How to Choose a Headshot Photographer
When deciding how to choose a headshot photographer, first and foremost, you should narrow your choices to photographers who shoot in a style that you like. Don’t shoot with your friend (or your friend’s photographer) just because the price is low, or because your friend likes the photographer. Only consider headshot photographers whose work and style appeal to you.
How Does Casting View Their Work?
Make sure that casting directors and agents like the photographer’s work. It matters little if your family and friends like them—what matters is if they will get you in the door of casting directors and agents.
Do You Have A Good Rapport?
Next, you need to find out if you get along with the photographer. Schedule an interview, and do more than just look at the portfolio (you can always do that online). Your photoshoot can last a few hours, are you going to be nervous around this person? Do you like them? Can you hold a conversation with them? Rapport leads to better photos—shoot with a photographer that you enjoy being around and your photos will show it.
Is Money An Issue?
A note on price: never choose a photographer based on price. Your headshots can make or break your career—you want to make sure you are picking a photographer for the right reasons, and price (expensive or cheap) is not necessarily one of them. There are expensive photographers whose work won’t serve you. And there are inexpensive photographers whose work will.
Ask Experts for Photographer Referrals
If you’re not sure about a photographer’s reputation, or whether casting responds to their work, don’t be afraid to ask—many casting directors and agents are happy to share a list of recommended photographers. They can also quickly share a “yay” or “nay” if you send a message about a specific photographer’s work.
A Note On Referrals
Many acting coaches and studios only recommend photographers who pay kickbacks for student/client referrals. When getting a recommendation, be sure to ask if the person making the recommendation makes money off the referral. While this is a questionable practice, many acting teachers and schools not only charge photographers for client referrals, they also make money when a student books a session.
I don’t participate in these pay-for-referral relationships. I also feel that actors should at least be aware that they exist, and know whether a recommendation is making money for the person making the referral. Figuring out how to choose a headshot photographer shouldn’t include knowing whether you’re paying extra for recommendations.