Headshots 101, part 5: Professional or candids, and how much does it cost?

Professional. Next?

For those who need a deabbreviation: your headshot is your calling card. The human brain can process an entire image in thirteen milliseconds. That's how long you have to convince your future boss, your future client, or your future love of your life that you are the one they've been dreaming of, you and none other. So you can give them a snapshot that your  friend took with their iPhone, where your forehead is bouncing glare, your eyes lack catchlights that give them life, and your face is distorted, because cellphones all have super wide-angle lenses that cause distortions - or you could invest in your future and pay someone to do it right. Go to a trained professional who understands lighting and takes headshots for a living. I challenge you: if you find a well-respected professional who has a poopy headshot, I invite you to copy and paste their link in the comment. I bet you won’t!

So how much does it cost?

If headshots look cheap, they probably are. And they will make you look like you don’t care about your career. Average headshots range from $100 - 150 per image. Anything less is a glorified passport photo and honestly, not worth your time and money. Professional headshots run from $150-$300 per image. Anything above this price tag is likely not worth the price, unless it’s for a larger range of looks, length of the shoot, or other perks. Keep in mind that sometimes it is just the name of the photographer that raises the price tag.

Generally, headshot costs depend on:

  • A photographer's experience

  • Length of the photoshoot

  • How many images you’re getting

  • Whether you’re using a make-up person

  • Retouching

  • Number of looks

Find a photographer who gets you. You have to vibe with the photographer, and that person has to make you feel comfortable, as you will be using this headshot for a couple of years and sending it to everyone in town. Spend what you need to spend to get the job done well.