Some people say your headshot is the first impression you'll make when it comes to an audition, or casting, and this may very well be true. however this doesn't mean you need to spend everything in your piggy bank in order to get the perfect one to take in (specially) for your potential first few jobs!
Granted, you should probably not have take a selfie, or a random snapshot where you think you look great (I have seen some people use prom pictures and what not for a headhsot) , but there is no need to pay more than maybe $100-$200 for a great looking shot.
That's where the magic of photoshop can come in extremely handy.
Considering the following facts...
a) hiring a photographer who has a lot of lighting equipment (which probably needs to be in their personal studio) may run anywhere between $150-$400,
b) an outdoor session may be not only out of the question because of the winter, but because they can be more expensive, and its a pain to walk around with everything you and your photographer may need during the shoot,
c) you may potentially already be a starving artist, and the job you may get (thanks to your headshot) could possibly not even pay for the cost of your photographer's fees after an entire month of work
...then you might want to consider just finding a photographer with the right eye and some decent retouching skills.
As you can see in the example above I show the transitional steps between a 'normal' ok shot and the finished product a beautiful headshot. I took that shot with indoor 'home' lighting and no flash, and worked three different versions with very mild photoshopping that mimic the results of proper (and very expensive) studio lighting. Also for those outdoor headshot lovers, i did an outdoor version.
Having an idea of what expensive headshots look like is definitely important, that way trying to achieve the same results is somewhat easier. You can do this by simply googling headshots of famous people, who obviously have access to the best photographers. Another key thing is having good material to start from.
So I encourage you today to find yourself a friend who knows how to use photoshop, or an affordable photographer who is willing to photograph and retouch your image for a reasonable price, or even maybe just photoshop a picture you or a friend of yours took for you for a flat fee.
D a e v i d M e n d i v i l
is a NYC-based multi-disciplinary artist in the visual and performing arts, creating expressive works through dance, music, photography, painting, film & design.