Another question I get all the time is “Should I have my headshots retouched?” or, alternately “How much should I have my headshots retouched?”
The short answer is yes. It is now an industry standard for actor headshots to be retouched. Your headshot will be compared to and judged against headshots that have digitally whitened teeth, smoothed over skin and brightened eyes. That being said, casting directors have trained their eyes to notice excessive retouching by looking at thousands of pictures every day and have little to no patience for people who have turned their headshots into cartoon caricatures.
I chose this example because the original picture was problematic– the light wasn’t quite right and the subject’s hair was a mess. In the rest of the shoot the hair behaved but in this shot– which ended up being his commercial agent’s favorite– it had a mind of his own. The skin was also smoothed out slightly and the eyes brightened, but by and large the finished project looks like the subject in real life. And in case you were wondering, yes this is a self portrait!
A good rule of thumb is to make sure your headshot lines up with your own reflection. Is that a photograph of you on your best day or a photograph of a stranger? Don’t be afraid to ask your friends opinion. The question to ask is not “Do I look good?” but “Does this picture look like me?
The follow up question, of course, is “Where should I get my headshots retouched?” The answer to this question is often the same as the answer to “Where should I get my headshots printed?” I generally refer my clients to Reproductions in New York City and Argentum Photo Lab in Los Angeles for both printing and retouching. It’s very helpful to be able to look at a test print to see how the retouched photo looks on paper.
That being said, retouching at these photo labs can be on the pricey side and you can save money by going through an independent retoucher. How much does retouching cost? That depends on the retoucher, but I’ve never heard of a legit retoucher charging more than $35 an image. Many photographers do their own retouching or work with a professional. I have recently started working with Roman Faiman from 4-8 Designs. He did the all the retouching examples you see in this blog.
Above all don’t be afraid to voice your opinion to your retoucher. If they are making you look ten years younger– stop them! Explain that you want a natural picture that shows how you really look. You can’t go wrong if your headshot accurately represents what you look like when you walk into the casting office.
Visit www.kitpictures.com to book a shoot with me today!