What Is a Headshot and Tips on How to Capture the Perfect One

What Is a Headshot and Tips on How to Capture the Perfect One

An acting headshot is an important tool for an actor to market himself in the industry. If you put yourself in the shoes of the casting directors, then you’d know how much first impressions matter. If they see someone they like at first glance, then most likely they’ll remember that person during the actual audition. So there is a huge chance that your headshot will matter before the actual audition begins.

You wouldn’t want to draw scared or unsure reactions from casting directors and ultimately ruin your chances in getting the part. Remember, you are judged based on an overall criteria and not just your acting ability. So it is safe to say that your headshot will also play an important factor in giving your career that much needed lift.

So in getting a good headshot, you might want to brief yourself on what’s good and what’s bad. But first, let’s explore the definition of a headshot and its use in the acting industry. An acting headshot is defined as a portrait that captures the actors actual features and are used for promotional purposes. It is captured from the shoulders up and later on submitted to casting directors during auditions so they’ll have an idea of what you look like. Other than the field of acting, a headshot can be used for book or novel authors and professional models.

Today, let us take an in-depth look into the different elements when it comes to taking a good headshot fit for an actor.

1. Your photographer


Before anything else, you should decide who will take the photo first. Generally, professional photographers take the best photos, but they do come with an expensive price tag. But at the end of the day, they are usually worth the money you invest. Keep in mind that the fee can soar up depending on the photographer’s reputation.

Contrary to that, if you do know somebody who can take good photos without the expensive price tag, then you can take the risk and go for that option instead. Remember to make sure that your photographer knows the basics in taking a good headshot and be able to capture your personality.

2. Similarity to yourself

actress headshot

Your headshot should first and foremost look like you, which is why it’s best to invest on a good photographer for those who are looking into establishing themselves in the acting industry. If you walk into the audition room looking entirely different than the person in the photo, then you are most likely to get a big thumbs down from the casting directors. Besides, headshots are not a beauty contest or a photo editing competition for that matter. It’s all about capturing an actor’s look and marketing that around the industry.

So don’t be afraid to speak up or ask your photographer to ease up on the air bushing if for instance, your headshot comes out looking like an entirely different person, because it is your career that will be on the line.

3. Your look

natural look

Natural makeup is the best to go. Again, a headshot isn’t a beauty contest and it isn’t about capturing you in full glam mode but more on showcasing your actual personality. So skip the smokey eye and the crazy hair no matter how flattering it makes you seem and stick to neutral shades with pushed-back hair. It’s best to look natural, but bear in mind you should look awake. So make sure you conceal and highlight your face to create a brightened look. Apply concealer on under eye bags and highlight your cheekbones and corners of your eyes to get that natural glow.

Bear in mind that headshots are all about character profiling. So assess where you want to go with your career—are you looking into getting mature roles? Or are you going for a younger audience? This will help you get the look you are going for and how you should pose for the camera. At the very least, whatever you decide should complement your look in the end.

4. Photo lighting

headshot lighting

When you think lighting, there are two options: natural or studio. At the end of the day, it boils down to the job you are auditioning for. Opt for natural lighting if you happen to be auditioning for a role in film. Sitcoms are perfect for studio lighting because it gives the casting director an idea on how you would look like during the actual production.

Also, you need to bear in mind that headshots are required to be colored so they don’t look outdated and have them captured in portrait mode.

5. Simplicity

natural actress headshot

You want to stand out, but not to the extent that you end up making a fool outof yourself. So there is no need to bring any props to the table just to get people’s attention. Sure, you’ll be remembered that way but exactly how you plan and besides, that kind of gimmick can come out looking cheap.

Acting is a profession that many take seriously, so keep things simple and professional at the same time. Don’t wear statement shirts, a plain one with a solid color will do and keep your background neutral as you don’t want to draw the attention away from your face.

6. Convey emotions through your eyes

actor headshot

People say that the eyes are the window to the soul, and it can’t get any more accurate than that. Headshots are a form of acting because in a way you are still portraying art through the image you produced. So let your emotions show through your eyes and not just your smile to draw attention to your photo. Make sure you are alive and energized to show them that you have the potential when it comes to breathing life to anything.

Lastly, let loose and have fun during your shoot! You can’t capture your personality if you keep holding back. Your photographer shouldn’t be wholly responsible in perfecting your poses, they’re just in charge of capturing that smile at the click of the camera. The rest will be all on you, so make sure you are energized and ready to capture that one-of-a-kind headshot.

What Is a Headshot and Tips on How to Capture the Perfect One by

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