When they can’t give you want you need – a great headshot!
I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve had actors book a session with me, and tell me they’ve had headshots done before but they’re unhappy with them! The headshot photographer hadn’t captured their personality, or the photos had no sparkle or connection with the viewer.
I’ve had people come to see me after using photographs taken by the local High Street photographer. Sure they were very nice ‘portraits’ of a certain style, sometimes soft focus, often looking back over the shoulder away from the camera and even wearing glamorous, sequined, evening dresses. Nice photographs indeed and they’ll look great on your living room wall. But these kinds of shots are totally unsuitable as working actors headshots. One thing to remember is a casting shot is not a ‘pretty picture’.
Poor old uncle Bob
There’s also been many clients come to me after their ‘friend’ or their ‘Uncle Bob’ had taken their headshots! Check out this scenario, if your gas boiler breaks down in your home you don’t an odd job man, you call a specialist gas boiler engineer. If you’re going to dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant you’d feel cheated if your food was cooked by the guy who normally does the washing up – simply because he said he could!
You expect a professional to do a first class job.
There are people out there whole advertise themselves ‘professional headshot photographers’ but unfortunately they’re not! Just about every photographer can compose and frame a headshot – it’s fairly straight forward. Additionally most people and rustle up a decent meal in the kitchen, though few can reach the high standards of a Michelin starred chef!
A top class headshot photographer works to the same high standards as an expert in their field, delivering first class headshots every time. They have knowledge of the current market, they know the styles the differences between theatrical and commercial headshots. They offer advice and guidance and they know how to help you relax and express your self. This is what you get from a professional headshot photographer. You’re paying for their skills and crucially their knowledge and experience.
Having a poor headshot might not be as catastrophic a risk as having an odd job man fix your gas boiler. But booking an amateur headshot photographer is still a big risk to take with your career. Using poor headshots in your online profile or on casting sites, submitting them to agent’s or Casting Directors says a lot about you and your approach to your acting career. This is a competitive industry and you need to give your self every opportunity as possible to catch the eye of the Casting Director. In my new book ‘50 Tips For A Perfect Headshot’ I explain the nuances of the perfect headshot and the pitfalls of using the wrong headshot photographer.
Although they may have good intentions, the family friend or a local amateur photographer probably won’t have the skills needed to capture your personality in your headshot. Capturing your personality is one of the keys to a successful headshot.
For information on other key points in your headshot check out this article on Backstage it’s definitely worth looking at.
Want to get your own professional headshot taken? Find out more about headshot sessions here