Actors Headshots

Our Actors and Performers headshots show you at your very best!

We understand how important it is for your headshot to accurately but attractively communicate your individuality and personality. Your headshot is your calling card, and is what agents, clients and casting directors see first. Over the years, Paul and Brenda of Upstate Photographers have built a reputation in the Capital Region for being the “go-to” photographers for commercial and theatrical Actors headshots that consistently are met with approval by agents, casting directors, and other decision makers, not just within the Capital Region, but in major markets like NYC and LA. And while we are proud of the large number of working actors who come back to us again and again for their updated headshots, we love working with student actors of any age.

It can be very tempting to whip out your iPhone and have someone snap your picture standing in front of a wall. It can be especially confusing because for individuals submitting to major modeling agencies, that’s exactly what many of the big agencies want from prospective models. But that’s not the case for actors. Another mistake is to try to use a photo from a family portrait photographer or studio. Either approach typically produces results that have nothing in common with a true actors headshot, and can be an expensive mistake in terms of lost work and opportunities. It’s so easy and inexpensive to have a professional actors headshot created by experienced and proven headshot photographers like Paul and Brenda, there is simply no excuse for using anything less!

Typically, a basic headshot session can be completed in our studio in a half hour or so. This can stretch to an hour or more if you want to shoot several different looks (wardrobe, lighting and/or setting changes) or add outdoor locations (weather permitting). Add another 45 minutes to an hour if you are planning to have an on-set makeup artist.

To make an appointment, call us at 518-526-9970, or email paul [at] upstatephotographers [dot] com

Want to see more examples of our actor headshot work? Click here!

Pricing and Options (revised 08/12/2014)

In-studio Professional Headshot Session $99 to $199*

Our actors headshot sessions are quick and painless, and you can make your selections and have your images the same day**:

  • A relaxed photography session shot in high-resolution professional digital in our studio, and outdoors as well (weather permitting)
  • Weekday, evening, and weekend sessions available. Same-day appointments are often available
  • We shoot between one and four different looks (a “look” is a wardrobe, lighting, background, or location change). A one look shoot is $99, a two look shoot is $124, a three look shoot is $149 and a four look shoot is $199. For additional time or looks, we charge $99/hour.
  • No fixed time limit or number of frames – we shoot until we are confident we’ve created some great headshots for you; typically we shoot around 30 frames, and most sessions last around 30 minutes. Again though, we don’t have fixed “rules,” we shoot until we are confident that we have a good selection of headshots for you. For additional time or looks, we charge $99/hour.
  • Before you leave the studio, you pick the three best images from each “look” from your session We then immediately upload your selections to an online gallery at high resolution. Your pictures are ready to share, download and use the same day!
  • You can download any or all of the images from your gallery at hi-res any time you like for any purpose (see the Usage License we provide for specifics). The images will remain in your gallery for at least one year.
  • If you choose to have one or more of your images professionally retouched (including hair straightening, blemish removal, wrinkle softening, skin smoothing, teeth whitening, etc.) we can do this for $24 per image. Retouching usually takes 48 hours, same day rush turn-around is available for an additional charge. You can select the pictures for retouching at the time of your session, or you can take however much time you need to show your gallery to family and friends, and then order the retouched images days, even months after the session is over. 
  • You can order prints in a range of sizes from wallets to 8×10, even huge canvas wall prints directly from your gallery. For your convenience, we even allow you to download the images and have them printed at another lab. Volume discounts are available.
  • If you require a physical copy of the image files, we can provide you with a USB thumb drive of your images. This isn’t usually necessary since the hi-res files are available for download at any time from your gallery, but we can provide files on digital media if you need them. A USB drive is $10 if take the drive with you or pick up later; or we can ship it via Fed Ex Ground (signature required).
  • Payment is due after you select your images at the end of the session; we accept cash, check, and major debit and credit cards. Orders for retouching, prints, or digital media are payable at time of order.

Makeup and Hair Styling

Makeup and hair styling is not included in our base prices. For women, we usually recommend makeup; for men, makeup is rarely necessary. For our clients who choose to have their makeup done, we suggest an in-studio makeup artist who is familiar with the important differences between makeup for a headshot and salon-type glamour or bridal makeup. The typical cost is $75 for one application in the studio. If you want a makeup artist at your session, please let us know when you make your appointment so we can make the necessary arrangements so we can arrange to have one here.

Prints, Comp Cards, and Digital Media


  • 4×6  print. $1.99
  • 5×7 print. $3.99
  • 8×10 print. $4.99
  • 9×12 print. $8.99
  • 11×14 print. $15.99
  • 16 x 20 print. $34.95

Volume Prints

  • Fifty (50) 8.5×11″ photo prints, carefully printed and color corrected on professional-grade paper, checked and approved by our staff, and then available for pickup at our studio. $99.  Add $15 for shipping to you by Fed Ex.
  • One Hundred (100) 8.5×11″ photo prints, carefully printed and color corrected on professional-grade paper, checked and approved by our staff, and then available for pickup at our studio. $175. Add $20 for shipping to you by Fed Ex.
  • Photo Business Cards. 250 2 x 3.5″ business cards on premium paper with your full-color photo on one side, and name, contact info, and stats on the other side. $69 (no additional charge for layout and prep).
  • Comp Card. Industry-standard 5.5 x 8.5″ double-sided, 110lb cover stock, glossy both sides. No additional charge for layout if from our photos, using one of our standard layouts.  10 copies: $49.   100 copies: $119.    Add $15 for shipping to you via Fed Ex.

Digital Media

*8% NY State Sales Tax is added to all purchases where a tangible item such as prints or USB flash drive is delivered. No sales tax is collected for electronic delivery of your images.

** Unretouched digital images uploaded to your gallery. Retouching and print orders require additional postproduction and shipping time.

Important Notices: Turnaround and delivery times are conservative estimates, but are only estimates unless explicitly guaranteed to you personally in writing. Actual delivery time depends on workload and other factors. All offers are limited and subject to availability.

Payment in full is due at the end of your session. We accept cash, check, PayPal, and most debit and credit cards. Prices and offers are subject to change without notice or obligation.

No Refunds

Upstate Photographers is a service. Therefore, once the service is rendered, there are no refunds. In the case where you are not happy with your performance in front of the camera (this means that there are no photos which are acceptable to you), in-studio reshoots are available at the discretion of Upstate Photographers for $25 per look. No other services (such as hair or makeup) are included in the reshoot price.

Actor’s headshot Q and A


Should I get B&W or color Headshots?

This goes in cycles. Years ago, after color prints became widely available, the theory was that black and white was timeless, and gave you legitimacy. Then color took over. A couple years ago, a few agents and managers started favoring B&W again, because it makes your headshot stand out from the rest. But that was yesterday. Today, virtually everyone recommends color only. And generally speaking, you should go with natural color. Avoid heavily tinted, manipulated or filtered color – most often, it just ends up making your headshot quickly look passé or dated. Very rarely, a specific look WILL look great when the color is treated, but most often, it suggests that the photographer is just trying to show off their skills,and now the headshot is more about them than you and that’s never good!

Should I get a commercial or theatrical headshot done?

You should get both, and any competent headshot photographer can give you both from a single photo session. A commercial headshot is what you use when going for a print job or some other activity where you will be repping a brand or selling a product or service. Most often, a commercial headshot will show you smiling, preferably showing your teeth. A theatrical headshot is used for casting for motion picture, TV, or the theatre, and is more about you as a character. It may be dramatic, comic, or neutral, with a smile or without, depending on who you are and the type of roles you are seeking.

Horizontal or vertical?

Headshots are traditionally vertical. A few photographers favor horizontal images, arguing that they are more interesting visually, and will make your headshot stand out from all the vertical ones. But be careful! When placed in a set of thumbnails such as on a casting site, that horizontal image may end up not showing your face. So we still recommend vertical for theatrical headshots, with a little more leeway for commercial.

All the advice online says a good headshot should cost $300 to $500. If you guys are so good, why do you charge so much less?

Because most good headshot photographers are located in big cities like NYC and LA. Almost everything in those cities, from studio space to transportation costs four times what it does here in the Capital Region. We have a nice 2000 square foot studio loft with both natural window light and studio flash, just like the best Manhattan headshot studios – but we don’t pay ridiculous Manhattan rents, so we pass the savings along to you. Honestly, anything else would just be greedy.

Which is better, natural or studio light?

There’s no easy answer to this one. It depends on a huge list of variables, including your skin tone, features, hair type, the photographer’s skill (or lack thereof!). . .you name it. So we almost always shoot in both types of light, and you can decide later which works best for you. If weather permits, we also shoot a look or two outdoors.

I’m a guy — do I need to have makeup done for my actor’s headshot?

If you routinely wear makeup, or if your roles or activities in front of the camera require you to wear makeup (on-camera news staff, for example) than yes, you should have makeup done for your headshot session. For the rest of you, we say no.