Photographs, Head Shots, and Portfolios


In the entertainment industry, there are only two purposes served by any photograph:

  1. Something to leave at auditions and interviews to remind the agency or casting people who you were; i.e. a face to go with their notes.
  2. Something to submit on request before an audition or interview to assist the agency or casting people in determining if you are the general physical type that they need.

Peter Sklar Scam Fighter

What photographs do NOT do, except very rarely, is to get you a job.

No matter how excellent your photo or portfolio may be, nobody in the world of Broadway, television or film is going to be able to determine from it any of the following central casting considerations:

  1. How advanced are your talent and skills?
  2. Are you intelligent and articulate?
  3. Are you friendly and outgoing?
  4. Do you have any other interesting personality traits we should know about?

All of those things are determined exclusively by an interview and/or audition.

What this means is that it is pointless to pay hundreds of dollars, or even more, for a portfolio with all sorts of different poses and varied angles of your face and body. Likewise, it is equally pointless to pay to have your photo placed in some sort of booklet for ďexposureĒ purposes.

There is simply too little useful information contained in any photograph, head shot, or portfolio, no matter how professional it may appear, to warrant a large expenditure of money on such items. To suggest otherwise reflects either a lack of knowledge or dishonesty.

Make sense?

Peter Sklar Scam Fighter

This truth is underscored by the fact that pretty much the only people you ever meet who insist that you need a portfolio are those who sell them!

What you WILL need eventually for the two legitimate purposes I listed above is a simple color photo of your face, (head shot), taken by a professional who does that, and only that, for a living.

I personally know several absolutely outstanding and first-rate such individuals who all charge less than four hundred dollars per session. This means that if you pay anyone in New York, or especially anywhere else, much more than four hundred dollars for a photograph of yourself, you are spending more than you need to.

Peter Sklar Scam Fighter

There are lots of knowledgeable people out there who offer advice about choosing a photographer, and about having an effective shoot, so Iím not going to add to all that. I will only advise you this:

Seek out several positive word-of-mouth references, and then peruse the work of at least three or four of them, before deciding.

It is equally important that you have a strong sense that you will enjoy being with your chosen photographer. You will be working closely with this person; the nature of your rapport will reflect in your finished product.