Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a headshot stand out?
In four words: authenticity, personality, confidence, and approachability. An effective headshot expresses the spark of personality and creates curiosity. We want to make the viewer want to know more about you. We also want to convey that you are capable of doing the job well and that you will be easy to work with.
A professionally photographed headshot shows your commitment to be taken seriously as a working professional in your field. For an actor, a headshot acknowledges the range of roles you are suited to play. And finally, your headshot needs to look the way you will appear at an audition or in front of a client.
How many headshots do I need?
For the actor with a clear sense of type, one great headshot will be more valuable than multiple mediocre ones. One of the best things you can do for yourself as an actor is to discover your type and market to it. Many actors find it useful to have both a commercial and a theatrical headshot. Men may prefer to have one with some scruff and another clean-shaven. Women may like to have a clean and natural option and another a little more made up. It’s good to have options and to show your range, but your branding will be most effective when your range falls within a well-chosen type.
What should I bring to the shoot?
Bring your iPod if you like. If you are not hiring a make up artist, bring any make up or styling products that you might need. For women with long hair, we probably will shoot it both up and down, so bring whatever accessories you use to put it up. And of course, bring as many wardrobe options as possible.
What should I wear at the shoot?
It is better to bring too many options than too few. Part of the function of the pre-shoot consult is to discuss what will work best for you, but generally:
- Always consider type when choosing wardrobe.
- Wear clothing you feel comfortable in.
- All clothing should be clean, without wrinkles and new in appearance.
- V-necks and button downs tend to work better than round collars or turtlenecks.
- Form fitting works better than bulky.
- Layers – jackets, light sweaters, etc. -- work well.
- Choose colors, which will enhance your eyes and complement your skin tone.
- Avoid neon or very saturated colors.
- Avoid strong patterns, stripes, and logos on wardrobe.
If you don’t have the appropriate wardrobe, consider purchasing and returning, leaving the tags on.
Do I need to have my hair done before the shoot?
For both men and women, if you are going to get a new haircut, it should be done at least one week prior to the shoot. Don’t try new products or treatments in the days prior to the shoot. Your hairstyle should be something you can do yourself, as it should match the style you will wear at an audition. Bring whatever styling products you use on your hair to the shoot.
Do I need a makeup artist at the shoot?
Most men do not. For women, I recommend that you consider hiring a makeup artist for the shoot. A skilled makeup artist knows what photographs well and what doesn’t. If you hire my makeup artist, she will do your make up before the shoot and be present for the entire shoot to do any touching up or changes that are needed. If you have long hair, the makeup artist can also help with strays and gaps that can occur. These can take a long time to fix in retouching (and incur additional retouching fees) and are best avoided while shooting.
Is it better to shoot inside or outside?
Both have their advantages. I think everybody should have one studio headshot at a minimum. The goal of the process is getting that ideal expression, and it is much easier to do that when we have access to the images onscreen as we work. My suggestion for anyone who wants both indoor and outdoor shots is to shoot inside first, make sure we have what we need, and then take it outside.
I’m in a hurry; can we do this on short notice?
Sometimes the unexpected happens and things need to be done quickly. Schedule permitting, I’ll do my best to meet your deadline.
How can I use the headshots?
You can use your finals for purposes of self-promotion. This includes your personal website, agency, talent or casting websites, social networking sites, printed headshots, business cards, and comp cards. The images cannot be sold without permission.
Images in the online proofing gallery are provided solely as an aid to help you choose your final images. These proofs have not been color corrected or retouched, and cannot be used for any other purpose.
CKG Photography retains copyright of all images. I will not sell or distribute your images without your permission.
Is there a deposit and cancelation policy?
Yes. A 50% non-refundable deposit is required to make a reservation. The balance including tax is due at the end of the shoot. Please note that if you need to reschedule for any reason, 2 business days advance notice is required. You can reschedule one time with 2 days notice and apply the deposit to the rescheduled session. Otherwise, the deposit will be forfeited.
How should I use the pre-shoot consultation?
Shooting a headshot is collaboration between you and your photographer. Use the pre-shoot consultation to make sure that you are going to be comfortable working with your photographer as a partner. You will rely upon your photographer to direct and encourage you during the shoot. You want to feel a good rapport.
From the photographer’s perspective, meeting in person is the best way to help you prepare for the shoot, and will ensure the most productive use of our time.
What should I bring to the pre-shoot consultation?
Bring your current headshots, if you have any. If you have headshots that you like of other actors, bring those as well. One of the things we’ll talk about in the consultation is the kind of roles you intend to audition for, so have some thoughts about your type and goals. And finally, we’ll discuss wardrobe and color. If you have some options in mind for wardrobe, please bring them. I can give you more directed feedback on what to wear based on the specifics of what you bring.
What if I lose the files from the shoot?
Because drives do fail, be sure to keep copies of any important files on at least two separate storage devices. I keep a back up archive of all images for 4 years from the shoot date. If you lose a file, just let me know and I will e-mail a replacement, free of charge. After 4 years, it is probably time to get a new headshot.
Do my headshots need to be retouched?
Yes. Cameras record in such detail that even clear and healthy skin benefits from some retouching. A typical function of retouching is to remove anything that might be temporary, such as a blemish, but that is not the only function. In still photographs, people can look quite different than the way they appear in real life. For example, you may never notice that your friend’s left eye is larger than his right until you view his photograph. Subtle details like that become obvious when a likeness is frozen in a headshot and need to be addressed. Good retouching compensates for distortions created by the camera and lighting, making the photograph look more like real life.
I do the retouching myself and it is something that I am very good at. A retouched photograph should never appear to have been retouched – and that takes time and skill.
What kind of retouching is included in your headshot package?
I address the following in every headshot:
- remove temporary marks on skin, such as blemishes
- soften lines in the face as needed
- adjust and even skin tone
- minimize shine on skin
- remove fly-away hairs
Other, more complex, types of adjustments, such as fixing problems with make up, will likely result in an additional retouching charge.
Will you help me choose which headshot to use?
Of course. When you view the proofing gallery, you’ll see which images have been tagged as my favorites. And after you have narrowed your selections down, I’m happy to give you additional input. The final decision is yours with no obligation to go with any of my favorites.
Which format is better for headshots, horizontal or vertical?
The trend right now is toward the horizontal format. This is because most headshots are viewed on a monitor initially and since monitors are horizontal, the horizontal headshot makes the most of the screen real estate. Some people prefer the horizontal format because it is suggestive of the movies or television.
The horizontal headshot also gives more compositional opportunities while keeping the face as large as possible, making the images more active visually. A horizontal headshot can be cropped to a square or vertical format if needed for use as a thumbnail. However, sometimes you need a vertical; for example, with a comp card or a body shot. If you need some vertical shots or 3/4's, it is no problem to turn the camera ninety degrees.
How about color vs. black and white for headshots?
Headshots used to be black and white because it was much cheaper to have them printed than color headshots. Now that this is no longer true, most headshots for actors are in color. Every digital camera records a color image that can be converted to black and white in software. With every image, you have the option for a color or a black and white version.
Some people say a black and white headshot looks old-fashioned or dated. I disagree with that. There are styles of lighting and posing which can seem dated; however, it is very possible to make black and white headshots look fresh and of the moment. Some images are simply much more striking in black and white.