actor's headshots

Model Basics: Interviewing a Headshot Photographer

(photo credit: Dex NY, via Flickr)

One of the most 

asked questions I get is about getting photos, especially headshots. Headshots are the business card for any model or actor, so getting the best shot possible is key to booking work. To use Model Mayhem vernacular, you don’t want a GWC (Guy With a Camera). You need a professional photographer, someone with the experience and equipment to get the shot you need. Whether you’re paying a high-end professional or doing a TFP (trade for print/photos), here are a few questions to ask any new photographer before you book the shoot.

1) Can I see your past work? Do you have an online portfolio?

If the photographer says “no” then pass. Even rookies will have work to show you.

2) Can you re-touch the images?If not, do you know someone who can?

Your photos will need professional retouching to take out any blemishes or other captured weirdness. Unless you are a Photoshop master please do not do this yourself. Over-edited photos look like you’re hiding something, and you must look like your photo—but it’s the polished version of you.

3) What will you use the images for? And for how long?

Unless you hire one, photographers are shooting you for their own purposes. What are they looking for from you? This is a crucial question because you need to control how your image is being presented (especially online). If a photographer wants to do “art nudes” or “glamour nudes,” kindly end the conversation and move on. Nothing wrong with nude work, just not for your headshot. 🙂

4) How many looks can we do? How long will the shoot be?

You’ll need a minimum of two looks starting out: a corporate shot and a more casual lifestyle shot. If you can do more—great! What about a sporty look? An upscale/cocktail look? The more range you can present an agent, the better chances you have of booking work. Also, defining the time will help you schedule the shot list and figure out when you need to move on or adjust your shoot schedule.

5) Where do you like to shoot?

If the photographer has a studio, ask to see the backdrop options (we’ll look at top choices in the next chapter). Outdoor headshots are a little trickier, but in my opinion, look the best. A real environment gives the photo depth and warmth. Ask the photographer if there are great outdoor settings you can choose from, or if you can scout a location that would work. Parks and areas with gorgeous buildings are great choices.

These questions not only protects both you and the photographer in outlining expectations, but also tells the photographer you’re a professional– even if it’s your first shoot. Having a business mentality shows you mean business, and in return, gets you the business you want.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...