Headshots are an essential part of any actor's career. They are a type of portrait usually taken by professional photographers and used to promote an actor's profession. The goal of an actor's headshot is to make the actor look their best and showcase their acting abilities.
It would be best to keep in mind several things when getting your headshots taken. First, you want to find a reputable photographer who has experience taking actor headshots. Second, you'll want to take the time to prepare for your shoot by finding the right clothes and makeup that best represent your personal brand (we shall cover this a little later). And finally, during the actual shoot, be sure to relax and have fun!
How to get your Acting headshots done
We shall take a brief look at the following to help you understand what is needed for a great professional headshot.
- What are headshots, and why do you need them
- How to prepare for your photoshoot
- How much does it cost for headshots
- How to choose the perfect photographer for your actor headshots
- What to wear on the day
- How to pose for your headshots
- The best time of day to take headshots
- Good vs bad headshots
- After the shoot - what's next?
What are headshots, and why do you need them
Headshots are a type of portrait typically taken by a headshot photographer and used to promote an actor's career. The goal of an actor's headshot is to make the actor look their best and showcase their acting abilities.
There are several reasons why you might need an actor's headshot. First, they are essential for casting directors looking to hire actors for a role. Additionally, the photos can be used in promotional materials such as an actor's website or on social media profiles and printed flyers and posters.
Your actor headshot is created to capture the eye of the casting director so you can land an audition. They need to see you in the right character so they can imagine you in their project. Your headshot is how you present yourself to the world as an actor. It should look like you but also represent the best version of you. You want to be memorable for all the right reasons. This doesn't mean you have to look like a model, but your headshot should be as excellent and flattering as possible to stand out from the crowd.
How to prepare for your actor headshot session
When preparing for your photo session, it is important to start by finding the right headshot photographer. The right artist will create engaging expressions resulting in great headshots. The specialist would need to know what style of portraits you are looking for, so be prepared and do a little research beforehand.
It would help if you also took the time to prepare your wardrobe and makeup before the shoot. Choosing clothes and makeup that represent your personal brand is crucial, as you want to look professional but still stand out. This means choosing colours and styles that complement your skin tone and facial features while avoiding trends or flashy accessories.
How much does it cost for a great headshot?
A great headshot varies in price based on the following factors:
- The experience of the photographer
- The location of the shoot (studio with studio lighting or outdoor with natural light)
- The number of looks (changes in clothes/hair) you want
- The length of the shoot
- How many edited images do you receive
- Prints or digital files
Advice/tips on prices
Most actors' headshot sessions will price between £200 and £600. However, it is not uncommon to find photographers who charge £1000 or more, especially if they are well-known or work in a high-demand market such as Los Angeles, Dubai etc.
Let's say you're searching for LA headshot photographers and you stumble upon the amazing Marc Cartwright Headshot website. You will notice that his rates aren't displayed on his website, so you would have to contact Mark for the rates directly. Don't be alarmed; this is merely a business decision and varies in the photography industry as each artist has their own preference and process when it comes to booking clients.
How to choose the right photographer for your actor headshots
When choosing an expert for your actor headshots, it is important to look at their portfolio to see if their style matches what you are looking for. It would be best if you also read reviews from other actors, models or testimonials to get an idea of their experience with the photographer. Looking at their social media accounts is also essential because it will give you a real-life idea of their professionalism and how they interact with clients.
What to wear on the day
The best time of day to take headshots outdoors is around 1-2 hours before midday or sunset, as the light is softer and more flattering at this time. If you are shooting indoors, the best time is typically around noon when plenty of natural light comes in from the windows; however, studios have a range of equipment that can be used creatively to achieve the traditional looks.
How often should you update your headshots?
As a general rule of thumb, you should update your headshots every 1-2 years. However, this may vary depending on how often you audition or work. If you are not going to be in front of the camera for a while (e.g. you are pregnant, changed your hair colour or body weight), it is probably time for an update.
How to prepare for your headshot session
The most important thing you can do to prepare is to get a good night's sleep and eat a healthy meal beforehand. This will help you look and feel your best on the shoot day. It is also essential to drink plenty of water so that your skin is well-hydrated. Lastly, make sure you have a list of the specific shots you want to get so that you can communicate this to the photographer on the day.
What to do if you’re not happy with your headshots
If you are not happy with your headshots, you should first talk to the photographer. They may be able to offer a re-shoot or some retouching to help improve the images. If you are still not happy, you can look for a new photo expert with whom you feel more confident. Trust your gut – if you don’t feel comfortable with the photographer, it is probably not worth working with them.
How to avoid a reshoot
During the photo session, you can have to look at the live results. This is important as this will help you feel involved and build confidence in your photographer and your ability to pose. Trust removes all anxiety.
Good vs bad headshots
A good headshot should be a clear and accurate representation of your appearance. It should be well-lit and in focus, with your face taking up most of the frame. Your expression should be natural and relaxed. On the other hand, a lousy headshot is poorly lit, out of focus, or heavily edited. You may also be wearing clothes that are not appropriate for your brand, or you may have an unnatural or forced expression.
After the shoot - what's next?
After your headshot session, you will need to select the final images you want to use. Your headshot professional will typically provide a proof sheet or online gallery for you to choose the final images from. It is important to take your time in selecting the right range of photos, as these are the ones that will be used to promote your trade.
When you have selected the final images, you will need to decide how you want to use them. You can create an online portfolio, submit them to casting directors or agents or print them out for auditions. No matter how you use them, make sure your actor headshots are working hard for you and representing the best version of yourself.
I hope these tips were helpful and will help you on your journey to becoming the next premier actor to grace my screen. If you have any questions, email me for further advice.