It does not cost a thousand dollars to take a photo. As you’re getting into acting, you are going to need a headshot. However, many actors take this to be the most risky investment. They already spend so much money for a photographer to take their picture, costing them so much that it could potentially lose them their career. That is NOT what a headshot should be. Your headshot is your first (INEXPENSIVE) step to succeeding in the realm of acting. One of the things to look for in a photographer is to ask yourself… Is this a reasonable price? Anything over triple digits is absolutely absurd, anything over 500 is leaning a bit past reasonable.
While you would like to find the cheapest photographer possible, you do not want a cheap photographer. You know? It isn’t just about the price. People who are paying are paying for assured quality. Look at the photographers past work, compare it to the expensive photographers. While the quality may not exactly match, is it still a good quality? Or could you take your own selfie? How do you determine quality?
You are paying for experience. Look for someone who knows what they’re doing, who can tell you exactly what casting directors are looking for. You can get a picture that is perfect for your Instagram page, but they can get a picture that is perfect for a booking. That is what you are looking for in a photographer. Look for that expertise. Someone who has taken photos for this field would likely talk to you more about “standard issue backgrounds” and give advice on what to go for in a role.
Look for a photographer who cares about you. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a good relationship, or that they are really smooth talking business people, look for someone who actually cares about your success. Someone that actually wants you to take this headshot and land bookings, and in turn land roles. These are the people that will provide you with the best image you can possibly get. People like this are also very few and far between, but they exist. And they are good at what they do.
When you are hanging out with your actor friends and you get to talking about where they got their headshots, this is what you are going to listen for. Don’t listen to how expensive, or how nice the background is, or how good the picture looks. Listen to if it proved to land them a booking or audition, if it was a killer deal with a nice photographer that really listened to them and knew what they were doing. Don’t waste your time, don’t waste your money. Your headshot should not be a waste or costly, this a boost to your career as you get into the marvelous world of acting.