Why Are Headshots So Expensive?

If you’re in the market for headshots, and depending on where you live, you might have uncovered that headshots can be really expensive. In Los Angeles, I came across one place that listed a headshot session at several thousands of dollars. But, do headshots really have to be that expensive?

Are Headshots Expensive

What Goes Into a Headshot That Makes It Cost More Than Just a Selfie?

If you do your homework, headshots can be affordable. But usually there is a reason why they aren’t $50 or less a session. A proper headshot isn’t a passport photo or smartphone shot. A headshot should clearly stand apart from these two types of shots. Otherwise, sure, it might only be $50 or less.

Why Do Headshots Cost More?

There are many reasons why a headshot costs more. If you take a passport photo, it’s a 2×2” photo against a white background and of low print quality. There’s not much of a point to go for great quality in this.

When you take a photo of yourself with a smartphone, you give up quality for the convenience of a smartphone. But, the key word in this phrase is “take.” You take photos with a smartphone. Or you take photos if you’re an amateur photographer. When you get a proper headshot, that photo is “made” by a professional photographer. It’s a planned creation that is properly executed.

What Goes Into a Great Headshot?

I’ve stressed many times that there are four key elements needed to arrive at a great photo – a good creative and technically sound photographer, a good camera and lens, good lighting, and good post-production. Only with these tools can a superior headshot be made.

Finding a good headshot photographer that understands how to use these elements to create a good photo is important. It is also these four elements that make a headshot session more expensive than some people think. Having these four elements for a photographer to use is expensive to maintain. And then there is the on-going cost of running a commercial studio.

But, does it have to cost thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of dollars for one headshot? That is something individual headshot photographers must decide. But there are at least some cases where a headshot session can be far less than several hundreds of dollars.

A Headshot Is an Investment

So, a headshot must be made through a process of using equipment and software for it to be great. And, as mentioned, making a headshot requires expensive equipment and software to be used by a professional photographer. But the other missing context as to why these things are necessary is that a headshot is unlike any other photo of yourself. It’s an investment.

A headshot is a marketing tool for a business or for your personal career. Companies post business headshots on their websites of key executives for various marketing purposes – another article alone can be written about this. For personal careers, headshots are vital for online profiles such as for Actor’s Access or LinkedIn. So, whether you’re an actor or entrepreneur, a proper headshot is likely a very important tool for you.

Headshots can be expensive just as much as they can be affordable. Do your homework and you can likely find some reasonably priced options. But, remember that headshots will likely be costlier than most people might think. A lot of this has to do with understanding the context that a headshot of you is made while a smartphone photo of you is just taken – it’s just a convenient snap. One photo is for making money while the other is just simply for making memories.

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