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?