If you want to be taken seriously by casting directors and get called in to audition you need to be professional. Their first impression of you is your headshot. You must get it right. Here’s the Acting headshot tips that will get you that great headshot.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
The number one thing you can do to have a successful headshot session is to do your research.
What are your character types?
You need to find out what your character types are. Not everyone can play the same roles. Are you the girl next door? The gangster tough type? The father figure.
Now you will fit a lot of different types. Research what those are. Some you just can’t play. A 19 year old woman can’t play the divorced mom role. But you should have a wide range. For example, a 22 year old female could play, The college student, The hipster, The single mom, The nurse, The young professional, The down and out street life girl.
Ask yourself, What type of clothes do they wear? What type of expressions do they have?
PERSONALITY IS BETTER THAN BEAUTY
Everyone wants a great looking picture of themselves. The truth is the casting directors want you to look like yourself. Flaws, quirks and all.
When they’re casting for a part they aren’t trying to find the most beautiful person to play that part. If so, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt would get all the roles.
They’re looking for an actor that embodies that character. Just be a good version of you in the role of the character that you want in your headshots.
Show some personality. Stretch yourself when it comes to expressions.
IT’S THE EYES
You hear it all the time. It’s in the eyes. What does that mean? It means you have to look like you have some life, personality, expression, depth in your eyes.
How do you get that? …Practice.
Start with doing the smize in the mirror. It’s easier for some people than others to smize. I tell people to do a small squint from the bottom eyelids up. Then add a small smile. It seems to do the trick. Practice that in the mirror until you think you have it.
The smize is just a starting point. After you get it, then try subtle adjustments to get even more range.
A great makeup artist can make a shoot. Conversely, a bad makeup artist can ruin a shoot. I learned this a long time ago while shooting fashion in Italy.
A good photographer will usually have a good makeup artist. If you like the makeup in your photographers’ photos, then you’ll like what they do in your photos.
If you’re doing your own, natural simple makeup is best for headshots. You can bump it up a bit for more of your leading lady shots, but mostly keep it natural.
One thing that never works, and I see women do this, is to go outside your natural lip line with lipstick. You aren’t fooling anyone. It doesn’t make your lips look bigger. It just looks like you painted lips on your face.
Always stick with what nature gave you and just enhance it a bit with makeup.
Natural light is the light from the sun. It doesn’t necessarily mean you will be standing in the sunlight. When you are in the shade you are still being lit from the sun’s light. When you are indoors and light is coming in from the window that’s also light from the sun. You can shoot in the studio with natural light.
One of the things that I like the most about natural light is how it makes your eyes look amazing.
Natural light is actually brighter than the ambient light in a studio lighting setting. What this does is make your eyes constrict. When they constrict, your pupils look smaller and the iris is bigger. The Iris is the part of your eyes with the color. When It’s bigger there’s more color in your eyes. With the dimmer lights of a studio setting the pupils are bigger. The pupils are a black hole. When it’s bigger your eyes are less colorful.
A good photographer that shoots with natural light has mastered how to work with all the different ways the natural light can be used. You’ll be amazed at what can be done.
It’s always difficult to tell someone what clothes to bring for their headshot session, because it’s different for different people.
You should have gone in depth on your character types. Now match your outfits to those types. The nerd wears an entirely different wardrobe than a thug. Match your wardrobe. However, you can do both, a nerd and a thug. Just pick the right clothes for both.
Here’s some simple rules that apply to most outfits. Layers are always better. It tells more of the story of that character. Think of it as a sentence versus a paragraph. It says a lot more. A black tee shirt could be a thug. But doesn’t a back tee shirt with a leather jacket tell more of the story?
Remember it’s about your character type not beauty. You don’t necessarily need to wear things that make you look the best. It must be the character. Also, no low cut tops. It’s about your facial expression, nothing else.
HEADSHOT MISTAKES TO AVOID
Not bring the right clothes. You know what to do, so now you have no excuse.
Not bringing something to take care of your hair. Bring a comb, brush, hairspray or whatever else you need to make sure your hair looks the best.
Showing up late. You’re a professional. You’re being judged at all times on how professional you are. Whenever you are dealing with other people, act professional and it will show. People will think. Wow, that person is so professional. I love working with them.
Too much makeup. Natural simple makeup is best. And you can leave the fake eyelashes at home.
Trying to be something you’re not. There is only one you with your unique qualities and gifts. Just be who you are and the right jobs will find you.