How Much Should I Pay For Headshots?

By AM Staff

  • Headshots are extremely important to actors. They are the “business cards” that actors use to obtain representation from agencies and to obtain consideration for acting work. Therefore, actors need to make sure they get good headshots, and be willing to pay adequate money for them. Different types of headshots may cost more or less, and headshot prices will vary based on location.

    Typical Costs

    In most cases, headshots will cost anywhere from $300-$600, at the time of this writing. This is a general range. The costs of these photographs may be less expensive if an actor lives in a rural area or a small market. These costs may be more expensive if an actor lives in a larger, more competitive market, such as Los Angeles. That’s because the amount of actors willing to pay more for quality headshots is greater in a larger market. Also, the cost of living in the L.A. market is much greater than that of a smaller market.

    Getting Good Advice

    When it comes to headshots, the most important thing an actor can do is to receive good advice. The best source of advice is from the actor’s talent agent. Agents are a great source of advice because they have a great understanding of their particular market. Agents understand what types of headshots will bring employment opportunities for their clients. They understand how much headshots in their local area usually cost. And they know which photographers tend to do the best work.

    If you don’t have an agent who can guide you through the process, actors should turn to other actors to help fill that void. Actors should ask other actors where they got their headshots done, what the experience was like and how much did it cost.

    Comparing notes with other actors is not as effective as receiving advice from talent agents because talent agents understand the goals and career paths of an actor better than the actor’s peers. They also understand the local market needs better than the average actor does. However, if one doesn’t yet have an agent, one’s peers can be a great source of information.

    Headshot Scams

    Even though actors should be willing to pay adequate money for their headshots, it doesn’t mean that they should pay an arm and a leg. There are many scams that take advantage of actors seeking headshots, by charging extraordinary amounts of money, sometimes as much as $1500 to $2000. Therefore, actors should seek guidance from their talent agency.

    Unfortunately, some talent agencies are also scams. They pretend to be a legitimate agency, eager to send an actor out on acting jobs. However, they require the actor to get their photos taken only by the agency itself or by a company that is tied to the agency. In this case, the agency is not an agency at all. It is a photography company posing as an agency. They pretend to be interested in sending actors out on acting jobs so they can make a commission on their work, but their real money is made by selling photos to actors.

    That’s why, in addition to seeking advice from talent agencies, actors should also ask other actors about their experiences. Other local actors can shed insight into which companies are scams, which ones charge the most, and which companies have great reputations for providing quality, affordable work.

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