Let’s start with the basic’s, what is a headshot?
This is for all the ‘non performers’ out there (which is amazing if you’re reading this post). A headshot is that black and white photo, usually moody and intense, you find in programmes. Well, now they are allowed in colour, YAY, and they are as essential as your right arm to a performer.
For a performer a headshot is the ‘bread and butter’ when it comes to castings! Having a good headshot can sometimes be the difference between being seen for an audition and not.
I recently worked (in my Temp job) with an aspiring actress who was trying to sort out all the things she needed to get the wheels moving in her career. During her research and pursuit, she had fallen victim to a scam. This is what gave me the idea to write this post.
I have gained a lot of knowledge from my amazing teachers at Musical Theatre college (and by no means am I saying I am now an expert) and although many of you may know this already, when I was first starting out I definitely didn’t.
This scam was, an ‘agent’, which is someone who works for the actor/performer to find them auditions and hopefully a job. They were offering a headshot service which she would pay for through them and she would then need to pay them money up front. The cost of the headshots would total £750, which they then made frequent phone calls to obtain the cash.
The cost of most headshots in the UK is between £250 to £350. And it is completely normal for agents to recommend a photographer that they prefer, it can actually be super helpful. But it is not normal that they would be asking for payment or money for the photographer. That should be a red flag!
To be clear… The Agent works for you and the only money that is given to them is through your first pay check, in a job that was a direct result of the casting they put you forward for. This would all be clear in your signed contract and agreement with them after meeting and discussing working together.
For anyone starting out or making a career change things can be very overwhelming, and getting the right information is key.
Where to start!
Reach out to people, friends, family or social media. If this is all new to you, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. We all started somewhere! Most reputable photographers are on twitter, Facebook etc. and have a website, so check them out. Gather all the information you can and you can make a well informed decision.
When I was at college, we had a list of a recommended photographer’s, which made life so much easier. But after graduating, and needing new ones I was in the situation of ‘who do I choose?’
Once you’ve made the choice!
So you’ve made the choice, its booked and you’re preparing for the day. Check out the photographers website before, they often have outfit requirements and suggestions for you to bring on the day. They also have advice on hair and makeup. All this can make you feel at ease and reassured. Even when I was having my second lot of headshots done, I was still nervous and felt a bit awkward at the start. But the photographer made me feel completely relaxed and I was soon enjoying posing up a storm!
After you’ve smiled for all your worth, you’ve now got to wait for the final product. You will get your contact sheet (a sheet with thumbnail sized pictures) from the photographer within a few days after your shoot. It’s then decision time and it is always good to get others opinion as well as your own. If you are with an agent, there input is very important. Pick the one that really looks like the real, natural you.
Things to think about!
Once you’ve made your decision and you’ve got your gorgeous shots. Reprints are the next step. This isn’t getting them printed off at Boots! The quality and size (10×8) is as important as the headset itself. An amazing company I use is Visualeyes.
When I graduated, I got 50 reprints and used about 5, then started handing them out to family members. Think about it wisely, maybe get 25 and see how you go, but go with a reputable company and most do some great deals and work fast!
The photographer I have gone with for all my headshots is Mark Davis at M.A.D photography. He’s super helpful and made me feel so relaxed. And most of all I love my pictures.
MUG photography also does incredible work, which a few of my friends have used.
And Darren Bell is another that friends have used and the finished product is amazing.