Many professional photographers offer headshot sessions for models, actors, musicians, comedians and other talent to use in their portfolios and promotional materials. These professions require high-quality photos that capture the subject with the best lighting, flattering angle and facial expressions. The average cost nationwide for a professional modeling headshot is $65–$215, but most photographers offer a number of add-ons such as extra final versions, advanced retouching or a mix of different looks.
Number of final shots
Modeling headshots packages typically include a set number of final shots. Depending on the location, most headshots cost at least $100 per final shot. Most headshot photographers offer packages that include a certain number of final shots plus retouching. Alida Bonifaz of Alida Bonifaz Photography typically charges $250 for two to three final shots. Clients can add additional retouching on any of the final photos for about $15 each. Evelyn Murphy Fashion & Portrait Photography owner Evelyn Murphy also designs packages for clients based on how many final shots they need, typically charging $250–$500 for up to five shots and $500–$800 for five to nine shots, which is enough to create a comp card. Murphy includes retouching in her package prices but can do additional retouching as requested for about $20 per shot.
John Glover Photography offers a special intro package that costs $175 for a 30-minute shoot and one final image. Glover’s retail packages are priced as follows:
45-minute shoot with one or two looks and one retouched image: $200
75-minute shoot with two or three looks and two retouched images: $275
shoot with three or four looks and three retouched images: $450
For all of these packages, clients can add makeup services for $75. Glover offers many add-ons, such as extra retouched images for $35 each, additional looks for $50 each and a variety of services for clients who want to create an online presence using their headshots.
Photographers who specialize in portraits typically have studio space and all the necessary camera and lighting equipment to get the results that clients need. Most photographers can also shoot on location indoors or outdoors, though longer travel distance and difficult lighting situations may cost extra.
Hair, makeup and wardrobe
Most photographers can refer you to hair, makeup and wardrobe stylists. The services of these professionals, of course, will add to the overall cost of modeling headshots.
Modeling and talent agencies typically use digital images when adding a new headshot to their catalog, but some agencies still ask for high-quality prints. Be sure to find out what you need before you select a package with your headshot photographer because most photographers charge extra for printed photos and high-resolution digital images.
If you don’t need high-resolution image files (for printing), you will save a bit of money. If you do need to print your headshots for distribution to an agency or inclusion in a look book, be sure to tell your photographer because that will increase your cost. It’s also important that the photographer understands upfront how you want your images delivered.