There are many actor headshot photographers to choose from for audition headshots.
When choosing an actor headshot photographer look at their actor photography portfolio, credentials and the packages they offer. Cheap doesn’t usually mean good value - there is a reason why a photographer would charge below £250 for a headshot session. The most expensive photographer is not necessarily the best either. Look at their portfolio - do you like their work? Do they photograph for top agents?
Does their portraiture stand out from the rest? For some reason in the UK you could not tell the actor headshot photographers apart - fully lit (almost overexposed) tightly cropped headshots which look lifeless with no emotions or personality - very commercial looking. It really doesn’t do actors any favours when they sending their photos to casting directors as they all look the same. It is important that your images stand out from your competition; in a good way of course. Celebrity photographers usually do more unique portraiture but they are not always affordable - their fees can be in tens of thousands and can be very selective about who they photograph even if you could afford them. So what is the solution? Find a actor portrait photographer you like with a portfolio which stands out; is different from the rest.
Also you need to think about whether you are after just tightly cropped headshots or you would like a full acting portfolio which shows your range as an actor. Check out this article which compares traditional actor headshots with casting portfolios which are becoming increasingly popular over in the US and Europe already. The article discusses the importance of having a variety of different photographs showing your casting range so your acting agent can pick the one that best fits the role. Show your suitability for a role. It is easier for casting directors to imagine you for a comedy if you have an image which shows the funny side of your personality but there is no point in sending a lawyer looking one for a villain role for example - I mean you get the picture!
Also you need to check whether professional makeup is included? Photography makeup is really important as professional lighting can reflect on bare skin and wash off colours and so will the sun if shooting outdoors! The right photography makeup can make or break actors headshots. It is important that the makeup artist is trained in photography makeup and that the makeup looks natural for a professional audition headshot. It needs to still look like you. There is a big difference between makeup for fashion and actors headshot so make sure that the makeup artist knows the difference.
It is important that actor headshots are not too retouched. For actors headshots there should not be much airbrushing used and no maternal marks or face features altered which makes you unique. The images must not look fake and best portrait photographers know how to retouch the photos while not losing the real skin texture. Such high-end retouching takes time and skill (it usually takes over one hour per one image) so most of photographers just blur the real skin texture resulting in images which look too fake. There are celebrity portrait photographers who use the real texture and their photos look more like a high definition image from a movie with almost a cinematic feel. The best portrait photographers know how to shoot in a way that doesn’t require any retouching at all so you can actually end up with hundreds of high quality images to choose from for your casting portfolio. However you won’t find one below £350 a session - you get what you pay for as they say - it is an investment in your career.
Top agent and celebrity portrait / actor headshot photographer Zuzana Breznanikova of London Photo Portfolios.
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