Actor Headshots 101

As an actor, your headshots and reel are the foundations for growing your business. It is the initial (and therefore most important) impression you’ll make on casting agents and directors, so preparation is crucial. Thankfully, getting your photo taken doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience! In preparation for our Headshot service launching in LA this month, we’re laying out some general tips and guidance we’d recommend actors to get the most out of their headshot sessions. 


WHAT TO PREPARE

Communication: Before the shoot, share as much information with your photographer as possible. If you have any pre-existing headshots, make sure to send them along and share with your photographer which elements you like. There should also be an understanding and agreement on how many looks you will shoot, the overall look and feel you would like to achieve, how long the shoot will last, and how many final images you will receive. 

Clothing: The best headshots are photographed 2 inches above the chest line and highlight an actor’s eyes. While clothing is not the subject of your headshot—your face is—choosing the right clothing and color is essential to compliment your eye color, facial features and skin tone. If you are shooting two looks, try to choose 1 neutral tone (white, grey, black) and 1 color tone (jewel or pastel). Avoid clothing that is patterned or busy with details. The texture is also important, so find a fabric that photographs well such as cotton or silk blends. Headshots must cover a variety of impressions, so don’t select an outfit based off of characters. Instead choose something that is universally casual, comfortable, and clean. If you need more guidance, reach out to your photographer for suggestions based off of the studio setting. 

Grooming: Ideally, the hair and makeup in your actor’s headshot should be timeless and classic. Style your hair, and apply makeup before leaving. Take care to avoid products with shimmer and sparkles, and also avoid overly bright lip colors. Make-up should be clean, and most importantly, natural. If you’re not confident in your makeup skills, reach out to a salon and see if they offer natural makeup services and schedule an appointment a few hours before your shoot. A small supply kit is necessary to ensure that your headshots will turn out amazing. On the shoot, bring along a layer of translucent powder to face and neck. This also has the added benefit of shrinking the appearance of large pores and evening out skin tone.

Mindset: Your mood and energy matters the most on a photoshoot, so make sure to get plenty of rest and hydrate 3 nights leading up to your shoot to avoid undereye circles. Make a point to get into a clear headspace the morning of, we recommend a 10 - 15 minute meditation or yoga routine to loosen things up. 


ON THE SHOOT

Pay attention to your body’s language. If you’re feeling stiff, take 7 deep breaths and focus on the fact that you are totally at home in front of the camera! Actors belong in front of the lens, vulnerable and alive, so don’t be afraid of what you have to show to the world. Additionally, it can help to discuss any concerns or jitters you have with your photographer. A good shoot usually comes out of an honest connection between subject and photographer, so don’t be afraid to speak up. 


If interested in booking a headshot session with us, send us an email at info@a4aproductions.com