How critical is it for an actor to have a professionally taken headshot?

9th July 2019

Getting a professionally taken headshot is critical for an actor as the profession is incredibly competitive for both new and seasoned performers. Get it wrong and it could cost more than an audition or casting. I make sure that my clients get the best professionally taken headshot photograph.

A professionally taken headshot is critical. Don't take a silly snap as your headshot

Headshot importance

Your headshot is incredibly important. The headshot should look like you and be engaging and pull the viewer in to want to know more about you, the actor. That holiday snap really isn’t going to cut it. You need to know how to shape the light and make the sitter feel confident, and engaged to get the best casting headshot.

Bad Headshot

I was horrified to see a bad headshot recently taken by an actor’s son on his Spotlight profile. The colour temperature cast was red. The lens distorted his already large nose. The framing was way off and didn’t have any bokeh and was sharp from the tip of his nose the back of his cluttered living room! This is an extreme case but, a real one none the less. Sadly, this is why some actors don’t get called in for professional acting roles.

That is why it’s critical for an actor to have a professionally taken headshot. It makes good sense to look like a professional actor. Actors should take note if serious about working with other professionals.

Professionally taken headshot

My headshot recipe is for a professionally taken headshot. I think it’s obvious but, so many actors miss these vital tips, as do some not so professional photographers.  My following tips should give you a better idea of where to start to get that professionally taken a headshot.

Headshots by Professionals

1. Find a professional headshot photographer and check their headshot reviews and feedback. Always check their portfolio for updates. I recommend checking the photographers site been updated and are current for today’s working actor.

2. Call and speak to the photographer about what you want to achieve during your portrait session.

3. Don’t make any important appointments on the same day and stick to your allocated session. Meet a friend that is supportive after the session is always a good idea. Avoid going an audition on the same day. Both deserve attention.

Short back and sides

4. When it comes to being in the mood for a new haircut do it a least 5-7 day prior to your photo shoot. Having a hair colour or cut is not a good idea on the same day as the headshot session.

5. Turn up on time! This is a very simple task. This is your photo session slot which is booked and confirmed. Don’t waste valuable studio time with running about being stressed out. This is an important investment for you.

6. Get your headshot wardrobe sorted a few days before the shoot, not the night before. Think about your brand and casting type. Make sure you understand what your brand is, so the clothing choices match. See my other page about what to wear for your headshot session.

7. Skincare routines will help the photographer edit your finished headshot images. Actors should pay attention to skin routines a few weeks before the session. Actually always!

Search the web

8. Find a pro headshot photographer that can make you look like you! There are so many photographers that are obsessed with headshots of actors looking beautiful and younger.  Make sure your headshot photographer understands the concept of “the real you” (Your brand). The casting director won’t thank you when you turn up looking many years younger than your headshot.

So many rules

9. Make sure that your photographer obeys rule number 8.

10. Retouching headshots and editing are important when it comes to getting actors professionally taken headshots. I believe moles and freckles should stay. Your director may love moles!

11. Relax. Leave your headshot baggage at home. This is a fresh new chapter for you. The headshot is important, of course, but so many other factors are taken into account when it comes to landing a role. Your age, height, personality, chemistry, your background, and your resume are all part of the process. But be TRUTHFUL when it comes to selling your brand on your headshot.

Professionally taken headshot experience

Trust is key with your new photographer.  Especially if you want a professionally taken headshot. You are an actor, not a model. Good lighting and correct posing all come in to play when it comes down to the day of your shoot. Lookout for images that you like the look of, and imagine what the casting type is of the person in the portrait. More importantly, the most important aspect is to understand what your own casting type is.

So, for more tips and bits customers can check the Actors Toolbox on What makes a good headshot?

© VincenzoPhotography

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