What am I paying for?

The costs and inclusions of a headshot photography session!

One of the toughest parts of a photographer’s job is pricing their work.

It’s true! One of the toughest parts of a photographer’s job is pricing their work. The photography industry is evolving all the time. The camera is not the magic black box of the past. For the average photographer, doing average work that most photographers can do does not take much skill. Such work is a commodity. To make a living as a photographer you must bring something new to the table — bring back the magic.

To us, here at Queensland Headshots, this means to provide more than just the Headshots. Without dismissing quality, most photographers can frame, light and shoot in focus a headshot for you. But do they really understand what it’s for? Do they understand the industry? Do they understand the difference between a smile and the ability of an actor to actually smile? Can they, not only capture the story behind the expression, but help the actor to bring it out during the shoot? Do they understand an actor’s role suitability? The actors direction they want to take their craft? All these things and many more go toward taking an Actors headshot over taking a standard headshot. 

So what do you need to look for?

There are a RANGE of things you should be ready to educate yourself on. Not to mention a lot to consider. Here I will list enough to get you clued up to the incredibly complex world of Actor Headshots.

Not all professionals agree on a particular standard for framing an Actors Headshot!

When I began Queensland Headshots, I contacted hundreds of professionals across Australia, the US, Japan, the UK and New Zealand. I included Photographers who offered headshots as a service, Agents, Casting Directors, Actors and Managers. I recorded their views on Actor Headshots in a spreadsheet covering all aspects of shooting including; Framing, Lighting, Colour, Angles, Posing, Direction, Clothing, Makeup, Expressions and more. The results were amazingly varied.

More surprising than the many different views between the professions themselves was the different views of casting directors to other casting directors, agents to agents and photographers to photographers.

No wonder Actors get confused when deciding what photographer to choose, what style to get done and what amount they should be paying.

In addition to the questions, I showed a variety of different headshot styled photos from a range of photographers and the results were again quite varied. There was however some overwhelming commonalities the majority agreed upon too. They were the following.

In regards to lighting.

Lighting should be uniformed across the face allowing for both sides of the face to be clearly seen void of harsh shadows.

So no “dramatic half face lighting” or “sharp angled” lighting that causes harsh shadowing.

In regards to colour.

Headshots should be shot in full colour with your natural skin tone being correctly depicted. 

Black and White photography is fine to have in your “Portfolio” But an Actors Headshot should always be in full colour.

In regards to makeup.

Makeup should be extremely natural. A headshot should give a casting director a visual reference to how you really look in person. NOT with glamour makeup on, this includes staying away from contouring your face. Unlike a model, as an actor, your “flaws” make you unique and give you character.

In regards to framing.

An Actors headshot should be framed as would a closeup (CU) shot be framed in a film. Although many photographers call a Medium shot, or waist up shot a headshot, it is not. It can definitely be part of a headshot shoot and should be part of your portfolio. But the correct framing is from the chest to the top of the head. 

Framing is one of the most contested aspects of Actor Headshots due to the huge number of photographers that come from a “Corporate Portfolio” background. Actor headshots have subtle differences to portfolio shots. 

Horizontal or Portrait shots. Again there are differenting views but overall the consnsus 

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