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Capturing the Perfect Shot: 5 London Photographers for Stunning Actor Headshots and Expert Portfolio Tips

Updated: Feb 13

As a professional career coach for the entertainment industry and an actor mentor, I am often asked to recommend the best photographers in London for professional headshots for actors. In this article, I have listed my top five photographers who have received excellent feedback from both casting directors and actors. Additionally, I have included some tips on how to prepare and utilise your actor portfolio.

Actor headshots in London

Table of Contents

 

Introduction


When it comes to choosing the right photographer for your actor headshots, it can feel somewhat overwhelming. There are several factors you need to consider, such as the photographer's experience, skills, style, budget, location, length of time of the session, your needs and industry feedback.


Before selecting a headshot photographer, it's essential to think about the types of roles you want to play, the character types, and your general branding requirements.


Doing some research and preparation when reviewing photographer portfolios for acting headshot examples can help you determine whether their style aligns with your branding and acting goals, helping you to make informed decisions and choose a photographer who can capture your unique personality and bring out the best in you.


It's worth noting that there are many great headshots for actors photographers out there, and this list is by no means exhaustive.


*Please note that all descriptions and details are taken directly from the company's website, and no endorsement is intended or should be inferred from being listed below. Before making any bookings, always check their website for up-to-date prices and options.*



What are Actor Headshots?


Actor headshots are high-quality, professional photographs that are essential for actors to get noticed and be selected for auditions and roles in the entertainment industry. Professional headshots and marketing materials can help to define and transform you from being seen as an amateur to an industry professional.


The headshots are usually taken by experienced photographers. They are typically 8x10 in size and are often accompanied by a resume, which lists the actor's training, experience, credits and special skills. A great headshot can make a significant difference in an actor's career, as it can create a lasting impression on casting directors, agents, and producers.


How to Use Acting Headshots


Brand and Marketing: Headshots are an important and widely used tool in marketing actor materials and online casting websites like Spotlight, IMDb, Starnow, Backstage and agent and personal websites. They are the first thing that casting directors see when deciding on role suitability and moving you to the next stage. Hence, they need to strongly align with your brand and acting goals so that they grab the attention you seek.


If you're struggling to identify your casting types or the type of headshots to take. Try asking trusted friends or your agent for advice on the type of roles you are strongly suited for.


Photography Tips: It's advisable to keep any makeup natural; photos should not be heavily retouched, and refrain from airbrushing out your uniqueness, such as freckles or age lines. It's important that your headshots are a true representation of you. There's nothing worse when you call a person to audition, and they look nothing like their headshot.


Clothing patterns and accessories should be minimal, and a good haircut is a must. Don't forget these headshots will be your prime calling card for the next 12-24 months.


What to Wear for Headshot Shoots


Wearing certain colours can help. For example:


  • Redheads should wear baby blue, mint green, yellow, and cream.

  • Brunettes should opt for orangy reds, golds, browns, and deep greens.

  • Blondes can experiment with turquoise, lemons, peach, coral, and deep purple.

  • Black-haired individuals can try cobalt blues, turquoise, rich gold, and bright pink.


How Much Do Actor Headshots Cost in the UK?


In the UK, the cost of getting quality actor headshots can range from £100 to £500. The price varies depending on factors such as the length of the photo session and the number of photos you need to be retouched.


A typical session can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours, and the number of photos you need retouched can range from a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 10. Photographers should send you both high-resolution and low-resolution images. Most people find that 5 headshots are more than adequate for showcasing the type of roles they seek.


Ivan Weiss headshot photographer

Ivan Weiss


About: Ivan Weiss is a headshot and portrait photographer based in Kings Cross, central London, UK. He specializes in headshot photography and creates commercial portraits for branding and promotion. He also supports other photographers on their career journey.


Prices: The Headshots Unlimited; £400.


  • Final images £50 each 

  • Unlimited studio time

  • Unlimited background changes

  • Unlimited wardrobe changes

  • Headshot and full-length options


Reflections Thoughts: I've had a number of actors have their professional headshots taken with Ivan Weiss, and I always get good feedback from both the UK and American casting directors, meaning his photography can transcend both markets. Take a look at some actor headshot examples, taken with one of our clients, former bond girl Rachel Grant, who works on projects worldwide.



John clark Headshot photographer

John Clark


About: Your casting headshot is the single most important factor in getting you into TV and film auditions. I have specialised for 30 years in actor headshots, and though styles have changed, the casting shot is not a social media profile picture, nor is it a half-length shot of you looking cool! Casting headshots have to look like you. Studio located in central London.


Prices: Headshot session for£120.


  • £60 deposit.

  • Sessions will last about an hour, which is plenty of time for 3 changes of clothes.

  • Your own client area with an online contact sheet.

  • 1 retouched image (extra retouching £25 per image).

  • Images saved online for 18 months

  • Online print ordering through your client area from Visualeyes.


Reflections Thoughts: I've also had a number of actors have their professional headshots taken with John Clark, both beginners and experienced actors, and they always give feedback on how great the session was. Take a look at the headshots from a recent shoot with Tina Barnes.


Read the blog post, Actor Mentoring: Career Advice and Guidance for Actors, for tips on self-taping and creating the perfect CV and cover letter.


Michael Shelford photographer

Michael Shelford


About: London-based photographer in Dulwich, dedicated to getting you the perfect image. I love taking headshots (which is probably a good thing!), and having photographed many actors, I understand the importance and power a headshot can hold. We work together in a relaxed and comfortable environment to attain the best possible image for you. I can't stand having my photo taken, and I know what it's like to be on the other side of the camera; therefore, I like to work in a way that makes it as relaxed as possible for you!


Prices: 


Standard £365

  • 1.5 / 2 Hours

  • 3 retouches included

  • 400 - 500+ shots taken 

  • approx 5 different setups/changes

  • £300 for students (discount rate)

  • £100 deposit


Portfolio £575

  • 3 Hours

  • 8 retouches included

  • Extended session for Editorial portraits, full-length portraits as well as Headshots.

  • 600 + shots taken

  •  unlimited setups/changes 

  •  £100 deposit 


Express £250 

  • 1 Hour

  • 2 retouch included

  • A quick one-hour session for people who just need a simple new headshot or an updated shot

  • 250 + shots taken

  • Approx 2 different setups/changes

  • £50 deposit


Reflections Thoughts: I've not used Michael too many times. However, the quality of his shots has instantly led to increased castings. I also like that if you are on universal credit or benefits or in the form of hardship, Michael offers a discount. Take a look at Tom Nguyen's headshots by Michael.


Nicholasr Dawkes photgrapher

Nicholas Dawkes


About: Studio near Gunnersbury tube station with nearly 20 years of experience shooting headshots and portraits, that's a lot of people. Experience has taught me how to get the best out of people and capture something that's reflective of them. That and some direction on camera to make sure you are at ease during your shoot.


Prices: 


Adult £325

  • 2.5-hour studio shoot in Natural and Studio lighting

  • 4 retouches included (extra retouches are £15 each)

  • Free session re-schedule (outside of 48hrs of your shoot)

  • Full break-down of your casting and requirements

  • Unlimited clothing changes

  • Private password-protected gallery

  • Same day 150-200 photo gallery with my favourites highlighted


Kids £315

  • 2.5-hour studio shoot in Natural and Studio lighting

  • 4 retouches included (extra retouches are £15 each)

  • Free session re-schedule (outside of 48hrs of your shoot)

  • Full break-down of your casting and requirements

  • Unlimited clothing changes

  • Private password-protected gallery

  • Same day 150-200 photo gallery with my favourites highlighted

  • * Available to students in full-time education


Returning Client £305

  • 2.5-hour studio shoot in Natural and Studio lighting

  • 4 retouches included (extra retouches are £15 each)

  • Free session re-schedule (outside of 48hrs of your shoot)

  • Full break-down of your casting and requirements

  • Unlimited clothing changes

  • Private password-protected gallery

  • Same day 150-200 photo gallery with my favourites highlighted


Portfolio £395

  • 3 Hours

  • Natural and Studio Lighting

  • Headshots and Full-length portraits

  • Same day gallery

  • 6 Retouches included

  • Bespoke content creation

  • Free session re-schedule (outside of 48hrs of your shoot)

  • Full break-down of your casting and requirements

  • Private password-protected gallery

  • Same day 200-250 photo gallery with my favourites highlighted


Reflections Thoughts: I've had a number of actors have their professional headshots taken with John Dawkes, and they tend to go back as repeat clients. Their comments always mention how fun and relaxed Nicholas makes the shoots. Perhaps something to consider for those who are new to actor headshots and are seeking some extra guidance. Take a look at Sinead Clancy's headshots.



Yellowbelly headshots

YellowBelly


About: A Hackney-based Photography Studio specialising in Headshots and Portraits for Actors and Creatives. Having worked in the entertainment industry for the past 15 years, we were tired of seeing the same unimaginative headshot that didn’t represent the person in the photo. So we set up this little company to try and offer something different. We strive to take honest, truthful and interesting portraits with a timeless, cinematic feel that truly represents the individual. We shoot in our beautiful studios at Mare Street Studios in Hackney.


Prices: 


ONE £315

  • One hour session

  • Three retouched hi-res images

  • Online gallery within twenty-four hours

  • Extra images are £30 each

  • Student price is £295


TWO £365

  • One and a half hour session

  • Five retouched hi-res images

  • Online gallery within twenty-four hours

  • Extra images are £30 each

  • Student price is £345


Reflections Thoughts: Yellowbelly is one of the newer headshot photographers in this list; however, they seem to be quickly gaining popularity amongst casting directors and actors alike. I have personally worked with some actors who have had portfolio sessions with YellowBelly, and they were more than happy with the experience and the resulting portfolio.



Finally, remember that the most important thing with any photographer you use is that you feel confident and relaxed in their company. The more confident and relaxed you are, the better your headshots will be.


If you know of any other photographers that you think are worth recommending, please leave your comments in the section below. You can also check out my LinkedIn profile, where I share and repost industry-related news and job opportunities, or sign up for my monthly newsletter, which also includes receiving updates on when a new blog post goes live.


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