Headshots – 5 Things You Must Consider Before Getting Your Headshots Taken

If you are looking to have a great career in acting, you must first have a great photo. Use the following tips to help you get a great shot.

1. Choose A Photographer Based On Your Comfort Level With Them.Pick a photographer that makes you feel comfortable. You should feel at ease with your photographer. If you don’t, you won’t trust their expertise and directions. And your uneasiness will show up in your pictures. A good photographer will work to make sure that you shine and are comfortable throughout the entire process.

2. Get Your Shots Done By A Professional. Do not let your friends take your headshot. While your friend may mean well, unless they are an experienced photographer, they won’t understand all the factors that need to be captured to present you at your best. An experienced photographer has heard input from many actors, agents, and casting directors throughout their many years of shooting. They can use this knowledge to capture what agents and casting directors are looking for. Can the same be said of your friend?

3. Have Your Make Done. That Includes Men. Actor headshots look better in makeup including men headshots. NYC casting directors seem to prefer color photos. Photos done in color reveal more imperfections than black and white photos. It is important to make sure the makeup only enhances your natural features and does not change you into someone that represents a part that you’ll never go out for. Choose natural makeup over glamorous makeup, and you’ll go a long way in getting a great photo. Your picture must look like you.

4. Know What To Wear. Consider the parts you will be up for. Your photo should be representative of the parts you are more likely to go audition for. Your first impression is made with your picture. So make sure it represents your range accurately. Also consider doing multiple looks within one session. This will ensure that you will be well prepared to compete for a multitude of parts.

5. Know Yourself. The day of your photo shoot is not the day to test a new hair style, or skincare product. Try to keep your routine as regular as possible to avoid potential complications on the day of your shoot. If you are considering trying something different, give yourself ample time to recover just in case your experiment doesn’t go well.

There are many other factors that go into making a great picture but those are enough to get you started.

Headshot Advice for Actors

Weekly I receive phone calls from actors looking for dirt cheap headshots. In most cases, dirt cheap headshots from amateur or novice photographers are exactly that… cheap and not usable to market yourself.

The truth, actors who spend the time and money to have acting coaches, active training, invest in continual growth and great headshots are the successful actors.

Here are some facts you need to know for great headshots:

1) Meet and Greet the Photographer

If a photographer is not willing to actually meet and talk with you, run away. This person generally does not care about you or your career. This photographer is more interested in lining his or her pockets by acquiring as many clients as possible. At the very least, a photographer should be willing to conduct a phone interview. There is no way a photographer is too busy to meet with a prospective client. Ask yourself – ‘How will they capture my personality if they have no idea who I am? There are THOUSANDS of actors in Los Angeles (NYC as well) and thousands more arriving every month. What separates you from these actors? A headshot of another pretty face? I don’t think so. Do casting directors hire an actor on a picture alone? No – why on earth would you?

Meeting with the photographer to confirm your compatibility is very important. This cannot be stressed enough. Take the time to meet the photographer. This allows you both to get a sense of one another.

Feeling good about your choice will go a long way in producing those headshots that will get you auditions. The rest will be up to you.

2) Does Experience Matter

This is a tough subject. There are many talented beginners out there. They usually charge a lot less than highly experienced photographers. But they lack experience, therefore they do not always deliver the best product. How can you tell if the photographer you’re looking at is as experienced and as talented as they claim? It’s simple. When you go to meet with the photographer, ask to see printed work. A quality headshot will not lie on paper. That you can be sure of. I recall a magazine I interviewed with asking for a printed portfolio. They loved my work online, but they knew that a print is 1000% truth of quality. Did I get the job, YES!

What an experienced professional can give you is consistency. Someone who takes great pictures every day. The truth is that anyone can take a few decent pictures to promote themselves. But you have to get it right time and time again to have agents, managers, and others in the film and TV community refer people to you consistently. A photographer who specializes in working with actors can help you relax and express yourself. This will translate in capturing an authentic look in your new photos.

“No. 1 headshot photographer in town”, run away from this claim. It’s just a gimmick designed to manipulate you. Plain and Simple.

3) The Headshot Factory

Headshot photography is a business and every photographer wants to make a good living. Quantity, Quantity, Quantity… Shooting as many people as a photographer can fit in a day does nobody any good. Shooting as many people as possible in a day is certainly very rewarding for the photographer. But what about you, the client? Shouldn’t the session be about you and giving you a great product? How can anyone provide a high quality product when they are rushing between clients? Simply put, they can’t. Most top photographers do not take more than two headshot appointments per day.

Ford has it right… “Quality is Job #1″. This should be the motto of every headshot photographer.

4) Post Production

The ability to instantly review pictures on the back of the camera makes it easier for anyone to shoot. But the care that goes into each step in photography has been lost by many photographers. In this world of digital technology, there is a perception that you take a picture and it’s done. But just as with film, digital files represent the original captured image with numerous steps to go.

Post production is not the same as retouching. With film, an experienced photo printer would go into the darkroom and make the best possible print from a negative. The printer would adjust the brightness, contrast, and sharpness of the image, to include dodging and burning areas of the picture. This is also necessary with digital “negatives”, this is referred to as image processing. Image processing is necessary to make adjustments to the overall picture. Retouching on the other hand, is eliminating stray hairs and blemishes on the skin. When a photographer starts with a great file up front, then post processing is used to fine-tune color, contrast and skin tone.

You should not work with a photographer who is not willing to post produce and retouch their work.

Amazing headshots start with a quality image from the get go, not quantity.

Searching for a great headshot photographer can be a lot of work and should be valued with the same importance you place on your career.

Amazing quality headshots will pay you back many times over.

Overconfidence in Online Dating, Yikes!

Confidence in dating is good. However, when it comes to online dating, being overly confident can be deadly. As a NYC matchmaker, I discourage my clients from believing that people have to accept them as they are. That is just plain cocky. If you have a face and body like Angelina Joie or Brad Pitt, you can probably prove me wrong. But everyone else, those of us who are mere mortals, can probably do a few things to bring out our inner “hotties.” After all, why should a perfect stranger be expected to accept you as you are if you are not presenting yourself at your best? The fact is, in the world of online matchmaking you’ re not giving anyone the benefit of getting to know you or accepting you unless they can first be attracted or intrigued by you.

Many Hollywood celebrities are basically just “us” with a bit of polish added. Without mentioning names, there are those that would go unnoticed without a bit of hair, makeup, clothes, and lighting. Lighting is especially important for mere mortals. It brings out charms that we never thought we had. In New York City you can find photographers who do headshots for about $100. If you want to know where they are, ask any struggling actor or actress. OK, so here is where being confident is important in online dating. One has to go for it. If you are looking for a prince or princess, then have the courage to dress like one. Take a risk, stand out. Find a stylish look and bring it with you to your photo shoot. The law of attraction basically says that like attracts like. That is, tasteful will usually attract tasteful, sporty will attract sporty and so on.

Trust me, the “you” with a bit of polish is still you. It is the you that is shrewd. We all have flaws and insecurities, but they don’t fully tell our whole story. Some may want to broadcast them upfront so that they might not be rejected later. That idea sounds good on paper, but in real life, “it isn’t necessarily so!” The same singles who send me pictures of themselves with comb-overs and dumpy outfits are the ones who chose attractive singles who took the time to present themselves in the best light. They seldom pick their dumpy unkempt counterpart. When I email their photos to these well-put-together singles, some politely decline while others emphatically refuse as if insulted. So take a solemn vow to never present anyone with less than you desire for yourself when online dating. Overconfidence without true merit! Yikes.