Let’s talk about the value of headshots and how much “just one headshot” should actually cost. (Yikes, money talk) Occasionally I get clients who are looking for lowball offers for Tulsa headshots and they think my prices are too high. What those clients don’t realize is that headshot photography is a specialty and not something that any photographer can do well. You can hire any photographer for a headshot – I doubt anyone would turn you down. The problem is that most of these photographers do not specialize in this field so you will likely end up with a sub-par product.


I was inspired to write this post after seeing a facebook status from an acquaintance asking if anyone could beat the price of $75 for a headshot session. Eventually someone offered to do it for around $50. After looking into the facebook page of the photographer who had the winning bid, it became obvious that headshots were not their specialty. This photographer, like most out there, offered generic packages for all different types of photography. I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing on photographers who choose to do this, that’s not my intention. The point is that most photographers are not specialists in this industry. They will probably be able to take a decent photo of your face, but that’s all you’ll get. A decent photo. Great headshots don’t come from “jack of all trades” photographers.


I’ve even heard other photographers make statements like this. The problem is that headshots seem like a pretty easy task. Pick up a camera, tell someone to smile, make sure there’s enough light, and boom! But that’s when you end up with poorly lit, uninspiring photos that don’t accomplish their intended purpose: allowing the viewer of the image to make a genuine human connection with the subject. This is why headshots truly are a speciality. Knowing the best way to light and angle the human face so that it is seen in the most flattering, genuine way is not an easy task. It takes knowledge and understanding which come from hours of practice, research, and hands on experience.


It doesn’t end there! Once a photographer has the lighting and angles figured out, the next task becomes helping people feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera. I’ve had numerous clients tell me that their session experience was so refreshing and fun compared to other sessions they’ve had done in the past. Usually what they tell me is that past photographers didn’t really interact with them – they just had them stand, turn a certain direction, and smile. I often tell people that I’m 20% photographer and 80% therapist. The vast majority of people don’t know how to act natural in front of the camera. This is where my specialty comes into play.


I’ve worked with people across all industries – from CEO’s to stage actors and everyone in between. I am confident in my ability to help you find your most natural, genuine expressions during your session. As a specialist, my job is to help you let your true personality shine through in your finished images. That’s why I say I’m 80% therapist! I will never once tell you to “smile” during your session. Instead we’ll have a real, genuine conversation that will allow you to have REAL smiles and GENUINE expressions that are unique to you. At the same time, I’ll be finding the best angles and lighting techniques that will help people see you in the best possible way.


Ultimately, you have to decide how much value these images will have for you. If you’re an actor/performer like my acquaintance from the first paragraph, don’t make the same mistake they did. Headshots are the lifeblood of actors and performers and can quite literally be the deciding factor in whether or not casting directors hire you. This is not the time to cheap out and go with the lowest offer. And it’s not just actors/performers that rely on a great public image. A great headshot is essential for any business person taking their online presence seriously.

Andrew Barker

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