Getting headshots is an important rite of passage for any beginning actor. It says, “Hello, world! Get ready for the next professional actor!” It’s important to go with a professional headshot photographer who knows what it takes for a headshot to get noticed. Help yourself narrow down your headshot photographer choices by making a checklist of criteria you want. Consider these 12 things when making decisions about what you want for your headshot photographer.
1 – Know where you can see samples of the headshot photographer’s past work. Most photographers now have a website that shows examples of their headshots. If not, make sure you know where you can see their body of work.
2 – Think of the types of acting roles that you ultimately want to play and also the kinds of roles that casting agents may realistically hire you to play. That will inform the types of clothes and looks you go for during the headshot session.
3 – Find out what a shoot with the photographer is really like. You can contact the photographer on the website and ask for details on what it’s like. Just be sure to check FAQ sections on websites to ensure that you don’t ask questions that are already easily answered for you.
4 – Get information on whether the photographer uses digital photography. Nearly all headshot photographers have gone digital, but there are some holdouts.
5 – Ask about how many meetings will occur between you and the photographer altogether. Some photographers meet you for the first time on the day of the shoot, while some prefer to have in-person consultations ahead of time. Since your time is precious, you may have a preference for one thing over the other.
6 – Have the photographer give you an estimate on how much time will be dedicated to your photography session. There is no hard and fast rule of how much time needs to be spent, but you generally should get total attention and a specified amount of time set aside for your shoot in case it’s needed.
7 – Find out how long it will take before you can view and access the headshots online. Some photographers prefer to edit the photos before showing any, while others will offer you a sneak peek. Get the information that’s most important to you.
8 – Ask about how the mood is set. You may be able to bring along your own music, or the photographer may have a certain way of working to help you get ready for your headshots.
9 – Discern whether hair and makeup packages are offered along with the headshot photography. If not, you can easily book your own hair and makeup appointments, and the photographer may be able to offer recommendations for high quality professional services.
10 – Find out how many wardrobe changes and looks will be included in your session. The photographer may offer different packages with various price points depending on how many looks and locales you want for your headshot photography session.
11 – Ask about the cancellation policy of a headshot photographer. If you are already trying to get auditions and obtain acting parts, you may end up booking a job at the last minute that could interfere with your photo session. Be sure that you receive a clear explanation of the cancellation policy.
12 – Get information on whether the photographer will grant you full rights to reproduce your headshot photographs to promote yourself and your career. You will need to know for sure how your photographs can be used on your website, social media pages, and promotional mailings.
Finally, keep in mind that you may want to add or subtract from this list depending on what you own unique needs and preferences are for a headshot photographer. Take the time to put a lot of thought into your list, and don’t be shy about asking your headshot photographer questions. Your photographer cares and wants you to be happy and comfortable on the day of your photo session. That’s the recipe for a great shoot!
To get started, check out a company like NYC Headshot Photography.