7 Tips for Better Acting Headshots

You don't get a second chance at a first impression. A good headshot could make all the difference between landing the role of your dreams and never getting a callback.

Professional headshots are important for people in many industries, but for actors, good headshots are absolutely crucial. Acting is a highly competitive field, and you often only have a few seconds to catch the right person's eye.

An engaging, professional headshot could be just the advantage you need to get the attention you deserve. Here are 7 tips to help you get the very best acting headshots.

1. Don't Cut Corners

Your headshot is what represents you in the acting industry. If you cut corners, you could be cheating yourself out of opportunities.

Your headshot is not the kind of thing you should DIY or bargain shop for. Casting directors will immediately notice if your headshots seem cheap or amateur.

Be sure to work with a professional photographer for your headshots. They'll know how to work with angles and lighting to bring out your best features.

2. Research Different Photographers

When looking for a photographer to work with, make sure they're experienced in doing corporate headshots. Take a look at their previous work to see if their style matches your vision. If possible, read some reviews to see what other people have to say about working with them.

3. Your Headshots Should Look Like You

Your headshot should look just like you on a good day. Casting directors should be able to recognise you from your photo when you walk in the door. If you look drastically different in real life than you do in your headshot, it can damage your relationship with the casting directors.

Avoid headshots that portray you inaccurately, even if you think it's a nice photo. Here are some ways to make sure your headshots are accurate.

Up to Date

You headshots should show you as you look right now. If you have a different hairstyle, size, or age than in your headshots, casting directors will not be pleased.

Avoid Creative Lighting

While it might look moody and artistic, don't use creative lighting in your headshots. Unusual lighting can affect colours and features, making you look different than you do in reality.

Natural Makeup

You don't need full theatrical face paint for your headshots. Keep your makeup as simple as possible to highlight your features without masking them. If you're not comfortable with doing your own makeup, consider working with a makeup artist who's experienced with acting headshots.

Subtle Retouching

It's okay to retouch a blemish here or a stray hair there, but keep retouching to a minimum. It's too easy to get carried away with retouching until your headshot looks nothing like you. You want to represent yourself well but honestly, too.

4. Make It Engaging

Casting directors dig through hundreds of headshots and resumes. Make your photo stand out from the crowd.

One powerful way to do this is to make sure you have a captivating expression. This means your eyes are alive and draw people in. A good photographer will be able to help you achieve this.

Your headshot is about more than just your looks. A good headshot will represent your personality and what you have to offer as an actor. Work with your photographer to best capture what makes you unique.

5. Avoid Distracting Backgrounds

Acting headshots are all about showcasing your face. Backgrounds that are too busy can easily take the focus away from you.

Avoid backgrounds with too much activity going on. Stay away from bright colours as well, as they can overwhelm you and potentially wash out your features.

6. Wear Simple Clothing

Much like a busy background, an outfit with too much going on can take the attention away from your face. The best headshot wardrobe should be simple, understated, and fit your personal style.

While you want to show some personality in your headshots, there is such a thing as too much personality. You don't want to be known as the guy in the loud shirt.

Dress in something you would wear to a casual meeting. It's a good idea to bring several wardrobe options to your photoshoot. Your photographer can help you choose which one will work best.

Avoid patterns, very bright colours, and sparkly items like sequins and jewellery. Steer clear of anything that could be perceived as gimmicky.

Please don't wear a costume, and please don't bring props. While these things will make you stand out, it won't be in a good way.

7. Make Sure Your Headshots Meet the Standard Requirements

There are certain professional expectations for acting headshots. If you don't meet these minimum requirements, your headshots may not make it to the casting director at all.

In Australia, the standard size for an acting headshot is 6"x8". In the United States, the standard is 8"x10".

In either case, the photo should be portrait style. Landscape is sometimes accepted, but portrait is generally preferred.

It should feature you from the chest up in the centre of the frame. Your face should be in focus and unobscured. A professional photographer with headshot experience should be familiar with these industry standards.

Ready to Update Your Acting Headshots?

Headshots are like the business cards of the acting world. They represent who you are as a professional and are the first thing talent directors will see. You want to have headshots that accurately represent you in your best light.

Working with a trained professional photographer will help ensure your headshots meet all these requirements. The right photographer will be able to capture your unique essence for the world to see.

Want to learn more about how to get the acting headshots you've always wanted? You can contact me today to find out how I can help make that happen.

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In