A cheerful senior man traveller with motorbike in countryside, headshot.

How to get the right headshot

A headshot is one of the essential things for an actors’s career. Why is this so important? It just a freaking photo, right? Well…yes, it is just a freaking photo, but the image is the first thing casting directors, producers, etc., will see. It is your first virtual meeting with the people who can eventually book you. And you want to create the best impression of yourself you can, don’t you? Your headshot creates the first impression of you, so you should make it right. But how? Perhaps this article will help you understand the things you should consider before you choose your headshot.

Selling Yourself

First, you have to know what you want to sell. Yes, of course, the answer is you, silly. But what impression do you want to create? Focus on yourself because it is all about you. What kind of person are you? Do you know your type? No? So check out this article – “Define your type.” It is essential to know your type first because it will help you understand what you want to create, what feelings, and your expression in the photo. When you know your style, you can use it to your advantage and put your type into the shot. 

Emotions and Attributes

Find three emotions or attributes you want to express. These words should resonate with your type and are the advertising words. They will be expressed by you, the subject of the photo, and the photographer. E.g., Joy, Cute, Sexy, Serious, Playful, Youthful, Wise. Remember these words for your photoshoot.

Clothing for headshot photoshoot

Clothing is important. Everything has to have meaning, and your dress should be mirroring your three words and your type. Clothing says a lot about the person. You have to know the three things you learn so far have to go along. Suppose you don’t know which clothing is right. Wear it in public and ask strangers questions like “what they feel about the dress,” “what is your occupation,” etc. We did a similar thing in “Define your type,” but this time focusing on clothing.
If this is too complicated for you or seek a more general, less stylized headshot, wear some neutral clothing for the photo shoot. Check out headshots of others, follow headshot photographers on Instagram to get inspiration.

Photographer

Get a professional photographer who is focusing on actor’s headshots. You will spend a couple hundred bucks, but believe me, it is worth it. They know what is the right headshot. Please take it as an investment into your career. As I said, it is your first impression, so it should be on the quality level. And photographers who focus on headshot know what they are doing and usually have a makeup artist to give you some touch-ups to help avoid a shining face, but instead, a shining actor. Girls, don’t wear too much makeup, it has to be you. They want to see you. Try to be as natural as you can, but a little bit of makeup is necessary.

Get your right headshot

Don’t forget to mention your three words to the photographer. It will help you with feelings and to the photographer with capturing the emotion.

Headshots are not a modeling photo or a portraits.

Of course, you can ask your friend to make the headshot. But believe me, you might save some dollars, but not your time. The agents/producers/casting agents will see the headshot. They may very well skip it as it is not on the right level of quality. You don’t have to spend much on the headshot and could get excellent headshots. You can get photographers here in Vancouver for one headshot session somewhere around 300-800$. Please, don’t spend much, if you are starting unless you can afford it.

Imagine you are a casting director, and you are going through thousands of headshots. Who will get your attention? Correct, the most interesting one. The right headshot. I leave it up to you what this means for you. Be creative with it, expressive, but also consider the professionalism and appeal you want to create. Your headshot has to be natural but unique in some way. It has to be something that catches their eyes between thousands of others. Break a leg!

About the author:

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I am a never-ending fighter for the perfect ART, enjoying the process of unperfectness. I am many things and nothing, but my main focus is acting. I've studied at the Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts. I've been an actor in Theater Around The Corner, Moravian Theater Olomouc, Theater DiGoknu, or Mlada Scena II. And I am working hard on my craft.

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