As an actor, your Headshot is one of the things you need to get absolutely right! Yes, as a result of the smart phone revolution with ever ready HD video functionality more people have a Video Showreel than ever before, but the trusty Headshot still reigns supreme as the first port of call for Directors and Casting Directors so it is essential you nail it!
We’ve gone out and spoken to various agents and casting directors to find out just what a Headshot needs to deliver to help get you that Foot-In-The-Door.
Here are our top 5 Headshot tips:
1. Go to a professional.
We all have an Uncle John who has a decent camera and “kind of knows a little about photography.” Save those pictures for the Christmas album, and leave the headshots to the pros. They won’t be cheap, a good pro headshot sesh can cost between £150 to £400 – but it’s 100% worth it. If your shots look cheap, guess what? You look cheap.
2. It has to look like YOU.
No-one ever got the job straight off the back of their Headshot. That means, if they like your photo they’ll call you in for a face-to-face meeting. So, it’s no good looking like Brad Pitt in your photo and turning up on the day looking like Sloth from The Goonies. The same applies vice versa of course. It’s not about looking pretty, it’s about representing your type (Brad Pitt would never have been cast as Sloth). So, go easy on the make-up and lay off the airbrushing.
3. It’s all in the eyes.
Just as with screen acting, it’s all in the eyes. It helps to have a thought, a motivation, an intention. Even though it’s a still shot, your desires and secrets will shine through your eyes. Don’t sit there like a wax work, make some choices. A good headshot photographer will help capture an inner spark.
4. Do your research – settle on a style.
There are 2 definite options when it comes to headshots; The Studio set-up, or The Natural look. Both have their benefits, although in my opinion some studio shoots can look overly staged like a bad 80’s cabaret promo. That said, certain studio sessions can add a valuable theatricality when handled well. It all depends on where you see yourself. So, as I say, know what you want, where you want to market yourself and…Do your research!!
5. Keep it simple.
It can be tempting to show all your wondrous versatility in a few photos. You’re a sensitive type, with fantastic one-line comedy credentials but also a well honed serial killer gaze. Don’t try to show too much at once. Of course, subtle variations in shot are useful: a stern focus or a softer poise, but resist the urge to delve too deep into the caricature’s handbook with any dubious facial hair, props or scenery. At this stage – It’s about you.