When you walk into an audition, you need to have your tools in your pocket. Here are a few of those tips related to headshots.
You Must Look Like Your Headshot
You MUST have an 8×10 color headshot that truly looks like you. You would be amazed at how many headshots do not represent the true likeness of an actor. Perhaps the person has aged or had a change of hair color or style since the shot was taken. When you change your look, you MUST change your headshot. This can get expensive, so think about that next haircut before your stylist picks up the scissors, because chances are, you’ll have to keep it for quite some time.
Choose Your Photographer Carefully
Choose your photographer carefully! Check out several photographers’ portfolios before selecting the one who’s right for you. The best headshot photographers are often expensive and you don’t want to waste your money. You want a photographer who can capture your essence. Too many actors go to expensive photographers and come away with gorgeous pictures that simply don’t look like them. This is sometimes due to inappropriate hair and/or make up during the shoot, especially for women. Keep in mind this is not a glam shot, it’s a headshot. You are auditioning for acting roles, not fashion. It is important not to confuse the two. A first step to finding your photographer can be to analyze other actors’ headshots. Train your eye to see what you think works and what you think doesn’t. If you have a relationship with a director, casting director or agent, you may consider asking which photographers he or she recommends. You might also seek their advice when it comes to choosing your headshot from the proofs page.
Your Headshot Is Your Calling Card
You want to walk into the room looking like your calling card – which is exactly what your headshot is. As Shakespeare wrote, “There is sense in truth and truth in virtue”, so possess the good-sense-virtuous-truth to keep your headshot simple and have it be the real you. Your headshot is a very efficient and effective way for you to make a great first impression. This picture is your introduction to some very influential and potentially very impactful people in your life. Your picture needs to convey the same professionalism that governs your devotion and discipline to the craft. A snapshot will not cut it. If you know a good amateur photographer who can make you look stunning, that’s fine. Just remember: the picture must be of very high quality. You are competing in an extremely tough marketplace; and even in this era of pervasive social media, your headshot is still your primary calling card.
“Real” Is In
A headshot has to leap off the desk from the engulfing sea of submissions. But please avoid employing a gimmick that makes you look odd. Don’t style a photo that looks posed or artificial. “Real” is in and has been since Stanislavski and the other Russians came over at the beginning of the 20th century. The most effective and time-honored way for your headshot to standout is to portray you in a natural, open and very relaxed way. This makes a strong first impression because it’s honest. Shakespeare wrote, “There is sense in truth and truth in virtue”. Possess the good-sense-virtuous truth to be yourself. Let your headshot reflect the essence of who are. You are selling yourself – your own fabulously original brew of psychology/spirit/family of origin mess that makes you the unique artist you are.