How to choose a good headshots photographer:
1) Find a headshots photographer you believe you will be comfortable shooting with. I firmly believe that being able to “hit it off” with a photographer and develop a good rapport with them can make a huge difference in the way your headshots turn out. When you’re comfortable and enjoying what you’re doing, it’s much easier to project one’s self to the camera in a confident, comfortable, and positive fashion. You’re also much more likely to feel comfortable experimenting with different looks, facial expressions, etc. which can lead to some truly unique, eye-catching, and outstanding headshots. Smiles are genuine, not fake, and expressions tend to be much more vibrant and alive.
If at all possible, take some time to speak with your prospective photographer(s) beforehand to try and get an idea of what their personality might be like and how they communicate.
2) Find a headshots photographer whose portfolio demonstrates that they can take quality, professional looking headshots done in a style that you really like. It should go without saying that you should like the work of the photographer you choose to work with. You may not feel like a definitive judge of what makes a perfect headshot, but it is important that whichever headshot photographer you choose consistently demonstrates in their portfolio that they can take the types of photos you are looking for.
If you love a photographer’s style and the work they have in their portfolio, the chances are very good that you will love the work they do with you.
Photographers’ “style”, what to avoid:
Some photographers work hard at developing a particular “style” of headshots in order to stand out in the very competitive business of headshots. In some cases, this will make no difference one way or the other, provided you like that particular style.
However, there is an increasing trend by some headshot photographers to overly crop a photo. This means to cut off or exlude certain features of a subject, such as hair, foreheads, chins, ears, etc. In some cases, this is perfectly acceptable. But in other cases, extreme cropping is a sure sign that your photo will end up in the casting director’s “rejected” pile.
Basically, if your headshot is hiding a particular feature from a casting director that they feel is significant, then your photo has been excessively cropped. Overly cropping an actor’s hairline can lead the casting director to believe you may be bald. Maybe the ear that is conspicuously left out of the photo is disfigured? Maybe you have a huge scar on your chin. If it’s not in the photo, they won’t know.
Over-cropping is bad. Avoid it.
Whether it’s a photographer who is a celebrity or it’s a photographer who has worked with celebrities, keep in mind that it really doesn’t matter at all when it comes to your headshots. A casting director just wants to see a good headshot. They don’t have any idea or even care about who the photographer has worked with in the past. So as much as the photographer themselves may impress you, all that really matters is the quality of your headshot. So be sure to choose a photographer based on the quality of their work and not the celebrities they’ve worked with.