Though the need for headshot prints have diminished in a digital age, they’re still recommended and often required by many casting directors, hiring managers, agencies, etc. With that being said, the first thing you’ll actually need are headshots. I shoot headshots in Las Vegas, and the first thing you need to know when looking for a photographer is if you have the license for prints. You see, any artist always owns the work he creates, even if someone pays for it. The artist, in turn, grants a license to the client. Me personally, I basically offer a license where you’re free to do what you want, all I ask is that I can use the photos for marketing on my website, portfolio, social media, etc. Unfortunately, most photographers don’t do that, because they want to make more money with an extended license or offering their printing services.
You might be wondering, “I already have the pictures… How is he going to know if I have them printed?” Typically, the photos will be delivered in a lower resolution meant for the web, because all you need is about 2MP because that’s what a 1080p screen can output, and/or they’ll be delivered at lower DPI (a metric for printing). So the most important part is finding a good photographer, one who can capture a great headshot and that offers a license for prints.
One of the most memorable moments of my life was flying on a private jet to Ft. Lewis for an event with a bunch of talented entrepreneurs… one being best selling author Ramit Sethi. I remember when Ramit sat down with one of the most well known commercial photographers, Chase Jarvis, on an episode of Chase Jarvis LIVE. He said something along the lines of, “One of the biggest mistake photographers make is showing a client their portfolio, sitting back and expecting them to understand your brilliance.” I took that to heart and that’s why I’ll breakdown the process of a few of my headshots and portraits on this blog.
A popular request for professional/corporate headshots is a pure white background. Pure white is Apple-esque in its resemblance, with a modern, yet simple look. This no-frills approach is perfect for the person who wants a photo that looks professional, yet friendly. Perhaps capturing the spirit of, “I may be the CEO, but you can still grab a drink with me.” Sort of like this example of Richard Branson on a pure white background.
A few years back I was offered my first paid gig through a friend. I was uneasy because I had never thought of myself as a photographer, much less a “professional.” But I accepted, photography was always a hobby that I wanted to get better at and I figured if anything went wrong I wouldn’t accept payment.
All I knew coming in is that they wanted graduation photos, having no experience I literally just said do a search for “graduation photos” on Pinterest, save a few pins and we could replicate that during the shoot.
We arranged the shoot outside of my office during lunch which already showed my inexperience, didn’t even think about the Golden Hour for Photography or a better location.
Whether you’re a photographer, or perhaps an actor looking for inspiration, I’m going to go through a list of my favorite celebrity headshot photographers. Now, I won’t be sharing any of their copyrighted photos, thus I do encourage that you click over to there website and check out there portfolio. Without further ado, let’s jump into the list (in no particular order):
#1 – Michael Jordan Smith: Los Angeles Celebrity, Beauty and Headshot Photographer
As a portrait and headshot photographer, I draw inspiration from a lot photographers that have come before me. And I’ll start with Matthew Jordan Smith who I happened to catch on an episode of The Grid:
We’ve all heard that statistic that 80% of businesses fail within their first year, I’d say that percentage rises even higher for photographers. It’s just the sad truth of the industry that many families own a DSLR, and are happy with good enough because they haven’t seen extraordinary. As a marketing consultant, I’ve worked with many businesses who don’t need to hire for headshots, when Bob in accounting has a DSLR. I’ve worked high profile events where a headshot was sent in last minute via their iPhone.
If you’re reading this you’ve come to the point where you know you need a headshot. You know the value of a headshot and have an idea of what makes a headshot great, now you just need a few tips from the professionals. We all look at things differently. Photographers tend to be critical of the technical aspects of a photo. A makeup artist wants to see her work shine in a photo the way it does in real life. A casting director wants to see a compelling headshot that stands out from the pack. Today, we’re rounding up headshot tips from the pros including headshot photographers, hair and makeup artists, acting coaches and casting directors.
A mere selfie can tell a lot about a person, enough that USC has a class specifically on selfies* that examine what self portraits say about us. The class professor, Alison Trope, has used selfies to examine race, ethnicity and gender norms. She adds:
“Selfies are not just about self-portraiture. They are also autobiographies and autoethnographies…. The more interesting ones deliberately challenge conventions or templates of a beautiful face and body, and really try to show something broader about who you are as a person, about how your identity can be about performance or politics or changing norms. As this kind of use of the selfie travels via networks and social media, it can potentially take on a kind of cultural and collective power.”
Just imagine what a good headshot can do. While traditionally used for actors, in a digital world having a good headshot is more important than ever to anyone. In your professional life, it could be the difference of landing the job vs staying unemployed for a few more months as we’ll show studies that show even small variations in expression can affect another persons perception of trustworthiness. In your personal life, it’s your first impression on social networks. For online dating, it could be the difference between landing a date and potentially meeting the girl or guy you spend the rest of your life with. For those that think I’m exaggerating, there have been multiple studies that show that just your name can effect how a person perceives you, in your personal or professional career. And that’s a name without a photo behind it. In a digital world, your profile picture is your first impression.