If you are planning to update your headshots, be sure to think about what types of roles you are most likely to book. It’s important to get a simple, polished photo that just shows YOU, but you also should think about varying your other looks to better represent your “type.”
When it comes to wardrobe, I can’t stress this enough…bring choices! That doesn’t mean three or four t-shirts in different colors. Think layers, colors, different necklines keeping in mind the different looks you want to portray.
These are from a recent headshot session and I thought she did a fantastic job choosing her types and had plenty of clothing to suit each look.
There are a lot of reasons one photographer might charge more than another….
TIME: I don’t have time limits to my sessions…I hate feeling rushed and I certainly don’t want my subject to feel rushed. So be careful of that cheap “one hour” session price some people may offer. I am also happy to spend the time needed before your shoot to send you suggestions for wardrobe, show you sample shots to help you prepare and answer any & all questions you may have.
EXPERIENCE: I have been shooting for most casting agencies and managers in the Baltimore/Washington/PA area for over 20 years. I am on the suggested photographers list provided by AFTRA/SAG. This experience has taught me that the best acting headshots are not necessarily the prettiest picture of you. They are a tool to show your personality and should represent the real you. Notthe “Instagram filters, overly retouched…let’s make my eyes bigger and my nose smaller with these apps version of you.” Embrace what makes you different and show your quirks.
Why hire an experienced professional? Because the cheapest photographer is probably just starting out, putting together a portfolio, or is doing photography part time to supplement another income. WHILE THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT– all of us started somewhere — his or her rookie status probably means the $75.00 photographer hasn’t a clue about industry standards for headshots, won’t know proper lighting or retouching and contrary to popular belief, you can’t learn all that by watching a few YouTube videos.
On the other hand, just because a photographer is the most expensive, doesn’t mean they are the best either.
For a brief period, I stopped shooting and became a director for a casting/modeling agency. It was short lived, but I learned a lot about why some casting people choose one person over another. Since the headshot is the first step in getting that coveted role, some people thought if they traveled to New York and hired a photographer, they would get a significantly better headshot than if they used someone locally. So the logic was “if I pay more, it must be better…right?!” “If I pay to have someone in NY do my headshots, I am more likely to get that audition…right?!”
Let me explain why this is flawed thinking on so many levels. First, just because someone lives in New York or LA, that doesn’t make them a better photographer…it just means they pay way more studio rent than I do. Photographers in larger markets have to charge more to survive. Paying more doesn’t always get you a better product. Do I believe you should pay for a great product…absolutely! There are some really talented photographers in the Baltimore area, each with a slightly different style and personality.
“SO YET ANOTHER REASON to invest in your headshots– because it means you’re invested in your craft, which in turn means you’ll be taken more seriously.”
APPARENTLY, IF YOUR HEADSHOT DOESN’T LOOK PROFESSIONAL, the experience from the casting side is that if they call you in, you’ll likely be green (inexperienced), thus deterring them from calling you in at all.
This is a quote by one of LA’s top headshot photographers, Vanie Poyey, and I couldn’t agree more. Even if you are just getting started, if you want to present yourself as an actor worth hiring, you should approach all aspects of the business as a professional.
This shoot for Jadyn Mikay was particularly fun since her manager requested character headshots along with a traditional headshot. I loved creating her “prep school” look and her “edgy, tough girl” headshot! Thank you to Jill from No Filter Glam for the lovely makeup.
The rest of the photos are from recent shoots as well.
Sean is an actor and commercial model represented by T.H.E. Artist Agency in DC. We started with acting headshots then planned a day of lifestyle shots so his agency could have a good mix of looks to add to their website. I found various locations near my studio to give his shots a more realistic look. It was a chilly day but we had a great session! Here are just a few of looks we did.
Kim and I go way, way back and have shot together before. She has worked for many years doing print work, TV, film and voice-over work and recently decided to let her grey hair grow naturally. I think it looks amazing on her! So, new look means new headshots. Makeup/hair by Lindsay Shields of No Filter Glam.
A two look sessions like Kim’s includes up to 5 image files retouched for $275.00
Makeup/hair services are additional and prices vary depending on the artist
We had such a great time photographing Emily for her commercial modeling portfolio. She needed images to present to her agency for an online zed (composite) card. She also does teen pageants so we did a quick headshot that was more appropriate for her competitions.
With a long lens and my mask on, I recently had a studio headshot session for actor John Wontrop. He tends to do a lot of “bad guy” roles and wanted a few shots that were more serious and expressive. So we set about to give him a mix of friendly commercial images as well as a character “tough guy.”
“I am letting you know that I have received all five sets of photos you sent. They look absolutely fantastic. I am 110% satisfied with the final results. Thank you for all of your work and providing an easy and hassle free process (global pandemics aside…). You will definitely be getting an email from me the next time I need headshots.” John Wontrop
The weather is wonderful and we can finally get back out in the world. One of my favorite new lighting set ups uses natural light and working partially outside. This type of set up, I believe, will be an extra safe way to do headshot sessions. Although we will need to be closer than 6 feet to shoot, I am technically outside, but the subject is inside (sounds odd I know)! Sample images of this lighting set up below.
There is also the option of being totally outside for your headshots, weather/wind etc..can make this a little more tricky but it is certainly possible if you prefer to be 6 feet apart at all times. There are a number of interesting locations right outside the studio to give us some varied backgrounds. I will also add a few samples images of this option below.
I will only have one person in the studio at any given time and will allow plenty of time for thorough cleaning in between sessions also, I am happy to wear a mask if you prefer.
Full sessions are available with multiple backgrounds (the set up described above and also classic studio set up) or a quicker mini session with just the natural light.
Everyone is different and has different wants/needs when it comes to headshots. I am happy to create a custom session just for you. Whether it’s a super fast headshot for busy realtors or a full session with multiple clothing changes for actors, I can get that done.
Just like you, I love to make appointments online! However, since we really need to get to know each other a bit, I think it’s important to have an email exchange where we can discuss what type of images you prefer and I can give you a feel for how I work. It’s painless, I promise! Just shoot me a quick email, and let’s talk about what days/times are good for you and I can get the info necessary to quote you the best price possible. Amy@AmyJPhoto.com