As an actor getting new headshots can be a bit of an ordeal, who do you go to? How much should you spend? How many finished shots do you need? What kind of style? I mean a lot of thought needs to go into your headshots, these are your primary marketing tools to get you a job so they have to be just right. They need to be kept up to date, which can become costly, especially with women as we tend to change our appearance quite frequently (hair colour, hair length etc). So where do you start? There is a massive market of photographers out there with many specialising in headshot photography and others who do a bit of everything, the problem can come from thinking of who to choose. This will often come down to cost for many actors as headshots can range anywhere from £50 to over £400 for a session. You don't just want to go with the cheapest and then end up with shots that no one wants to look at, you want quality that is within your budget. If you are lucky to know some photographers, as I have previously been, you maybe able to get a rather large discount so long as you promote their business. If you do not have any photographer friends then I suggest you google the most well known and expensive photographers, the reason I suggest this is because they will have shot numerous high profile actors who regularly get work, take a look at their photos. What do you like about them? What makes them stand out to you. Or take a look at actors you know who are getting regular work, take a look at their headshots. Yes they don't just secure the roles because of their shot, but they certainly got in through the door with the shot first.
Now take that research and find photographers who do images that stand out to you, the easiest way to do this is search on facebook for photographers, as an actor you are probably part of numerous acting pages and many photographers will post ads on there. If you are searching at the beginning of the new year like me they will often be doing a discount too. Have a look at their pages/websites, what makes their work stick out to you?
What you will notice is many photographers do varying session offers which affect the prices. For example you can have a £150 2 hour session with 4 touched up images and multiple wardrobe/makeup changes or £120 1 hour session with 3 images and 3 wardrobe changes. If you already have a variety of previous headshots I suggest going for a shorter lower budget refresher session which many photographers offer.
So my reason for doing this blog is because at the beginning of the year I was in this position, having cut off my long hair and growing out the 'bangs' I needed some new headshots. I have a wide portfolio of shots already and so I knew I did not need to invest for a full 2 hour session, I needed a refresher shoot. I also wanted to have my photos taken in a studio rather than outside, my last few headshots had been outside and so I wanted to have a nice studio contrast to these.
So the first weeks I spent trawling through facebook and other social media platforms looking at various photographers websites and pages, thankfully as it was just into the new year my job was made easy by most advertising across various platforms. I knew what I wanted, a studio shoot with an urban edge at an affordable rate, and that is when I found Roberto Vivancos.
Roberto is an internationally published photographer and actor with over 15 years experience in photography! First off, I loved that he is also an actor so I knew he would be able to see from my side too and not just from a photographers point of view.
I was immediately drawn to his website which is bold and eye catching, his photos are colourful and full of variety from headshots to commercial shoots. The bold cinematic style of the photos was exactly what I was looking for in my new headshots. What was even more appealing was the fact he does a studio refresher shoot ('Adamantium) for £90, with this you get 2 high res re-touched images, two wardrobe choices, one light setup for a 30 minute session. To check out his other sessions please take a look at his website:
So I contacted him about booking a session, his response time was within the same day, if not within a couple of hours. From this he told me I could book through his website, thus picking my own time slot and to pay my deposit which handily is with paypal (I don't know about you but I love paying via paypal). Once I had booked he then sent me a link to his blog: "Things to know when booking a headshot session", this gives a very detailed account of ways to help your session go smoothly, such as clothing choices, hair and makeup and he also provides examples so you have a visual:
So with my wardrobe choices chosen, hair and makeup pre-prepared I headed off to my session. His studio is easy to get to from Dalston Junction, a mere 5 minute walk along the main road (That is in East London for those of you who don’t live there).
I don't know about other actors but I hate having my photo taken, I am overly self critical and always feel my face looks odd in photos which is weird because I am at complete ease in front of a motion camera, ask me to stand still and smile and I hate it.
Roberto was very warm and welcoming, having told him how much I hate having my photo taken he did a great job at putting me at ease. We took ten minutes to chat through my wardrobe choices, what I was looking for from the shoot and for me to generally chill out for a bit. If you’re like me and a complete oily skinned mess, do not panic, Roberto has some powder on hand for that purpose!
The shoot set up was simple with an urban edge, it did not take me long at all to relax into the shoot and just give it my all. It was then I decided I would probably want to get more than the two images, looking over some of the photos as we went along I was so impressed, before even being touched up they stood out and had a great cinematic boldness to them. Though I had not brought a different change of outfit, we managed to get a couple of shots with just my white top I had worn under a leather jacket! I would happily pay for an extra shot.
The session flew by, pain free (hopefully for Roberto too) with that he ensured me I would be sent a link with all the shots for me to be able to select what shots I wanted, extra shots would cost £20, which I personally think is very good. I received the link within the same day and really loved the images, I had such a tough time choosing which ones I should go for. This is the thing you don't want to go for the ones that are nice and pretty (though that helps) you need to go for the ones that say something about you or the character you want to portray, something that will make you stand out amongst the crowd.
Once I had made my decision, along with the extra photo could all be paid for through the 'workflow' site that housed my images and literally within a couple of days max I had my brand new images and have had amazing feedback.
I highly recommend Roberto, he is professional, efficient and an artist, his work speaks for him!
Please check out his site! https://www.robertovivancos.com
Peace and Love xoxo