Headshots: 7 Tips You May Find Useful

A headshot – it is one of the most important marketing tool for an actor. Yet still many people do it wrong because they try to cut a few corners.

Actors, it’s time to take it seriously.

Your headshot is your calling card. Make sure it is something that says “Yes, bring that person in!” instead of “Yikes, that guy scares me.” – casting directors see hundreds of headshots every day – if your headshot looks bad, you look bad. You want to be seen as a pro and not an amateur. So the way you present yourself is very important.

Keep these few tips in mind the next time you go out there to take your headshots:


  1. Go professional.
    Find a professional who is trained, understands the lighting and actually takes headshots for a living – not some friend with a fancy camera and “have a little knowledge of photography”. Good headshots will cost you a lot of money but it will be worth it.
  1. Go for personality over glamour.
    Make sure your headshots look like you. Casting Directors expect to see you looking like your headshots. So, chill with the airbrushing. It is not about looking good, but representing the type of person you are now.
  1. It’s all about the eyes.
    Similar to acting – it’s all about the eyes and what’s happening behind them. It’s your moment, ladies and gents. Your eyes should be perfectly focus, alive and energized. Your eyes should be able to tell stories and show a life. A strong, piercing eyes will stand out among hundreds for sure. A good headshot photographer knows how to bring this out of you.
  1. Pay attention to framing, lighting and background.
    Generally speaking, a good head shot is one taken chest up with good lighting on your face. No strong dramatic shadows. Look directly into the camera, the focus should be on the center of your eyes. Please do not make any weird gestures (e.g. peace sign) and make sure it is against a plain background.
  1. Clothing and props.
    Let’s not get crazy here. Keep it simple and classy. Follow the standard format. Casting directors don’t want to see you with your “statement” shirts or props. Leave those at home. A simple, solid color shirt with a little texture would do the trick. No whites, no graphics – these might distract people from looking at your face. Professionalism gets you noticed. You certainly don’t want to be called otherwise, right?
  1. Natural light vs. studio light.
    Both offer different look and feel. Some photographers do both. Natural light gives a real look. While studio lighting makes the photo look a little more polished. Trust me, both are wonderful.
  1. Don’t go crazy with the makeup.
    There is no need to put on tons of makeup because a lot can be done with retouching. You want to look like yourself on your best day.


Most importantly, find a photographer that gets you. You need to have the connection with your photographer. He has to make you feel comfortable because hopefully, you’ll be using this headshot for a long time.

Remember, don’t cut corners. Good luck!


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