Steps to a great headshot - Part 1 (Pre-shoot)
It's time to get new headshots, where do you start? A great headshot starts well before shoot day and well before you even talk to a photographer!
Here is a quick and simple guide to the what's, who's and wear's of a headshot shoot to help you nail your branding!
The NUMBER 1 RULE is to give Casting Directors a canvas on which they can see their characters being cast, and most importantly don't confuse them! To do this, focus on your brand and the roles you will be cast in. If there was a number 2 rule, it would be make sure that your headshots reflect who you are – that they look like you AND reflect something of your personality.
#1 Know your brand!
We all know who we want to be cast as, but its really important to identify who others would cast us as too. One way to identify who you would be cast as is to ask friends, family, and those who you do know in the industry, and who are going to give you honest answers.
This includes your playing age, your personality, your 'look'. Your headshots need to reflect all of that. Are you young? Funny? Serious?
Dramatic? Bring all of these to your headshot.
Your headshot, and being seen as your 'type' is going to get you in the door for a casting. Once you're in there, you can bring all of the other bits of you and start positioning yourself for your dream roles!
Your branding needs to be clear, confident and congruent. This will ensure that casting directors can see you in a role, without being confused about who you'd play.
#2 Research headshots
Now that you know your type or brand, how do you tell that story? It's time for some research!
Check out other actors who have a similar casting type, and look at their headshots. Then ask yourself some questions:
- What pops out to you?
- Who is their photographer? Which other photographers have a similar style?
- What are they wearing?
Also, if you have an agent - speak to them, they will definitely have an idea about how you should be presenting yourself.
These will be the foundations of the shoot. Save any images that you like and send them to your photographer (see below).
#3 Choose your photographer
Build a shortlist of photographers whose work you admire and who fit your brand. Don't worry about perceptions of price or anything else at this point. We all work differently so talk to them all (don't forget to send them your reference images). I have heard so many contradictory stories about working with individual photographers! It all comes down to personality! Some photographers are very structured and pose you to get the 'look', while others work more to bring out your personality through the shoot.
I am definitely the latter, and pride myself on my headshots reflecting who you are, both in expression but also in the setting that we choose and the style that we go for.
Choose the photographer who fits best with you personally and with your budget. While we're talking about price, the investment for professional headshots right now is generally about $250-$700. For this, you will invariably get a shoot and between one and five retouched images - this varies from photographer to photographer. I offer five, as that provides you with a variety of looks.
#4 Choose your wardrobe
Your wardrobe is super important on your shoot! The golden rule is to wear clothes that make you feel awesome! Beyond that, there are a few more tips:
- Stay away from patterns and frills (they distract from the main feature - YOU!)
- Dress for your brand (look at films and see what characters in your type are wearing, check our other headshots, look at magazines)
- Dress for your style (wear neutral/dark colours to highlight your face or wear colours that complement your skin tone. Choose cuts that flatter you and make you look your best)
- Minimise accessories (no/minimal jewellery, wear glasses if you predominantly wear them)
#5 Hair and makeup
I recommend that all actors consider makeup for their headshots. Remember, this is about how casting directors are going to see you - and we want you to be seen at your best!
Makeup should be light, and clear. Don't go heavy on the lips or eyes and instead emphasise your features and show off your best self. If you are going to pluck eyebrows, or remove facial hair (for women), do it a few days before so that you don't have any nasty redness.
Hair should be done as you would normally wear it, but at its best! If you're going to have a haircut, do it a week or so beforehand so it's got time to settle. If you are getting it bleached or coloured, also allow a few days for it to be nourished and come back to it's best!
Get in touch to book your headshots
I offer headshots for actors of all levels and types and am equally comfortable shooting in the studio, at a city location, or coming to you. Click on the Headshot Booking link to get in touch and book your headshots.
For the month of August 2018 I am offering 25% off all headshot shoots, so get in touch now to connect and book your shoot.