I was told by an acting teacher to submit to commercial agents but not to use my current headshot because I've changed a bit since it was taken. She said I could have a friend or someone I know with a good camera just get one good shot of me to submit instead of getting a whole session done because sometimes agents want you to get your pictures redone anyways. Would this be taken as less professional than if I were to just submit my current professionaly taken headshot?
How good are your friends? If they're knowledgeable about photography and have a top of the line Cannon or whatever, no one is going to know.
You can't have someone just take a picture of you with just a small Sony digital camera.
The idea of headshots is for them to be so damn good that there is NO reason for anyone to tell you to get new ones.
I've heard people saying this "the agent might ask you to take new ones anyway" but it has never happened yet - the agents never asked for new headshots. I guess they'll ask for new ones if what you have is not good (or if they'll getting some kickback, in which case you shouldn't take that agent anyway). If you have a good headshot, it's more likely to grab the attention of potential agents. You might as well spend that headshot money right now and get good ones. As TT said, if they're good, there will be no reason for new ones after signing.
A good headshot is a good headshot no matter who takes it. The odds are better that it'll be good if it's done by a professional though. And if you want to land an agent, you'll need to have a great headshot when you submit. What's the point in using your current headshot if it doesn't look like you? The agent is not going to sign without meeting you first, and if the agent is looking for someone who looks like your current headshot (but you don't), you're just wasting everyone's time. Plus you'll be missing out on an agent who wants to sign someone who actually looks like you.
Your photography does not need "top of the line" equipment to take a good headshot. All the technical mumbo jumbo can get thrown out the window.
Bottom line -- you need to meet with a photographer who you jive with, and are connected with. If your friend actually takes high quality shots and its his speciality, go with him. But only if you've seen his work prior and know for sure that his photos are quality.
LA & Seattle headshot photographer
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