actor headshots New York
About Your Session
Headshots are your number one marketing material as an actor. Before anyone scans your resumé, clicks on your demo reel, reads your bio, or watches your audition, they will see your headshot. When the folks casting any particular project do so, they will likely make a ton of assumptions about your cast-ability for their project--whether we like it or not. As an actor myself, this drives me crazy, but I know we can't change that fact. What we can do is use this knowledge and leverage it strategically to the best of our ability.
What does this mean? We need to get specific. This is why every headshot session comes with a FREE CONSULTATION. We'll talk about your career goals, the kinds of roles you tend to play, what people see you as, and turn all of this into a conversation about every actor's favorite thing: TYPE. (JK LOL, WE SPEND OUR LIVES WORKING ON OUR CRAFT AND VERSATILITY AND NOW YOU WANNA TYPECAST US. WHHYYY? Okay, actually, let's talk about that.)
The purpose of this is not to limit you, but the reality is that casting will often get thousands of submissions for any given role. If our headshots don't clearly reflect who we are and what we offer, casting directors will click along to the next actor who DOES tell them that with their marketing materials and headshots. In other words, the more specific we are, the more doors your headshots can help open for you!
So it's important to find self-awareness and get insanely specific about what is unique and special about you, so when you see those breakdowns for those delicious roles you can knock out of the park, your headshot practically shouts out: I'm perfect for this. Call me in!
In this sense, you'll get out of our session what you put in. I will guide you in the process, but the more specific and self-aware you get, the more we'll get headshots that will work for you.
Once we go through all of this, we'll decide whether you'd like a studio session or outdoor session, and I'll help with some clothing selection for you to bring that day.
The day of the shoot is so much less pressure than you may think! If we have vision and a plan, then we'll show up, chat, have fun, capture more images than you could ever know what to do with, and hopefully be new friends afterwards. As someone who has gotten pretty nervous for these shoots when I go to them as an actor, I make it my business to make this whole thing fun and easy!
Single Look - $325
Need to round out your headshot arsenal with an additional look you are missing? This is the perfect way to focus in on one type that we can nail down. Includes two retouched photos.
Full Session - $625
Everything you will need! 2-3 hours of shooting, unlimited looks (we'll usually narrow down to 3-4 to focus on), and 4 retouched headshots.
Additional retouches $30. Makeup artist available for additional fee.
What makes a great actor headshot?
Amazing actor headshots have a few qualities. They should absolutely look like your best you. They should allow an unique and authentic piece of your personality to shine through. And they should be specific and in line with your cast-able, marketable, playable "types", so that casting directors can clearly envision you for the roles you are submitting for. Without these things, headshots tend to be ineffective, no matter how pretty or photographically creative the shots are.
How do I book a session?
Easy! Just shoot us an email at ValNovaPhotography@gmail.com with the time frame you are looking to shoot in, and we'll get back to you with available dates. Please note there is a $150 deposit required to book an appointment.
My (insert friend, agent, acting teacher, casting director) says (insert name photographer who may or may not cost a lot of money) is the best person and I should go to them instead. Why should I choose you?
Look, there are a LOT of other headshot photographers out there. A few are sadly not very good, most are serviceable, and there are handful that I genuinely believe do amazing work. I am not the only one, and headshots are not one size fits all! You should research carefully and meet with/talk to your prospective photographer. Make sure they are on the same page and equally as invested in YOU and your shots as you are. Make sure they collaborate and have vision when you talk to them. As a working actor, I have spent upwards of $1000 on headshots from "the best" photographers that left me feeling disappointed because I felt like I was just being moved through a machine. I feel committed to not putting another actor in that position. I feel personally invested in my headshot clients and approach each session with the same passion and commitment that I would approach my own session. This stuff is a big investment for us actors, and you deserve an equal investment from your photographer.
What should I wear to my headshot session?
We'll go through this in more detail in our consultation and leading up to the shoot, but I recommend taking a look at as many actor headshots you can. Given the close crop of headshots, necklines can communicate a lot, so think about what suits you! Translucent materials usually don't do us too many favors, but solid colors and textures can be great. Typically, I'd recommend avoiding loud patterns, but every once in a while, for the right actor, having a pattern option in your "back pocket" can be the right kind of quirky! Research what pops in other shots, and we'll discuss!
What do casting directors like more, indoor or outdoor headshots?
Every person--your acting teachers, friends, agents, casting directors--will probably have an opinion about which makes for better actor headshots, and they're just that: opinions. The casting director for your favorite TV you're trying to get in the room for might have one opinion, while the CD for a film your perfect for might have the opposite opinion. At the end of the day, both indoor headshots and outdoor headshots have benefits. Outdoors can give us great natural light and variety; indoors can give us a more private and controlled environment. Listen to your gut about what speaks to you and your marketing plan.
Should I hire a makeup artist?
Most photographers will tell you that you MUST hire a makeup artist, and if do you choose to for our shoot, I have a few I work with. For me, I say: know thyself. I personally need a hair and makeup artist for headshots. I can make myself look all right for an audition or night out, but when it comes to the skill it takes to apply makeup for myself that is that perfectly natural and effortlessly beautiful look you want for a headshot, I just don't trust myself like I do a professional. That being said, there are a few folks in my portfolio who did their makeup on their own and 100% rocked it. I'd just say be realistic and do that at your own risk--extensive retouches to fix uneven or sloppy makeup may cost more, or even just ruin the photos and make them look less natural from all the retouching. And with the time, energy, and money you are investing in this, you do not want that. So again: know thyself! When in doubt, hire a professional. It's worth it.
What if I have to reschedule?
Of course in this business, things may come up last minute. If you need to reschedule our shoot, I request at least 48 hours notice. Otherwise we may have to process your deposit and place a new one for your rescheduled date. For outdoor shoots, I will of course need to keep an eye on the weather for us and try to make a call within 24 hours of the shoot if things look dicey.
Will we review the photos during the photo shoot?
Some photographers don't like to show actors photos throughout the shoot, but for me, this is a collaborative creative effort between you and I. We won't review all the photos as we go, but I'll likely show you some as we go along through the shoot to make sure we're on the same page as far as capturing your type, and so you can bounce any ideas and thoughts you have off me as well!
Where do you shoot?
If we shoot outdoors, we'll meet at my studio in East Harlem and find spots that have light and backgrounds that work best for us given the light on that day. Indoor shoots take place in Long Island City.
When do I get the photos after my shoot?
You will be sent a downloadable proofing gallery within a week of your shoot. Once you've chosen your photos, please allow another week for initial retouches. Should you need your photos at a quicker turnaround for that big audition or agent meeting: worry not! We can do rush delivery for an additional fee!
Do I own the photos?
Of course. You will be sent a fully downloadable gallery of what will be hundreds of images from our shoot. I highly recommend backing these up for yourself on an external hard drive or flash drive in the event you'd like to get additional images retouched in the future. I do not recommend submitting/printing photos that have not been retouched!
Will your headshots help me book work?
I have had actors contact me to let me know they've booked work directly from headshots--which is pretty awesome! However, it's important to note that booking ANY work directly from headshots is extremely rare in this business, and it's best to assume this will never happen to you no matter how awesome your headshots are and who took them. Headshots are also not the only thing that get you into audition rooms: you have to be working on your craft, building a reputation for yourself, and cultivating relationships in this business, However, my goal in our session is to make sure that even if casting has other reasons for not calling you in, that your headshot will never be the reason you are turned away, and that it will always be a thing that gives you a leg up in this already competitive business!