You Headshot is you calling card. It is something that you hear all the time as an actor. It is the first thing that a casting director, agent, or manager sees before they decide to call you in. They look at your Headshot and from that they decide if you are right for a certain role, have a look they can market, etc... It is you golden ticket into that Audition Room... Shouldn't you have that Headshot that leaves an IMPACT?
I am sitting in a coffee shop right now writing this blog post and what I love about being in this coffee shop is that I am surrounded by actors and I can see their Headshots in a distance. It is funny because right now I see two actors talking to each other, an older gentleman (40-50's)and younger woman (early 30s) both with their Headshots out and both look like they went to the same photographer. Seems like the same grey background from where I am sitting and even looks like they have the same look on their face. Odds are they both went to this photographer because a friend went to that photographer or they got a good deal, but what I am thinking about is how does those Headshots stand out form everyone else's Headshots...
I know choosing a Headshot Photographer can be a very confusing and difficult task. Heck NYC is filled with Headshot photographers. You walk down the street and will probably bump into someone who will offer to photograph your Headshots. They are everywhere and at all different prices. The easiest way to choose a Headshot photographer is to just go with they same one everyone you know uses. That is why I am writing this post to give you so guidance in choosing the best photographer for you.
For the rest of this post I want you to think about making an IMPACT with your Headshot. I want you to think about it in the eyes of a casting director. Think about sitting behind a desk and you have a tone of Headshots to your left and all you have to do it pick the Headshots that really stand out to you. Picking the Headshots that immediately jump out at you and make you want to know what that person is thinking about and who that person really is. It is a tough thing to do because so many Headshots look the same and nothing really stands out, but I assure you those few are in there.
So you decided that you need new Headshots and you have a ton of referral form every actor you know or every industry professional that you know... Now what do you do with this overwhelming list? First thing is grab your computer, some coffee, a quite place and start looking at their portfolio website. When looking at them see what you like and do not like. Does anything about those images stand out to you? Do you see anything that makes an IMPACT on you? If the answer is NO then move on to the next. Do not spend any more time looking at that site, forget it and move on. If the answer is YES, then dig deeper. Read their FAQ page and about their process. Do they have a BLOG? If so read it. Goole them and see what else you can find out about them. Be a detective. Heck these are your Headshots and there are a lot of Bottom feeding "Photographers" out their waiting to take your money and give you horrible Headshots. If you like what you are seeing and reading contact them for a consultation. If they do not offer a free consultation then move away very quickly.
Why is the consultation so important? You need to be able to meet with the photographer... You should be able to ask as many questions you might have and see what he or she has to offer. You should also see if you have chemistry with that photographer. I always say if I cannot stand a person for 30mins over coffee why would I want to work with them for 4 hours. Again you spend a great deal on Headshots and you should always want the very best from the beginning. Ask to see their portfolio, ask about them and their lives... You will immediately know that they are the right photographer for you and be confident that you are going to capture images that are going to set you apart from everyone else. I know i love hearing about what makes you, you. I know I love hearing about how passionate you are about what you do and where you see your future going. I also like it when you step out of the comfort zone and just be yourself. That is what I love to photograph and I get to see that during the consultation (hopefully).
Pricing can certainly be a huge factor in choosing your Headshots. I can assure you that most of the time you pay for what you get, so if you are paying $99 you will probably have generic horrible Headshots. Hey you may get lucky, but with your career do you really want to take that chance? Do not make something like price stand in your way of taking your career to the next level. If someone is charging $1000 and you really want to use them because you know that they are right for you then figure out how to save up that money and go with them. You may spend $1000 now and after one major role you doubled your money and made it back two fold.
Do not by any circumstances choose a photographer based on the fact that they are a name in this business. Just because they are the "Big Man on Campus" in the Headshot world does not mean they are right for you. I have had so many times where I mat with an actor and they choose another photographer just because they were a big name in the industry and all their friends used them. What happened after is that they spend a ton of money and hate their images and come back to me to get it right. Do not make that Big Mistake!
Every actor that I photograph know from the beginning what they are to expect. I have selected my team very carefully because I only want the very best. From my makeup artist (mainly just for woman) to myself to Colorworks (my retouchers and printers) the actor knows that we are going to do everything in our powers to make sure that we help collaborate with you on capturing that IMPACT HEADSHOT. That is everything you should want as well.
To summarize all this, it is simple... Do your Homework. Do not settle, EVER. If you choose me or whomever you decide to work with (hopefully me) Get ready to MAKE AN IMPACT! Lets get you seen by everyone and for everything!