Thursday, March 19, 2009

Headshots in Los Angeles

So many options in Los Angeles when it comes to headshots! What is the most important things to look for? Well, coming from someone who has been acting for 10 years, a member SAG for 7 years, and shooting for 17 years, there are a handful a must-knows to avoid having to learn the hard way.

1) Never pay less than $125 for headshots (unless your buddy's the photographer and he/she's cutting you a deal or something) because 90% of the time this low price is an indication of the quality/expertise you're getting.

2) Never pay more than $450 for headshots (unless the photographer is Annie Leibovits or something or this price includes a package other than just the images) because you are just being taken advantage of, bottom line.

3) There's a reasonable range in between that is fair and is based on quality, photographer skill, style, equipment, etc.

4) You should never need excessive make-up for actor headshots. These are NOT glamour shots! Casting directors, producers, directors, etc have no desire to see you candied up like a China doll with a warm glow all around you!!! They want to see you at your best, but exactly as you are! Be yourself!!! Women, wear the make-up that you would normally wear if you were going on a nice date (not clubbing). Guys, you shouldn't really need any make-up at all (unless you have oily skin, in which case you can use a blotting tissue or whatever).

5) Look for a photographer who doesn't charge for every little thing. My philosophy is "keep it simple". Some photographers charge extra for each "look" etc. It's much easier if the photographer just has an inclusive package that is simple, not confusing, and covers most or all of what you need in one price.

6) You should always get your images and have full rights to them! The days of the photographer hoarding over your images and charging for them is over! You should get them on disc for you to use as you like.

7) Depending on the price of the package, you often get an image or two retouched included. If not, it shouldn't cost you more than $35 or so to have an image retouched. Many reproduction companies charge up to $45. I advise having it done by the photographer.

8) Finally, don't be afraid to wear color! The days of black & white are long gone with headshots and so are the days of NO RED , BLACK, or WHITE. It all depends on the lighting and background that the photographer is using. I prefer natural light. Colorful clothing is good because it draws casting directors, etc to your image! When they are looking through hundreds of images per day (or even, per page online) the ones that stand out will be the ones that have color and draw their attention to them.

Well, I hope this helps! Hopefully it saves you a lot of money, time, and heartache! Happy hunting and break a leg!!!
Sincerely, Josh James

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