Headshots are one of the most important investments as an actor. They are your calling card; they are what casting directors first look at when casting; they are what agents get in the mail everyday. You want yours to stand apart from the bevy of photos. Getting a good shot is crucial. So how do you do that?
There are tons of people claiming to be photographers and wanting to take your money. Do your homework. Places like Reproductions have a photographer catalogue featuring professionals from all over the nation. Check out galleries on each photographer’s websites. Ask your actor friends for recommendations. Meet with the photographer prior to booking to make sure your personalities match.
Research your type
Headshots should be a reflection of you but reflecting your “type” can be beneficial as well. A “girl next door” type won’t be called in with a “vixen” shot and vice versa. If you want the variety, you can always have several different headshots available online. Your primary headshot, though, should put your best foot forward and give an idea of who you are.
Since the growing popularity of digital photography, headshots are no longer black and white. Wardrobe is now a more important component. Try not to put yourself in black or white clothing or anything with a distracting pattern.
Use Natural Light
Studio lighting is still used for some photos but outside shots are also being increasingly used. Many times natural light can be more flattering and leave you less washed out. Make sure to have both lighting options.
Don’t wear heavy makeup
And don’t overuse photoshop! Casting directors and agents want to see who you really are. If what they see in the photos is not who walks in the room, they will not be happy. Embrace your uniqueness in whatever form it comes in.
Update headshots periodically
If you gain weight, lose weight, cut your hair; any change that you consider significant warrants new headshots. Also consider if this physical change may mean a “type” change. This could mean a different approach to your headshot session.
Headshots are what get you in the door. You and your talent are what book the job. But you can’t book the job if you don’t get called in in the first place. A good headshot will get you the opportunity.