Most images need just a tad of help between being taken and being printed. I could get into a lot of technical stuff and talk about dynamic range and what the camera sees versus what the human eye and the printer sees and all that stuff. But I won’t bore you with that.
I will tell you that even the best image shot can usually benefit from a little touch here and there. There may be small blemishes that are bothersome on the day of the session, but will be clear in a day or so, so why leave them there? There may be things that would be covered with make-up on a film set, so why not adjust what will be seen now?
Retouching can have a really bad rap. That’s because so many people overdo their edits and make the images look almost cartoonish. They make some look like their skin is plastic and that they are 20 years younger than they are. But that is NOT the proper way to edit an actor’s headshots. The actor HAS TO look like the person that’s gonna walk in the casting or agent’s office door. Don’t try to fool anyone just to get in a door. If you’re a 64 year old man who is retouched to look 40 do you really think you’re gonna book the job if they really want a 40 year old? Don’t do it. If you’re a client don’t ask for it and if you’re looking for a retoucher don’t go to someone who will make you look fake. It just doesn’t serve you.
My style is natural looking, the real you after a good night’s sleep and a great breakfast. Hopefully you went to your photoshoot well-rested and excited for great images.
The reasons for retouching could include a myriad of things from bad lighting to bad backgrounds to messy hair to wrinkled clothes to bloodshot eyes, overly moussed hair, on and on. While many could have been prevented, the fact is that they may not have been. So it’s the job of a good retoucher to fix the issues.
I charge $35 for the basic edit which includes cleaning blemishes, color-correcting, exposure, sharpening eyes and doing a few things to make them pop, contouring where the contours were already there, subtly brightening things that need brightening like teeth and whites of eyes (again, subtle- not cartoon) and fixing basic flyways.
I charge $50 or more if there is extensive blemish work or background needs replacing or changing color of clothes or other more detailed and intricate work.
I am not the retoucher for everyone. I’ve worked in casting as well and am not willing to waste a CD or agent’s time. If an actor wants to radically change their look then I am not their guy. I’ve worked in casting and know how maddening it is when someone walk in the door after having a really over-the-top edited image. They have wasted our time and theirs. So I will not do that. But I’ll be honest and tell you if I am right for your job. You can pay me per Venmo or Paypal.
My first suggestion to you would be to go to a really good photographer who knows how to use and/ or recognize light. They’ll also keep many of your other retouching issues at a minimum. That’s the first step. If the retoucher is starting with a good image that they subtly make better then you are in for less money and quicker results. When you go cheap with a photographer who is not well-versed in actor headshot photographers I can always see a huge difference in the work that needs to be done on your images. So save money and time upfront by going with a good photographer like myself or so, so many others in L.A. or your particular market. It’s much harder to salvage terrible pictures and often just isn’t worth it for your return on cost. I’m just being honest with you.
I’d love to be considered for your retouch work. My turnaround time is usually 48 hours or less, depending on the current work on hand. Payment is in advance. We will have your expectation in writing so as to achieve what we are after.
By the way, I don’t charge extra to have your image set up for print. Most folks charge $12-$25 for putting the name on the canvas. I’ve been an actor for tons of years who knows the value of your dollar.
I hope to hear from you!!!
How To Proceed?
Cropping for Print
There are a lot of questions about how to crop an image for print for actor headshots. Some say to crop at 8″ by 10″. That’s fine if you want your picture to be what is called “full bleed”. If you prefer this style then your name would have to be printed in a highly contrasting color like white on top of the image in the bottom right.
Most pros that I know keep the image in the native size and then just re-size it in that orientation within an 8X10 canvas. That would result with a white border where the actor’s name could be placed in black print in the right bottom corner on the white margin.
Others will crop to something like a 7.5X9 and then place that into an 8X10 canvas. Again, with the name printed in black on the canvas in the bottom right on the white margin.