Finding the right photographer

What to think about when choosing your headshot photographer…


There is a lot of headshot photographers out there and it can seem daunting sometimes, so hopefully the checkpoints below will give you a few tips to think about when finding your photographer.


1. Check their portfolio

We all judge with our eyes, so the first thing is a visual connection, does their work leap off the page and appeal to you?


Keep in mind that a photographers website may contain their best work, but is it all up to date and current work?


Maybe check social media like Instagram, facebook or twitter, you might see some other shots that aren’t necessarily in their website portfolio.


2. Less isn’t necessarily more

It’s not always about uber expensive equipment and flashy studios, but just because a photographer is offering a photo shoot at a low cost, doesn’t necessarily mean they are good quality for a casting headshot, some photographers offer great value, but beware of inexperience and not wasting money.


When you add up the time a photographer spends emailing, uploading images and editing, the time per client soon racks up, with added overheads and years of experience, you end up paying slightly more sometimes.


Ask yourself what that headshot is worth to you (and your business as an actor), if it is going to get you seen, and get you in the door to get that job, it has soon paid for itself.


A good headshot can mean the difference between being called up to audition for a job or not, remember, t’s your most important marketing tool.


3. Are there any hidden costs?

Finance can sometimes be a big turning point. Don’t instantly go for the lowest cost, to find out later you have to pay separately for the images, or that you don’t get much time for your shoot.


It’s always worth checking what your shoot includes;

Are there any retouches included?

How many?

How much are extra retouches?

Will they be the required print resolution?

Is there VAT included in your shoot price? (not all photographers are VAT registered, ones that are means they are busy, but also means that 20% vat may be added to the costs, this is normally included in the prices shown).


4. Does your photographer speak your language?

You can easily search these days for a headshot photographer online, and you can normally get a good feel for a person in the way they write their website or speak on the phone, having a connection with your photographer is key when it comes to not only being relaxed, but capturing the best of you.


5. Have you been given a recommendation?

If you find a photographer that you like, chances are someone you know will either have had photos with them or know about them. Recommendations are the best way to discover your photographer and their style, so ask friends.


Look at photographers testimonials and ratings (search googles, facebook business pages and use online casting sites like Mandy) to view client feedback and comments.


6. Are they local and accessible?

It is definitely worth travelling to get the photos that are right for you, but remember you want to be as relaxed as possible on the day of your shoot, there is no use travelling for hours and hours on the day if that will stress you out.


7. What is going to happen after your shoot?

Taking your photos is only part of the process, you need to be able to access your photos after the shoot and look through them easily, selecting your favourites to help you narrow down the choices and then choose the final images for retouching.


Check how your photographer will deliver the photos, and how you will receive your final shots.


8. How much time do you need?

If you are nervous or unsure in front of the camera, or don’t like to feel rushed, you may need plenty of time to relax and take direction, however, if you are used to photo shoots, time may not be an issue, you may want to be in and out as quick as possible. So check how your chosen photographer works and how long their shoots are.


Think about whether you need to do makeup etc when you arrive, a lot of photographer run busy diaries and this needs to be something to factor in.


How many ‘looks’ are you looking to get? You may want outdoors and studio lighting etc, some prefer plainer backgrounds. See if your photographer offers a look or package to suit your individual needs, therefore you don’t walk away feeling unsatisfied.

Its not as daunting as people think…

Really, the best way to choosing a good headshot photographer is a mix of recommendation and a gut instinct! You need to be happy with the photographer, why not message, email or call them if you are unsure and strike up a dialogue?


Even if you have seen a friends or colleagues photos that look great, make sure you ask them what the whole ‘experience’ was like with their photographer, was it enjoyable and relaxing, this counts for a lot.


In summary, here’s a guide to the main things to think about:

  • What is your budget?

  • Where are they based?

  • Do you want studio lit or naturally lit (some people call it outdoors)?

  • How much time you will need for the shoot?

  • How many ‘looks’ are you trying to achieve?

  • Are there any retouches included? How many? How much are extra retouches?

  • Is there time to do makeup etc when you arrive, or do you come ready?

  • Is there an online gallery/portal for viewing images after the shoot?

  • Are you 100% happy with your current image, and if not what do you need to sort?

All content ©The APHP and headucation™  2019 / Except images © individual APHP members as noted.

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