It’s been a year since you had your last headshots taken, and you’ve come to the conclusion that you need to re-do them as the ones you have aren’t good enough. You’ve changed your hair color? It’s about time then! Now that you have decided to shoot a new set of pictures, how do you go about finding the right photographer for you?
The first, and probably the most important thing when choosing the photographer for you, is to narrow down your choices to the ones whose work and style you like and connect to. Do not go to friend to take your pictures, or to a friend of a friend who by chance takes nice pictures and would be happy to do a shoot for free. Choosing a photographer because he is cheap or even works for free, or is a friend, usually doesn’t produce the portfolio you would want or wish for yourself.
Second, you must make sure that your agency likes the work of the photographer you’re interested in taking your headshots. Check if they know their name, their work, and if there are other actors in the agency who have also worked with them. You would be surprised how many agents are familiar with photographers, and they have their favorites. It doesn’t matter if your family or friends like the photographer’s work, what matters is that the headshots taken help you get auditions and roles that suit you, and that is where your agency’s opinion counts.
The third is chemistry. You need to see if you have a connection with the photographer. Once deciding that you are interested in having this particular photographer take your pictures, do more than just look at their work and call to book a session. During the phone call (never book a session though email or Facebook!) start a conversation with them discussing your background in acting, previous headshots and about your typecast. It is through this conversation that you will see how much of an interest the photographer is taking in you, how important it is to them to bring the best out of you during the shoot and if the two of you connect and have good energy together. Do not underestimate this conversation. It could sway you, more than looking at his previous work, as to whether you want to work with them or not. The shoot could take two-three hours, and you definitively don’t want to feel stressed, nervous, uncomfortable or disappointed because of the person standing behind the camera.
Forth, never pick a photographer based on how much they charge for a session! This should not be a consideration! Don’t compromise as a result of wanting to save money.
Fifth, there is no better time to have your portfolio taken than the present. Pick a photographer who is available, not one who will put off the shoot for a few weeks, or won’t have time to edit your photographs and return them to you in quickly.
Sixth, take an interest in the photographer’s background. If they were, or still are a performer, then they would know better than a “regular” photographer who only spent time behind the camera, what is expected. Also, a photographer who is known for a different genre of photography, such as an event photographer, will most likely be less knowledgeable in directing a shoot and taking headshots for actors. To find out this information, you can look on their website and ask during your phone conversation prior to booking your session.
Keren Ben Ami