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8 Tips for Choosing Your Actors Headshot Photographer

Headshots headshots, headshots:  there are so many issues to think about it can be hard to know where to start:

Which photographer to shoot with? Is indoor or outdoor lighting best? Colour or Black and ; White? What should you wear? Hair up or hair down? How much makeup is too much makeup? Bearded or clean shaven? What should you tell your photographer? How many photos should you have on your Spotlight? When is it time to get new shots?

Thankfully, our expert members are on hand to share the insights and expertise they've built up over the years in this monthly blog. And we're starting right at the beginning with Nicholas Dawkes (see picture above) on a major issue: 'Choosing Your Photographer'.

Nic's been shooting for nearly a decade now, so he's definitely worth listening to!

8 Tips for Choosing Your Headshot Photographer

1. Check the photographer's portfolio. Sounds obvious, but look at as much of a photographer's work as you can; not just the online portfolio that showcases their favourite images, but at social media and other online sources that reveal their daily shooting. This should give you a good gauge of their aesthetic and consistency.

2. Don’t be led by price alone What is your budget? The most expensive option won't always mean the best results for you, but bargain-rate sessions can have pitfalls too: it's most important you're clear the photographer offers reliably professional service & high-quality results.

3. What style of headshots do you need? Different photographers have very different visions, so look for a style that suits your ambitions. Do you want studio lit or natural/outdoor lit? Are you looking to focus on film, TV, commercial or theatrical work? Shop around! I recommend the list of APHP-approved photographers as a good place to begin, but you'll find broader lists like Mandy's directory of headshot photographers.

4. Can you relate to the photographer? Do you feel you will be able to engage with your photographer? The tone of their website and email will give you a sense of their people skills & personality, but word of mouth is a strong force. Talk to other people who have shot with your prospective photographer(s) to get a sense of whether they'll be a good fit to bring out your best side.

5. How much time do you need? It can be tempting to book the shortest shoot going because it is cheapest, but make sure to reflect on the looks you want to achieve in your shoot and book a session that gives you the time to breathe, relax and explore productive work. As a rule of thumb, most headshot photographers would see an hour and half as a minimum.

6. Read the small print! Don't get stung by hidden extras or misdirected by a low session rate. How many retouches are included? How much are extra retouches? What will happen after the shoot?  How long will your images be available and how long will it take to get edits back? All those details should be clearly laid out on a photographer's website.

7. Where do they shoot? Are they studio based, work form their home, or shoot on location? Does this affect how you will feel on the day? Do you need somewhere to prepare make-up hair or are you turning up ready to shoot?

8. Is it the right time for new headshots? Are you 100% happy with your current look - hair, skin, wardrobe - and if not what do you need to sort before your shoot? These images will probably market you for a couple of years, so make sure they reflect the 'you' you want to sell.

9. Did I say 8? I lied... Look out for the APHP-Approved logo or H symbol which tells you a photographer is fully qualified with the APHP, and abides by the code of conduct.


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