5 Tips for a Great Headshot

Your headshot will determine whether or not you receive a call to come in for an audition. As casting directors review people, a lot is based on whether or not you give them the impression you are a superstar. In fact, the wrong headshot can have people skip right past you, since they aren’t seeing that wow factor they are looking for. So how can you do the most with an 8x10 image of your face?

First, spend the money on a professional photographer. Find someone whose job it is to take headshots of actors. No matter how good your friend Susan is with her camera, she won’t have the skills or experience to know what casting directors are looking for. This is your one chance to shine, so make sure it counts.

Next, realize that personality and your eyes sell the picture. Make sure that you accent both in the pictures that are taking. Casting directors don’t worry if the image has a blemish on your face, there is a whole makeup department that can work around that, they want to see that you have sharp eyes and a personality that comes through on film.

Speaking of makeup, don’t go overboard with it. The goal is to present how you naturally look. The professional will take the time to do some light retouching on the photograph to help you stand out. If you wear heavy makeup, there is a risk of it running in the hot lights, and unless you have worked in the industry, you won’t know the right tricks to have it appear natural.

Headshots are successful when the lighting, background, and framing are exceptional. You don’t want any shadows in the picture, and you want the picture to perfectly frame you. The focus of the picture should be the center of the eyes. Avoid anything that distracts from the simplicity of this piece. Wear a neutral colored shirt, avoid waving your hands around or wearing flashy jewelry. More importantly, no one cares what’s around you during the time of that picture, so make sure you remain the focus.  

Finally, go with natural light when possible. While studio lighting can be great, sometimes it has too much of a polished look and doesn’t give a true impression of how you will look on film.  When possible, go for the outdoor photoshoot and allow the natural sunlight help to take your headshot to the next level.

With a little effort on your part, you can have your natural personality come out on your headshot. With the right photographer, you can have that professional headshot that shows you are serious about breaking into Hollywood. From there, you’ll stand out when directors are looking through a book of shots, trying to find the perfect actors to fill a role.