Steps to a great headshot - Part 2 (shoot Day)

So you've made the plunge and invested in a headshot shoot, and now you want to get the best out of it. Whether you're an experienced actor or just starting out, this short guide will take you through my tips for maximising your headshot shoot! I covered the first early stages in Steps To a Great Headshot - Part 1 (Pre Shoot).

Your headshots are an investment in your career, and your shoot is a day at work as an actor. What you do on shoot day (even the night before) makes a difference to what you get out of it!

#1 Get Some Rest!

That's right! As boring as it sounds - start your headshot preparation the night before (or even two if you're game!). Take it easy, stay away from alcohol and try to get an early night. The rest will do wonders for your eyes, your skin and your smile and will make everything easier on the day. 

While we're talking about rest, I recommend that you free up the day and make it all about you (if possible). Most of my headshot shoots (particularly natural light) are in the afternoon or early evening. Have a massage, sleep in, go out for brunch - make the most of having a day for you!

#2 Prepare your hair and skin


You probably know your hair and skin best, but there are a couple of golden rules when it comes to preparing for a photoshoot. Firstly, if you're going to wax, pluck, have a facial or anything else, do it a couple of days beforehand to ensure that any irritation has died down. 

If you'rE using a professional hair and makeup artist (HMUA)

  • Wash and dry your hair the night before the shoot and arrive with it clean and free of product.
  • Moisturise your skin, but don't wear any makeup on the day of the shoot. This gives the HMUA a blank canvas to work from and makes sure that they're not irritating your skin as they clean off any previous makeup. 

If you're doing your own hair and makeup

  • Arrive at the shoot with your hair styled and makeup ready
  • Makeup should be light and natural, you want to look light the best version of you. Stick with mainly neutral colours for lips and eyes and do just enough to get some definition

#3 Headshot day and time

I know I have a bias here - but your headshot shoot should be the most important thing that you have on that day! As I mentioned above, this is an investment in yourself and your career so clear space around it and turn up to enjoy the experience!

On headshot day:

  • Take it easy!
  • Don't drink too much coffee
  • Make sure that your wardrobe is laid out, ready and ironed (ask your photographer and/or agent if you have any questions
  • Arrive on time.
  • Warm up (as if you're shooting a scene) so that you are relaxed and connected in front of the camera.


This tip is SO important that it should probably be number one! I know that many actor's hate standing in front of, and looking down the barrel of a camera. It is so different to relating to a scene partner or living in 'a character's body'. But your headshot shoot is all about capturing the best version of yourself so that you stand out and are recognisable when you walk into the audition room. The best way to do that is to have fun, enjoy the experience and trust your photographer!

My headshot shoots start out with coffee, then a little bit of pose instructions, and then it becomes a conversation. I encourage you to talk throughout the shoot. As we move through different moods and energies I capture the moments in between - where your expression is natural and you look alive! The biggest favour that you can do for yourself is surrender to the process and let the photographer do their job (which is as much about coaching you as it is photography!).

# 5 Post-Production

Actors Headshot Tips Melbourne

This may or may not be on shoot day, but it is so very important. Every photographer has their own way of selecting and retouching images and I encourage you to talk to them about it to get the best for you. Some photographers will sit with their clients after the shoot and go over all the photos, others will send you a shortlist of files and ask for you to select, some will choose shots for you. Each of these options has merit, however I would suggest that you work with the photographer to select a shortlist of the shots that both of you feel fit your brand, and then get external feedback - particularly from your agent! We all see ourselves differently to how the rest of the world sees us, particularly in a casting and 'business' sense, so having other people who are experts in the industry (ie not your mum) select the shots with you is important to make the best business decision.

Lastly, if you have any concerns or are unhappy with what the photographer has done with your headshots (in terms of shooting and/or retouching), tell them. They may be able to tweak some things in post production or offer you a reshoot, depending on what is required. For me, my clients' experience and results are the number one priority in my work - I want you to be happy!

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 rest of the month of August 2018 I am offering 25% off all headshot shoots, so get in touch now to connect and book your shoot. 

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