What!!! I need new headshots again?
Headshots are typically your first expense when starting your new acting business. They are part of the start up costs of your business. What every actor should understand about headshots is that you have to keep taking them until you find a picture that "pops" to casting directors and gets you called in for auditions. Sometimes an actor gets lucky and gets a picture that pops from their first session. Others may have to shoot 2, 3, 4 times with different photographers until that magical picture happens. It's all part of the start up cost of your acting business. No one knows why some pictures "pop" and some don't. No one can tell you why a photographer can create a picture that "pops" for one actor, but that same photographers pictures do not pop for another actor. It's truly a mystery.
But it is a fact. And the expense is real. Recently I had a client shoot with a fantastic photographer, who has a history of his pictures popping for actors, but no one in casting is responding to her shots. Her agent wants her to shoot again with a new photographer and try someone else. I have to call my client and explain this. The thing with actors is they just don't understand how that could happen. "The shots look great, what do you mean they don't pop?"
The only thing I can compare it to is advertising commercials, because it is very similar. An advertising team will come up with a concept, create a commercial story board, get the idea approved, cast it, shoot the commercial, air it and after all that money is spent the commercial may not "pop" to audiences and bring in a substantial amount of new or repeat business. Therefore, a brand new advertising campaign must be developed. Of course when the commercial is working, or it "pops" to audiences you may see that commercial 5-10 times a day until it runs out of steam. Then a new campaign must be shot and the whole process starts all over again.
Your headshots are your advertising. They are your billboard. They are subjective and there is no way to determine if the artwork is effective until you create it. If Actors are going to be serious about this business, there is no use complaining about headshots that don't work. It's just time to re-shoot and create a new campaign. (On a side note: When it comes to kids, their looks change so quickly parents have to get new headshots for kids twice every year!)
As a talent manager I am known for telling it like it is. No sugar coating. Sorry to burst your bubble! But if your headshots aren't working, it ain't personal. Just suck it up and re-shoot. It is part of the cost of doing business. Sometimes it amazes me how actors think that running their own acting company is going to be cheap. Newsflash, it isn't. It is actually costs about $8,000 a year with headshots, classes, workshops, etc. So be a smart entrepreneur and always save your money for the multitude of endless costs that come with running a business. Headshots, well I don't think any working actor is ever done shooting them. But, the cool thing is the more successful you become as an actor, then others start picking up the tab for your photo sessions! Waahoo, don't you just love that?
Here is a word from my friend "down under" about headshots. He is spot on.
Liam I agree with what you said on your website about headshots! - Wendy Alane Wright, The Hollywood Talent Manager
" Why is a good headshot important?
Your headshot is your calling card as an Actor and it can make or break your reputation and be the difference between you getting seen by Casting Directors, Agents and Directors.
So many Actors and Actresses I know choose to go for the cheapest headshots around or will get their shots done by their friends or anyone with a camera. The age old adage you get what you pay for really does apply in this industry.
Anyone can take a photo that makes you look nice or attractive but only someone that really understands the industry and how to help you stand out and market your best attributes will get you a great headshot!
Your headshots are the first impression you are going to send out as an Actor and it's so important to make it a lasting one. If they aren't of the highest quality then you're just going to fade into the background and remain at an amateur level. Liam Murphy, Australia
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Wendy Alane Wright Smith