If you are becoming more serious in pursuing an acting career, you may be working on boosting your resume and nabbing more gigs. To get off on the right foot, you'll want to put a little bit of money aside and invest in some nice headshots. While you may want to save money and just do the headshots yourself, this can look tacky to casting agents and give them the idea that you aren't serious about your craft and brand. And according to the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, it's important to hire a professional that specializes in headshots if you want to have a good resume. While the professional photographer will do much of the heavy lifting in terms of staging, editing, and printing, there are some things you can do to prepare for your photography session.
Select the Appropriate Photographer and Package
While pricing is an extremely important factor, make sure you are checking out photography blogs to find an artist that appeals to your style and your line of work. You should be sure to meet with the photographer beforehand to make sure you are comfortable with their process. Once you have narrowed a few candidates, take a look at their offered packages and what kinds of pictures your potential casting directors require (e.g. commercial or theatrical). Thankfully for the most part, casting agents don't care if your headshots are matte, glossy, etc. The most important thing you should look for is a photo package that isn't overly photoshopped since you need to look as natural as possible in your headshot. If you look incredibly different in your photo, casting directors may not be pleased with the "false advertising"!
Wear the Right Makeup
While you want your headshots to look natural, this doesn't mean you need to shirk makeup altogether. You don't need to plaster on as much makeup as you would for a stage play, but you should be a little more liberal in your foundation (this goes for men as well). You don't want your skin to look shiny, so an alcohol- or water-based foundation is a good choice. Also, look for a liquid foundation so that you can blend it easily and avoid a cakey look.
If you don't apply enough foundation, your skin may look uneven in your final pictures and the photographer may need to do more editing. Make sure you match the foundation to your skin tone as much as possible in natural light. Apply it evenly with a clean brush not just on your face, but on your neck as well. After you apply the foundation, make sure you seal it with an appropriate product so that the makeup doesn't wear off during your session.
Since camera lighting can sometimes wash out paler skin tones, you may use some blush. Choose a color that matches the natural flush of your cheeks. Also, you may use a little dark brown or black mascara to make your eyes pop. However, don't use eyeshadow, eyeliner, or other heavy makeup since these products can alter your appearance greatly and don't look as good for black-and-white headshots.
Wear the Right Outfit
Avoid old clothing that is pilling or washed-out. Do not wear clothing that has words or patterns (e.g. stripes, paisley, etc.). You can wear dress pants or khaki pants. Wear a uniform color top—like a nice black or a dark blue sweater—since it doesn't distract from your face. Turtle necks, crew necks, and dress shirts are all right as well. While theatrical headshots are typically more conservative, you can wear lighter/brighter colors and more casual clothing (e.g. nice jeans) for commercial headshots.
Strike the Right Pose
If you don't pose the right way, your headshot may look silly or actually be difficult to assess. For example, you'll want your photographer to use uniform lighting to avoid heavy shadows that obscure your features. Once the lighting is correct, take a straight-on or ¾ angle so that casting agents can get a good look at your face. If you turn your head too much to the left or right (e.g. a profile shot), then the casting people can't distinguish your look as easily. Also, don't raise your head to far up or your nostrils will look too big; and, don't look too far down, as that can cast dark shadows under your eyes, making you look old.
Make sure you lean slightly forward in the picture so that the background can fade and so that you look more engaged in the foreground. Avoid doing strange poses with your hands by your face since they can be a distraction. Also, don't fold your arms since that can make you look cut-off and inaccessible.
Have the headshot photographer frame you from the shoulders up unless directed otherwise by a casting agency. Extreme close-ups can look silly and full-frame shots can also look jarring since it's difficult to see the features of your face. Bring along a few sample headshots of actors you admire so that the photographer has a better idea of what you are looking for. Lastly, since the photographer will have access to digital files, be sure to have him or her take as many photos as possible so that you have a better selection to choose your final shots from.Share