How to pick an Actor Headshot or Modeling Headshot Photographer? 2

How to pick an Actor Headshot or

Modeling Headshot Photographer?

The proof is in the pudding. The pudding is NOT in the headshot! ( I’ll explain later – trust me )


Recently I wrote a few articles explaining the importance of an Actor or Model Headshot and spoke about Branding Portraiture. If you have not taken a moment to read these, you might want to give them a look later.

Professional Branding Portraiture Photography – Ditch the 80′s Real Estate Head Shot
Actor Headshots & Becoming An Actor * Headshot Photographer

Now … Let’s get on with it, shall we… Today I’m going to share a real world story to help folks understand the importance of picking the right photographer in the first place, doing your due diligence before hand and saving yourself a ton of money in the long run by doing so.


A few months ago I received a phone call in the studio regarding modeling headshot photography. The caller, ask a ton of really good questions and after a lengthy conversation indicated that he would call back. Some time later he returned and this time I provided a breakdown of the session, hair & makeup and final print pricing to better help him make a decision. Nearly two months past, he rang again, but this time called ready to commit to commissioning us for a modeling headshot session. As always, I asked that he send over a snap shot of himself so that myself and Fabiola the Hair & Makeup Artist of Fairytale Beauty could get a better look at him before the session. He sent over a headshot ( SEE BELOW ) which he just RECENTLY had taken with another Miami Fashion Photographer. He told me that a local agency was very interested in signing him but said he had to get a new headshot to move forward with them… Now 3 1/2 month from his original model headshot session, a ton of additional research and money we were finally given the chance to turn things around for him.

Let me ask a couple of questions:

  • Why on God’s green earth do so many photographers FEAR SKIN AND PORES?
  • Why is it that so many photographers feel the need to create Mannequins and Plasti-Dolls?
  • Who ever said that people should look perfect? What the HECK is perfect anyways?
  • Who ever said that skin was ugly and should be destroyed and/or turned into pudding?
  • Who ever said beauty marks were unsightly and must be removed?

The truth be told: People are not perfect! Skin is as individual as it’s wearer ; provides character and should be photographed as such. This does not mean we should not help a client look their very best! On the contrary, this means an actor or model photographer should only “retouch” things that can naturally change over a short period of time. Example: [ Pimples; Black Heads; Stray Hairs;  Red Eyes from lack of sleep; Dark Under Eyes Circles, etc. etc. ] For this reason, I personally retouch at a “pore level“, and will NOT turn skin into pudding, will make sure to leave beauty marks where God placed them and provide a true representation of the client in their very best light!

Does the client look better when I’m done? Absolutely!!! Do they look like Plasti-Dolls or Mannequins? HECK NO!!!

Let me back track for a second before all my fellow fashion photographers flame me here. I’m specifically referencing the profession of Model & Actor Photography where it is mission critical that an agencies or art director can see exactly what they are “HIRING”! Agencies / Art Directors need to know that when Calling In an Actor / Actress or Model, the same person they see in their 8 by 10’s will be coming through their door.

  • Just because we can make Mannequins does not mean we should nor do agencies want them

There is a time and place for everything and if a magazine wants their cover models to look absolutely flawless than so be it! I’m all for it and will happily provide an absolutely flawless representation of the person photographed but when it come to actors and models trying to get work, plastic people just don’t cut it in the industry and the proof of this fact can be seen below… ( wait for it … wait for it …  I’m getting there, don’t skip ahead! )


  1. When commissioning a photographer, take the time to look at their portfolio, discuss with them exactly what you or the agency requires and for the Love of God, do your due diligence before wasting your money.
  2. If you think (man or woman) you can do your own hair & makeup; SLAP YOURSELF once for being ignorant and twice for being so damn cheap! (Did I say that?…  YES! YES I DID…) A hair & makeup artist on location during your session will not only provide you with a better photographic appearance but will also provide different hair do’s and fashion styling which ultimately will benefit you by providing a greater number of looks to proof through once your session is over.

OK .. HERE YOU GO … The pudding, so to speak, as promised… ( NOT MY PUDDING, thank you! )

I have included the image given to us by the client which the agency rejected and contrasted it with our headshot which is what they are looking for!

Hair & Makeup / Styling by Fabiola Cristina – Licensed Cosmetologist of Fairytale Beauty

  • IMAGE 1 was REJECTED by a south florida modeling agency shot by another photographer
  • IMAGE 2 was shot for the same client 3 1/2 months later by me; Allure Multimedia
  • IMAGE 3 is another look which we did during the same session

Who’s the Mannequin & Who’s the Model? You be the judge!



IMAGE 2 * HEADSHOT Provided by © Joseph Cristina

modeling headshot photographer by Joseph Crisitna alluremm 304-720px West Palm Beach South Florida

IMAGE 3 * ANOTHER LOOK provided by © Joseph Cristina

modeling headshot photographer by Joseph Crisitna alluremm 403-720px West Palm Beach South Florida

For inquiries regarding Professional Acting Headshots, Modeling Headshots or our anything regarding our Professional South Florida based Photography Services here in Sunny West Palm Beach or aboard and/or to book a session, please ring us at 561.762.8968 or simply complete our contact form located here!

As always, I want to here from you! Comments, Questions & Suggestions for future topics are encouraged!

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About Joseph Cristina

I'm a full-time Palm Beach based Professional Photographer with over 18 years experience in both Photography and Graphic / Media Production. Formal training was received from FAU and the Art Institute in the late 80's. I've worked within multiple advertising agencies along with having work published internationally. Allure Multimedia, LLC is my photographic and multimedia studio base in the sunny Palm Beach, FL. The studio's capacities are many from professional photography to advertising design and multimedia presentation ie. (Wedding Photography, Corporate Events, Modeling, Mitzvahs, TV and Internet Advertising Spots) to name a few. In this digital age, the number of part-time photographers has increase 100 fold diluting the industry with what are known as "weekend warriors". This has lend itself to a rise of a cottage industry of amateurs posing as professionals, underbidding and misleading only to then produce mediocre, at best, final production work. Clients coming to us for professional photography or media creation are reassured by our professionalism, impeccable service, and final product provided, they have made the right decision in commissioning our studio.

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2 thoughts on “How to pick an Actor Headshot or Modeling Headshot Photographer?

  • Joseph Cristina Post author

    For the most part, Grant, I always use a Licensed Cosmetologist (MUA) on assignments. Does not matter if it’s for Lifestyle, Modeling, Boudoir, Actor / Actress Headshots or even Commercial Work! Sometimes I’ll find folks that believe they can do their own hair & makeup. I try my best to persuade them to trust in a professional who’s only job is to make the client look their best!