Oct 23

The Importance of Headshots

By Sami DeSocio

All actors have certain tools to make them successful. Whether it be certain acting techniques, your audition book or something else, the actor has many tools. However, those tools mean absolutely nothing without a great head shot to sell you!

Why is a head shot so important? First off, it tells the casting director, director, producer and anyone else looking at it what kind of personality you have before they even meet you! There’s so much they can learn about you from just a picture. For instance and to state the obvious: what you look like. If they are looking for a certain type, but you don’t quite match it, they might look at your headshot and either change their minds, or they’ll be able to know they can work with you in some way to make you look like what they’re looking for if they cast you.

But what should a head shot look like, and what shouldn’t you do? First off, you want to wear something that shows off you. Natural make up and comfortable, clean (non logoed) shirt, nice jeans, and nice shoes. However, don’t wear a white shirt, it will completely wash you out!

And ladies, can we talk about make up? I know I said natural, but what I really mean is just that-natural. A casting director won’t cast you if you have so much make up on your face in your headshot and then come in looking like you.  If they can’t tell its you in the picture, they won’t take a second look at you.

And keep jewelry to a minimum. Stud earrings are okay, but not big hoops or anything that would detract from the main reason for the picture-you.

When it comes to backgrounds, keep it simple. An outdoor scene will distract. A blank background (not white-I can’t stress that enough!) like grey will help the casting director focus in on you, and not whats in the background.

For theatre, the layout is landscape (side to side), with a close up of your face. And your headshot should be in color (sorry, the black and white trend is out again!)

And finally, have your shots re-touched and printed professionally. This is not something to take to CVS and hope for the best when it comes to the quality.

As for how much time should pass between shots-the standard is six months to a year. But, decide on a hairstyle. Ladies, don’t go shoulder length in your shot and show up in a pixie cut! Pick a hairstyle you like, get your shots done and then keep that style until you get your new shots.

With a good headshot in your toolbox, the rest becomes easier.

What are some good headshot tips you’ve heard?

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