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Real-world casting decisions have been based on whose headshot had better photo quality.

As an actor, a professional picture of your face is your calling card. It’s your “handshake”. It’s no doubt one of the most important tools you need to have in your arsenal if you want to get noticed and hired.

Casting directors look at thousands of headshots a day, trying to find the perfect match for hundreds of projects. If you don’t stand out, they’re swiping left! Which is why you need to find not only the best photographer — but the best photographer for you.

That said, stunning headshots are not a cheap investment. With NYC headshots averaging a gag-inducing $800-$1,000 a pop, you need to know that you’re giving your money to the best matchmakers in the business. 

Whether or not you grew up in the “selfie generation,” you have to admit that looking at pictures of your own face can be…strange. Did I always have that mole? Why do I smile so weird? What is up with my nose?! So we’ve compiled a list of 7 NYC headshot photographers who are sure to make you proud of your gorgeous mug.

Ready to get that callback? With one of these camera superstars, casting will be fighting to get you in the room before you can say cheese


Dirty Sugar

Starting Price: $495

Google Rating: 4.0/5.0 stars

One of the most popular, clean, go-to photographers in NYC, Dirty Sugar does it all. From headshots, to branding, to commercial, to corporate, Dirty Sugar’s classic color blocks and styles are a sure win for any casting room. Despite their low-cost starting packages, their illustrious clients include top talent like Alice Ripley and Ali Stroker. Proof that top quality doesn’t always have to mean top price. 


Ben Esner

Starting Price: $525

Google Rating: 5.0/5.0

If you’re looking for the perfect, NYC-grit headshot to launch you into a guest star on a crime show, Ben is your guy. Focusing on the all-natural, outdoor look, Ben provides quality shots specifically designed and framed for the NYC brand. Agents love his style and with a roster of incredible stylists on hand, Ben is sure to make you look your killer best. 


Jordan Matter

Starting Price: $750

Google Rating: 4.4/5.0 stars 

Best known for his dance photography and YouTube wizardry, Jordan Matter is an actor-turned-photographer with a passion for authentic, engaging portraits. With clients ranging from Samira Wiley to Alan Cumming, Jordan understands the key to creative, professional headshots is freeing you from self-consciousness. 


Murphy Made Photography

Starting Price: $800

Google Rating: 5.0/5.0 stars

Matthew Murphy boasts the title of Broadway’s favorite photog for a reason! With a client list including Lin Manuel-Miranda, Lindsay Mendez, Sierra Boggess, and Alex Brightman, his work speaks for itself. Murphy Made specializes in delving into the soul for a complex headshot you can use for multiple types. If the Tonys are your end goal, you can’t miss with Murphy Made. 


David Noles

Starting Price: $1,350

Google Rating: 5.0/5.0 stars

Don’t let the price shock you, David is worth every penny. Just ask his client, Oscar winner, Lupita Nyong’o! While pricier than some of the other options, David Noles comes to NYC with years of experience in the LA market and leverages his expertise to create some of the most incredible headshots in any casting room. With long photo sessions, you can relax and take your time finding that perfect smolder. 


Headshots for that perfect commercial look

We know it’s annoying, but sometimes you need a specific commercial headshot. You might’ve dropped thousands on the perfect dramatic look, but it doesn’t really matter if your agent keeps sending you in to be the next Flo and you look like the next Hannibal Lecter. 

For commercial shots, just consult the experts: 


Peter Hurley

Starting Price: $500

Google Rating: 5.0/5.0 stars

Every commercial casting agent in town knows Peter Hurley — they have to. Hurley clients sprawl across every advertisement in town from Axe, to Revlon, to NASCAR, to Levi’s. As a former Olympic athlete, Peter Hurley knows what it’s like to have the whole world looking at you and how to make sure they’re looking at your best angle. 


Emily Lambert

Starting Price: $770

Google Rating: 5.0/5.0 stars

Emily Lambert is all about the branding. With offices in NYC, LA, and Atlanta, Emily knows what it means to take your look and make it specific enough to define a city. Her photos are beloved by agents and casting directors alike and she regularly earns a top five slot on Backstage’s list of top-voted photographers. The people have spoken and they’ve chosen Emily!


Book a quality session to book a quality gig

Your headshot is the first thing a casting director sees, so why wouldn’t you want it to be top quality? Even if all you have to show on your resume is Cow #3 in a community theater production of Oklahoma, a life-changing headshot can still get you in front of major studio execs. 

Casting directors know you believe in yourself when you invest in yourself. 

If you’re looking for a job with a company who values your work and flexibility while you’re running to all those auditions, join the community at Worthwhile Event Services.