You may be holding out on getting headshots taken because you are unsure of their real worth; perhaps you're unsure if the investment in professional shots will really make a difference in being cast.
As I'm sure you know, acting is competitive. Extremely competitive. Especially in cities like New York, if you want to book it is imperative that you do everything in your power to have a competitive edge over the numerous other actors who want that part just as much as you. However to book you need to audition and to audition you need to be noticed.
This is where the importance of headshots comes in. A headshot offers a casting director a first impression of you. By conveying confidence and approachability in a shot, you display a sense of personality. For a job that requires the expression of personality, the ability to display such traits is crucial. Additionally, a headshot that shows these qualities to a casting director will illustrate that you know what you're doing in front of the camera.
A good headshot also has the ability to show your unique personality. A sense of authenticity in your photograph will allow casting directors to understand you in relation to the character they are casting. You may have good credentials on your resume, however those words are not nearly as poignant as the personal, tangible look at your personality that your headshot can provide. A good headshot increases your chances of getting good roles as the calls you receive for auditions will likely be for roles you look like you relate to.
Essentially, if you are serious about you acting, a headshot is invaluable.
The pre-session rules of a headshot session often have to do with the photographer himself. Each headshot photographer has a number of different rules they may follow, and these rules can set the groundwork for how a headshot session is going to pan out. In my opinion, the less rules that there are for a shoot the more chance you have to get interesting and different shots. However, based on the weather and other factors that could impede upon the headshot session, there may be specific rules a photographer follows to keep their sessions as smooth as possible.
I will attempt to explain the basic guidelines and the procedure for my personal headshot sessions in this article:
I tend to ask that you arrive with a preselected group of clothing, wardrobe that we will use throughout the session. Typically, we talk about what looks you desire and which outfits would best achieve them. If you're an actor, your headshot looks and needs will be vastly different than if you were a business person.
If you have a makeup artist they will then help you finish your look before we begin to shoot.Typically for makeup, it is important to look as natural as possible while still looking very good on camera.
After your make-up is completed we will speak about the specific moods and emotions for which you're striving. During the first few minutes of the headshot session before we actually begin shooting, I will offer tips to give your headshot confidence and emotion, both of which are crucial to making an image eye-catching.
No matter how new of an actor you are or how many headshot sessions you've had in the past, whether you are a businessperson or an actor, it doesn't matter. You should still look as though you have done this constantly and know exactly what you're doing in front of the camera. The more time we take to make you look confident, the better your headshots will turn out and the more believable they will be. You do not want the people viewing your images to think that you didn't know what you were doing in front of the camera. I am always sure to help with this.
Therefore, I sometimes start out the session by showing you a number of images of celebrities and showing you what they do to get the look that they go for their shots. Celebrities look great on camera, and this isn't by accident; they know exactly what to do with their faces. I make sure to show you how to look just as professional. By the end of the headshot session you will have a number of great images that you can look through on the computer.
Before burning you the disk full of the images, I ensure that you are satisfied with your shots. As long as you are, you can leave with your photos the very same day.
Just remember, there must be effort on both the subject and photographer's sides. Being prepared for your shoot and comfortable with the process will give you more impressive shots than arriving unsure of how headshot sessions work. For this reason, I always request of my clients that they come with a number of outfits and an idea of what they want in their shots. Give yourself the opportunity for the best shots possible!
Hopefully this information has been helpful, and if you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to contact me!
For some reason, everyone says that to get good Headshots in New York City you have to pay $600 or more. That's not necessarily true. I understand an article was written by another photographer, Nick Coleman, explaining why spending $595 on headshots is necessary. So I decided to throw out a few reasons why a low price does not equate to low quality.
First of all, just because someone charges less doesn't mean they're a bad photographer. It might mean that they aren't very well established or they are new photographers trying to build up a portfolio.
Additionally, enjoying the session will almost automatically give you good results. Being comfortable with your photographer is often more important than a price tag. Even if you have a friend take your headshots, showing genuine emotion and real enjoyment will always be more powerful than trying to fake it because you feel reserved or uncomfortable. If you have fun your headshots will show it!
Sometimes a mess up is better than things going perfectly. If your photographer is charging lower rates because they are inexperienced, mess ups could break the ice and make you both more comfortable. Maybe the focus was off and the captured something funny. If it makes you both genuinely laugh, there's a huge chance that smile will be captured and make up for any mistakes.
Spending less gives you more options for future shoots. Say you're new to acting and just coming to learn what casting directors are looking for. If you have less expensive shots taken you can learn what emotions and looks work best for you. If you find you need to try again you won't have broken the bank for photos you're no longer interested in using.
Why spend so much when you might change your look or get a haircut? Perhaps you're getting new roles or are a corporate employee whose photo is often used to represent a company. Paying $600 every time you update your style may be out of the question. It becomes much easier to retain up-to-date, professional headshots when you're paying a fraction of the expected cost.
Keep a professional edge on a budget!
In this series, we will be exploring the different emotions that the human face can exhibit. We have many different looks on our faces, probably numbering in the thousands, but for some reason, when we get in front of a camera, everything is narrowed down to one of two looks: "Deer in the Headlights" or "Cheese!" And of course, neither of these work for a good headshot.
Every day, our faces show hundreds of different expressions, ranging from sad to bored to happy to angry. To analyze these emotions would give you much more control over your facial expressions, something that will help you greatly when it comes to getting successful headshots.
The reason I am putting together this series of articles is to help you understand the importance of different emotions and how to bring them out in front of the camera.
Today we wil be talking about Happiness, which is the king of all emotions. Everyone loves it but few feel it on a regular basis.
Happiness is most notable show through a smile, but can often be read in other ways as well. Imagine looking at someone who is not smiling, but just has a look of contentment on their face. You know something is going well for them, right? You might be tempted to ask what it is, and why they look so content. These are the looks I'm talking about, why it's so important to understand how to read and recreate different facial expressions.
The reason that happiness is so important in headshots is because it shows you what you look like on a good day, when everything is going well. Believe it or not, most people's faces slowly conform over time to what kind of person they are in real life. If someone's face looks fairly unhappy, that is likely (not in all cases) because they are not generally a happy person.
Certain people don't have good smiles because they smile so infrequently. If this is the case, it's sometimes better to only do slight smiles or avoid smiles altogether. Remember, you want to bring out your own personality first in headshots, because that is your brand. It's easiest to play who you are and then vary it up a bit based on that, rather than trying to do something entirely different.
Happiness is the first and most important emotion you can get in a headshot, and you absolutely should try to achieve it because it is necessary in both the acting and corporate worlds. We like people who are happy, so having a happy shot in your pictures will only help people to like you more.
Executive headshots, and business shots, are vastly different from actor headshots.
The primary difference between actors and executives is that actors' headshots should be more experimental whereas business headshots are traditionally more formal. This applies to both the clothing that is worn and the style of the shot.
Most business shots are done in a studio against the flat white backdrop. They are shot portrait style, as opposed to landscape, and usually have the subject standing in one specific spot, which is aimed at a three-quarter angle to the camera with the subject's hands held in front.
The primary emotions that business shots must convey is a combination of confidence and approachability. To achieve this look, the confidence should come from the eyes. This is something I demonstrate during my business headshot sessions so that subjects can get an idea of what it actually looks like. The approachability comes from a slight smile given off an image. What you want is to have an image that shows that you are professional and know exactly what you're doing while also showing that you are approachable and also easy to get along with.
You always want look approachable but confident in a business headshot. If you don't, your headshot won't get as much response.
If you have any questions about this at all, feel free to ask!
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.