As an actor, your headshot is the single most important business tool. It is your calling card.
It’s the first thing a new manager or agent will see and decide if they would like to set up a meeting with you. It is a casting director’s first impression of you. It is how you showcase your branding as an actor. It’s your statement to the entertainment industry of how you view yourself as an actor and how you’d like others to view you.
Headshot shoots can be stressful. There’s a lot of anticipation leading up to the shoot, and there are high expectations for the pictures will turning out well.
It’s important that you’re prepared, but it’s also important that you have fun! It’s your time to shine.
Below are six tips to help you gear up for your headshot shoot so you can be as prepared as possible. So when the day arrives, all you have to do is focus on having fun!
Tip #1 – Opt for personality over glamour.
Make sure your picture looks like you and shows off who you are! ⠀⠀
Your headshot should represent your casting type and showcase who you are! So when you walk into a casting office or have a meeting with an agent, what you present in front of them will match your professional picture.
Tip #2 – It’s all about the EYES!
Here are three successful JRP Alumni showcasing how their eyes create show-stopping headshots! ⠀⠀
Just like when you’re acting on-camera, your eyes are what the audience connects to. When you’re taking your headshots, whatever you’re feeling and what’s happening behind your eyes will come through in your picture, and that’s what agents, managers and casting directors will connect with. ⠀⠀
It’s your moment to connect with your audience and pull them in. Your eyes should be alive and energized and reflect what your inner thoughts are. ⠀⠀
Practice in the mirror thinking about different emotions and creating a unique backstory and seeing how it’s reflected in your eyes before your photo shoot. This will help your picture stand out in a sea of many headshots!
Headshot Tip #3 – It’s essential to have good lighting and framing, as well as a simple background.
Your face should be evenly lit with no dramatic shadows. The focus should be on the center of your eyes.
Make sure the shot isn’t an extreme close up, or too far away that it’s mainly featuring your wardrobe. The focus of a headshot is obviously…. your head. Three quarter length shots are great for print, but won’t focus enough on your face.
The background should be blurred or a simple color that doesn’t take attention away from you. Remember, your headshot is about you, not your environment.
Tip #4 – Don’t go crazy with clothing and props.
We’ve seen all types of headshots from a women dressed as doctors performing the action of putting on rubber gloves as if going into surgery…. to a man with a bird on his head. The rubber gloves and doctors lab coat is more understandable than a bird on your head… and the purpose behind both of these getups is to stand out.
But lets not go overboard with crazy ideas here. It’s always best to keep your clothing simple and not wear anything distracting. As your picking out some wardrobe options to bring, think about what you look best in, what you’re most comfortable in, and what represents the roles and characters that you can play.
Simple, solid shirts with some light texture or layering some shirts always does the trick. Graphics should be limited and whatever you’re wearing should never distract from your face. You don’t want your outfit to be limiting in how casting directors or representation see you.
Tip #5 – Don’t wear too much makeup, less is more!
Remember, you always want to look like yourself in your headshot! Not like you’re trying too hard. Style your hair and makeup like you would if you were going on an audition.
Casting directors bring you in for auditions based off of your headshot, they want the person from the picture they are choosing. to walk through the door when it’s time to audition.
If you have a blemish, don’t cake on a ton of makeup to try to heavily cover it, that’s what retouching is for!
Start your photoshoot with the look where you’re wearing the least amount of makeup. If you plan on changing your hair and makeup slightly with each look, you can continually add on makeup and do more drastic hair changes throughout the day. Ladies, if you plan on having a more edgy or glamorous look for some of your shots, plan on shooting it last.
Make sure to bring some blotting papers to take away any shine throughout your shoot!
Tip #7 – Prepare all of your wardrobe ahead of time!
Prepare all of your wardrobe ahead of time! Not the day of! This way you can make sure that you have everything you need and be relaxed going into your shoot and focused on having a good time.
When you’re preparing your wardrobe make sure you have all of the necessary layers. Like undershirts and bras. Every item of clothing you bring needs to be clean, fit you well and not have wrinkles!
Bring more options than you think you need! A plethora of solid colored shirts are a headshot shoots godsend! Layers like jackets, pullovers, button-ups, etc; are great to throw over any of your clothing options to switch up your look a bit.
Pack everything into a portable bag, either something with wheels in case the session is in a city with limited parking, or a wardrobe bag that’s easy to carry.