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Professional actor headshots are the single largest factor used when casting agencies decide whom to call and whom to skip over. Professional headshots for actors help these agencies place their acting talent with film and television producers. With all of the recent legislation in Michigan creating major tax incentives for production companies to film and produce movies and TV shows in Detroit and throughout the state, having high quality actor headshots for Michigan actors is becoming more important by the day. It doesn’t matter if you’re tying to make the Big Time in Hollywood or as an extra in Detroit 1-8-7; having an acting headshot by a professional headshot photographer is an absolute necessity.
Don’t let anyone tell you that becoming an actor is easy and all you need is a decent headshot. That simply isn’t true! A lot of long, hard work goes into the process. However, having a solid base of professional actor marketing materials (e.g. Actor Comp Card, Portfolio, etc) will help give you a leg up over the other aspiring actors and actresses trying to be cast for the same part.
Similarly, it is important to remember your professional headshot represents your professional BRAND. Don’t trust your brand to the cheapest photographer in your area. This really isn’t an area where you want to skimp since your headshots are often the only thing standing between you and a call. After all, presenting a bad actor headshot is worse than not presenting one at all since it will damage your reputation and brand in one fell swoop.
By now, you may be wondering what makes one actor headshot better than the next. “Better” is quite subjective. In fact, a lot of time casting agencies may prefer one type (e.g. high key / white background, low key / black background, color, black and white, environmental, etc) over another simply dictated by the role being cast. That is precisely why having a variety of “looks” and an actor comp card is so important!
So, what makes an actor headshot good? Here’s a short list of items to consider based on my experience and what my clients have been told by acting and casting agencies in Metro Detroit:
- You need to look like a professional. There can’t be anything amateurish about your headshot including the styling/wardrobe, hair, makeup and, of course, the actual photo. It all needs to work together to represent you and your professional brand.
- You need to have a mainstream look that will appeal to the masses.
- You need be properly styled and look hip and fashionable for the current times. Appearing “outdated” will only make it appear that you have not be able to find work as an actor.
- You need to look natural and not obviously retouched. Casting agencies want to know what YOU look like and not a Photoshopped rendition of you. That is, they want to know whom they are hiring before you walk in the door after being called for a casting.
It should be readily apparent at this point that a generic portrait is not good enough. A professional Actor Headshot must represent the entire package. One of the most overlooked components of a successful headshot is professional hair and makeup. Please don’t think that you can simply walk in to meet with a Metro Detroit photographer for a shoot and do your own. You’re not going out on a date. You are creating a professional branding image that Casting Agencies and Art Directors will harshly criticize in a single glance. Having a hair and makeup artist (MUA) on location with you during your session provides two key benefits:
- It will provide the finished headshots with a finished and professional appearance that you are unable to get on your own.
- It will provide you with multiple hair and styling options which will give you a greater number of “Looks” to select from once your session is over.
By now, you can see how much effort goes into producing high quality, professional headshots for actors. That’s why it is so important for the actor or actress to know who they are and how they want to be portrayed. Once you are able to articulate these two key items, it is time to contact us online or call us at 313-883-9500 for a consultation. If you are not able to articulate these yet, that is okay, but you may have some work to do before you’re ready to submit your actor headshots in Metro Detroit or anywhere else.
Paul Manoian Photography does not charge a “Per Look” fee since there is so much that goes into the “look” than just the photography. Rather, our actor and actress clients provided feedback to us that they wanted the flexibility to work with a professional headshot photographer on an hourly basis since, if they know who they are and how they want to be portrayed, sessions for acting headshots actually become more productive.
The investment for acting headshot sessions with Paul Manoian Photography is only $125 per hour (on-location or outdoor session) with half and full day rates available This includes:
- Time and talent of the headshot photographer
- Unlimited wardrobe changes as time allows
- An online private proofing gallery
- Digital Proofs of images you would like to use are only $50 each (includes retouching and image release)
We have partnered with a number of full service salons for professional hair stylists and makeup artists and can provide package pricing upon request. If you would like to hire your own hair stylist and makeup artist, please have them contact us so we can coordinate the headshot session dates.
We would love the opportunity to work with you for your actor headshots in the Metro Detroit area. If you are ready for a headshot consultation, please contact us online or call us at 313-883-9500.