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When deciding who to audition, casting directors cull through hundreds of headshots. The best way to ensure your headshot makes a great first impression is to hire a professional headshot photographer.
Finding a headshot photographer within your budget may seem difficult, but if you persevere, you'll find the person who's just right for you. Word-of-mouth is a great way of finding a photographer. If you see a headshot you like, take down the photographer's name and contact him. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a photographer:
-Your budget. Headshot prices can range from $100 to $1,000 and up, depending on your location and the photographer's experience. Newer photographers building their portfolios will charge less, more established photographers will charge more. Price does not always determine quality, however. A young talent may be just the photographer for you, so shop around until you find a someone within your budget. Don't make the mistake of choosing the cheap headshots if you're not thrilled by the photographer's work. A lousy headshot will close opportunities, lose you jobs, and cost you a fortune in the long run.
-The package. How many shots will the photographer take? How many headshot prints are included in the price? Will he shoot in digital or on film? Black and white or color? Will you receive a contact sheet or the images on a CD? Will there be a hair and makeup person available to you, and is that included in the price? Will there be clothing changes, mood changes, and outdoor as well as indoor shots? What is the photographer's turn-around time? Will you need to sign a release form to duplicate the headshot?
-The photographer's eye. Try to meet with the headshot photographer in person to discuss your headshots before hiring him. You want someone who is professional, confident, and knows what he's doing. His goal should be your goal: to get you work. During this initial meeting, the photographer should be trying to get a feel for your personality. Ask him how he plans to make you stand out from others in your age range and physical type. Look through his portfolio and point out what you like about certain shots and what you don't think would work for you. Do you like a certain composition? Are you not so crazy about a particular lighting effect?
The best headshot photographers are skilled craftsmen with an artistic eye. Keep looking until you find a photographer who "gets" that special something about your personality and can capture it on film simply, naturally, and elegantly!