Tips for Actor Headshots – Getting the most out of your photoshoot

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Getting your headshot as an actor can sometimes feel like a mini-overwhelming chore. How many looks do I need? What are my types? Who do I shoot with? How much is this going to cost me with the photoshoot, editing & retouching, printing, and uploading onto all the actor websites?

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No need to stress. Yes it can be a bit costly, but being an actor sort of is. Between acting classes, mailing out postcards, paying for actor sites such as LA Casting or Actors Access, your wallet can take a beating. You will need to be very resourceful to balance your job, income and being available for auditions. It’s can be a challenge, but if you’re determined, persistent, resourceful, and patient, good things will come 🙂 And having the right headshots will definitely help. It will help you and help your agents/managers to be able to submit you to the appropriate roles.

So if you finally found a photographer you’re confident to shoot with, here’s some of my tips for getting the most out of your shoot.

1. Plan Out Your Looks

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Find out what your type is. Whether you find out in acting class or ask your friends. It’s good to get an outside perspective. Sometimes what we think we are doesn’t match what others say. Which is important because thats how casting directors might see you.

Research tv shows and find those types that you match. See how they’re dressed. Do a google search on that show and find that particular actor or actors that fit you and see what kind of outfits they’re put in. Then see what you have in your wardrobe. If you don’t have everything, go shopping. You of course don’t need to spend an arm and a leg. You mostly are just getting a shirt or top for a headshot.

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CSI Cast
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Teen Wolf

Also keep in mind what hairstyles you want for each look. If you’re shooting outdoors, see if you can employ some hairspray to keep things in place if your hair is long.

2. Practice In The Mirror

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This may sound silly, but you’ll be surprised at how much more confident you’ll be on your shoot. You’ll kind of know what kind of emotions you want to convey in your headshots. Very few will be over the top expressions. Some may call for it such as “quirky” types. All in all, also trust your photographer who has been doing this for a while. Well it helps if they’ve been doing it a while. Make sure they’re experienced.

3. Don’t Turn Your Face Away From Camera

Sometimes when shooting people, I realize some like to turn they’re face to one side or the other. I always ask if people have a particular side they like more, but it’s important to keep your gaze more close to camera. Casting directors, agents, etc want to see your face. But if you’re looking away a little too much, it may turn them off. You don’t have to always face directly to camera, but just make sure not to turn away too much either.

Face turned away from camera too much for headshot. (And of course she's not looking into camera, but just as an example)
Face turned away from camera too much for headshot. (And of course she’s not looking into camera, but just as an example)
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Clear view of face towards camera.

4. Chapstick! And Water 🙂

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Haha I always mention this to clients. It’s an easy thing to carry around and helps to prevent the need to edit chapped lips, which sometimes can be tricky. You don’t want to have an awesome headshot slightly ruined because of this. Also bring water or your favorite hydrating beverage to keep you refreshed.

5. Get Your Rest!

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Before your photoshoot, make sure to be well rested and healthy. I suggest to not go partying the night before-hand. Some younger people might be able to get away with it lol, but better to be safe. Some people are preparing the full week before hand to get enough sleep, eat healthy, working out, and staying hydrated. This is an investment so make sure to get the most out with your money.

6. Have Fun!

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All in all, this is should be a fun and exciting experience. Turn on some music while you’re headed to your shoot and have fun with it!

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