Taking a great headshot is your way of expressing yourself to potential casting directors, and can often be more important than the written content of your résumé.
Your headshot is the first point of contact between you and that casting director, and can determine whether you’re in the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ pile for that production. So to get that perfect picture, here are some tips and tricks for your headshots...
IT HAS GOT TO LOOK LIKE YOU!
As silly as this sounds, actors send in their headshot, they get a call back, and then they look absolutely nothing like what the casting director expected.
This is a big waste of time for all parties and can come across as dishonest, so take a photo that is a true representation of you.
Make it as natural as you can, this can make you come across as more versatile, initially making you suitable for a wider range of roles.
This isn’t to say you can't put on a bit of makeup and get that hair looking suave; just don’t ‘Katie Price’ it and do not over-edit your photo.
FRAMING- PORTRAIT OR LANDSCAPE?
Some disagree, but taking a photo in landscape can be a waste of page space. Not only this, but the negative space in a landscape photo can revert the eyes away from the main focus- which of course is you.
Frame your pictures. Headshots taken from far-away are no longer head shots and ones taken too close aren’t either. They do not want to see a close up of your eyebrow. Have a nice area of space around your head, as directors want to see your head-shape, jaw-line, hair etc. They need all the information your head can offer!
TO COLOUR OR NOT TO COLOUR?
Up until around 20 years ago, headshots were always in black and white, but we can now print in colour thanks to the wonderful ways of the modern age.
Colour is truly the better option as you can see things like skin tone, eye colour and hair colour.
It’s a tough one though, with all the selfies circulating the digital world, everyone is aware that the black and white photo is more aesthetically pleasing, but your headshot is the CV of your face and the more information the casting director has about you, the better. Try sending colour photos to your agent, and if they believe B&W is the better, then let them decide. It’s great to have a mix to make you come across as more adaptable.
ANGLES AND HONESTY
Cheesy angles and poses just scream unprofessionalism. Casting directors want to trust you and your work ethic and if your doing a thumbs up or juggling balls in your head shot, you will not be taking seriously. So be neutral and calm, and keep the camera focused straight on your head.
The key ingredient to a great headshot is honesty. Show that in your eyes and look at the camera. After all, an actor is someone who behaves truthfully in an imaginary circumstance, so your headshot should be a first step to achieving that. So no selfies, no gimmicks and be true to yourself.
HOW MANY SHOTS?
It’s been a jaw-dropping season of Game of Thrones, and it has not lacked the action, violence and vivid storylines that we all have come to expect from the team behind HBO’s fantasy drama series. But sadly season 6 is at its penultimate episode and many of us are wondering how we will resume our normal lives after it ends.
Not to worry though, we at IPM are already getting excited for season 7. We’ve been looking beyond the wall for talented actors and actresses to take part in season 7. Casting calls have already been released, but this is only the beginning as more roles are expected to come.
If you are an actor of an exciting calibre, with professional headshots and a Spotlight CV, don’t hesitate to send us a raven! We have opportunities to appear on amazing productions just like Game of Thrones. Apply on line at www.ipmcasting.com.
Also, if you are an extra or supporting artist with little to no-experience, you can sign up to our extras agency for opportunities to build up your skills and credentials. Go to http://www.ipmextras.com/.
We look forward to you joining our house!
Self-Taping is a quick and easy way of auditioning your character skill. If done right, it will attract the attention of casting directors and producers, increasing the chance of you landing your dream role. So whether you’re stuck for time or need to quickly showcase your talent, here are some essential and very helpful tips on how to produce a unique and professional self-tape.
USE A SUITABLE AND HIGH QUALITY CAMERA
You don’t need to break the bank to create a great self-tape. Nowadays most smartphones are fitted with cameras with great resolution. Just make sure that both the image and sound are clear, and then you’re good to go! The camera quality is key. A video with low resolution can mean the casting director can’t see you properly. It can also poorly reflect your professionalism. But don’t panic!
You don’t need to break the bank to create a great self-tape. Nowadays most smartphones are fitted with cameras with great resolution. Just make sure that both the image and sound are clear, and then you’re good to go!
FIND APPROPIATE SPACE
Space is key. Pick a location away from all that day-to day noise. Background noise on a video can be very distracting for a viewer and it can take all the attention from those important words you speak! So find somewhere nice and quiet.
Another important part is lighting. Choose a spot where you will be clearly visible whilst filming. You might want to consider filming using the natural daylight as it is less harsh and much more flattering. Casting directors want to see your face! If you want to go down the more professional route, you could use photographic soft boxes, or (if you’re on a budget) a lamp and a white reflective screen to disperse the light evenly.
USE A BACKDROP/WHITE WALL
Another key element to consider is the background.
No one wants to see your DVD collection or what stationary you own; they want to see you and only you. Keep the focus on yourself with the camera at eye-height, against a solid-coloured wall/sheet. Preferable colours are neutrals, such as white or off-white.
THINK INSIDE THE BOX
Remember to frame your shot properly. You don’t want half your face or the top of your head missing. You want it to capture your image from the top of your head to the mid of your chest with space around your head. You also want to make sure that you don’t look straight into the camera, unless specified otherwise, to maintain the fourth-wall between you and the audience. This makes your performance more realistic and it is also the way that all professional reels are produced.
Once you are done filming you want to edit your video and cut out any unnecessary shots. You don’t want to waste a casting directors time with any long silences or needless dialogue. You want your reel to flow smoothly with good timing.
Bear in mind though, that the best reels are those filmed in one sitting, so run through beforehand to avoid too many cuts to stay clear of over-editing.
It’s the same with the aesthetics of your video. Remember- do not over-edit. This can be just as bad as not editing at all.
Last but not least- your video should also have an introductory slide at the beginning which includes your name, the role, name of the production, and your agent’s details.
Happy self-taping from Team IPM!