure to put on your A-game and be confident.
4. Assuming you did a great job, some places may hold a second round of callbacks and perhaps even more. But typically, the selected actor will be chosen for the role and you will sign some papers indicating you are being paid to act in something, and failure to show up for it could result in some penalty.
After the papers have been signed, the casting process is complete and you have been cast in the role!
A lot of clients come to a business because something about the business makes them stand out from the rest. Defining this characteristic is crucially important so customers can answer the question: Why this business instead of another?
The question about what separated my headshots from those of other headshot photographers is two-fold.
The first is that as a professional filmmaker and director, I know the importance of direction and I know what casting directors are looking for in headshots. But the most important thing is that because I have experience directing actors from behind a film camera, I also know how to direct actors from behind a still camera.
This relates because as of the time of writing this article, I am charging a significantly lower rate than most other headshot photographers in NYC.
Why is my rate so low? Primarily because I have not developed a large enough client base yet to charge more. However, those actors who have come to me understand that my work is vey good, and they refer their friends to me and those who have agents are also referred to me.
As a headshot photographer who has the skills I do with the low prices I charge, there is definitely a separation between myself and my competition.
Along with this, I am one of the few headshot photographers who gets powerful expressions out of clients that greatly increases their bookings and call backs. Most headshot photographers in Manhattan don't use my techniques for directing clients, techniques that are based directly off of Peter Hurley, the top headshot photographer in the world.
I hope my work speaks for itself when you make the decision to hire me. Remember that charging lower prices doesn't mean you are getting worse images. It just means the photographer might not currently be as established in a city. What if he just moved?
Hey I'm Martin, and my goal is to help you reach yours. I love writing content about career advancement, marketing strategies, productivity, and much more.