Your actor headshots are the first thing a casting director sees. They are your best chance of making a great first impression if you want to become an actor.
If you fit the role, you may get a call from your headshot alone, even if you have very few credits on your resume, so getting your acting headshot just right is important. Here you’ll find step by step information on how to choose a headshot photographer, how to prepare for an actor headshot shoot and how to pick the best look for your acting pictures.
1) Decide what kind of pictures you need
Usually, you’ll need at least a legit actor headshot (also known as a theatrical headshot) and a commercial headshot.
A legit headshot is used when you audition for theatre, film and television dramas. A commercial shot shows you smiling (usually a broad smile) and is used for commercials, sitcoms and some comedic roles.
Most photographers include in their price a set number of looks or wardrobe changes. Think about your type and what looks fit
your physique and personality best. Could you play a typical businessman with a suit on? Are you a girl-next-door type? Decide on a few looks you want for your acting photos. You can upload a picture on Type Cast Me to get help with your type.
Here’s a quick video with some important acting headshot tips to keep in mind…
Choosing the right headshot photographer can make all the difference when it comes to getting not only professional headshots, but headshots that really capture who you are while grabbing the casting director’s
A little preparation will go a long way to making your actor headshots shoot a success:
Prepare your wardrobe.
Pick brighter and more cheerful tones for your commercial shot and darker colors for your legit actor headshots. Stay away from stripes and busy patterns. Bring lots of clothes to choose from with different textures and necklines, including a couple of black tops.
Think about hair and make-up.
It’s very important that you look exactly like your actor headshots when you go in to read for a part. Since you won’t have a professional doing your hair and make-up each time you audition, make sure your hair and make-up artist understands how you usually do your hair and make-up. You may want to do your own hair and make-up and just have someone spot-check you during the session. If you’re a man, you don’t need a make-up artist, but think about whether you want a shaven or unshaven look, or both (you can shave halfway through the photo shoot).
Prepare as an actor.
Think in advance about what will help you elicit certain emotions and not be frozen in front of the camera.
You can use acting techniques like sense memory or if you respond to music, prepare a line-up of songs for your photo shoot.
OK, you’re ready. The big day is tomorrow! Make sure you get lots of rest…
4) Get photographed
It’s the day you’ve been waiting for, you’re getting your actor headshots taken! This should be fun. Enjoy the experience, be in the moment. If you’re relaxed, it will show on your actors headshots.
5) Choose the perfect actor headshot
Soon after your photo shoot, you will get proofs.
Your proofs will be on a CD or sheets of photography paper and will
show a small version of all the pictures taken during your session.
Some headshot photographers will also post your proofs online.
Now you need to choose which masters
to print from the hundred or more actors headshots you have.
A master is an 8×10 actor picture you will use to make reproductions.
You should plan to print about 4-5 masters before choosing your 2 best shots.
Take your time before deciding which pictures to print.
Ask your photographer, agent and/or manager and fellow actors what they think.
If there’s a shot everybody loves that has a small imperfection, you can do some
retouching. This may be done by your photographer or the photo lab where
you get your photos reproduced.
Got your 2 best shots? You’re almost there.
All you need now is to get them reproduced. Get a master headshot with a white
border and your name printed at the bottom. Start with 100 copies of each headshot photo.
Ask your photographer to recommend a good headshot reproduction photo lab. Below is a partial list:
Order quality headshots, postcards and actor business cards online.
Precision Photos (New York)
Fast, Friendly Affordable Reproductions.
The Pixel Pusher (Atlanta)
Mix and match printing for actors on a budget who want to try out different headshots,
as well as complimentary postcards or business cards on orders over 50 headshots.
for lower quality reproductions. It will automatically put your headshot at the bottom of
the pile on a casting director’s desk. Your reproductions need to be on good quality photo paper.
Make sure you get actor postcards at the same time you get
your actor headshots reproduced. Actor postcards are great to keep in touch with agents and casting directors. Click here to find out how to further your acting career by using postcards and business cards.
You’ve worked hard to find the right headshot photographer and get some great actors headshots that look like you
and grab the eye. If you’re happy with your actor headshot, now it’s time to send them off and let them work for you.