The headshot is one of the most important marketing weapons in a actors arsenal. But what separates the good from the bad?
For me, the most important criteria in any headshot is honesty, as a casting director will expect to see the person at audition who they see in the headshot so excessive make up, lighting or photoshop tricks will only work against you. Therefore, how a portrait is lit to show the subject in the most flattering way is essential and any post-production work is reductive rather than removal of perceived flaws and imperfections. All the actors used in this blog article attended The Reel Scene acting school in London......if you are an inspiring actor you can get in touch with them here
It is also very important to remember that the Headshot serves a specific function and must not be confused with a glamour, fashion or portrait photograph that you could hang on the wall or give to your parents/ partner as gift. The headshot is about representing you, your age and personality or even specific emotions that are important to the type of roles you are applying for. Its not about looking pretty or wearing the latest clothes so it is often hard for a subject to separate themselves from the function of the headshot. It is therefore very useful to get an objective option about which headshot to use......and this doesn't mean asking your mum or girlfriend as they will be undoubtably bias. I would suggest to speaking to others in the industry, so perhaps, an acting coach, casting agent, colleagues or even the headshot photographer as they are best placed to give an honest and objective opinion that is key to success and gain more auditions.
As with on-camera acting, the headshot is all about the eyes and this is where the knowledge and technique of your photographer comes in. The eyes need to be tack sharp, in focus and portraying energy, vitality and passion not dull and lifeless. This is where your acting skill comes in as you may need to portray inner thoughts like pain or anger implying a back story.
If you are reading this then I think its safe to assume you are an aspiring or working actor and understand the importance of a professional headshot in the progression of your career. However, the range of options out there can be bewildering - should you go for an outdoor headshot or is a studio portrait the way forward, do I need a simple smile or express emotion in the headshot, how many changes of clothes do I need, what style is going to get me noticed?
All of these questions are valid and, to be honest, there are no correct answers but its essential to have a direct conversation with your headshot photographer so they can understand your specific requirements and create a session around it.
If you are interested in having this conversation about your headshot and what could potential work best for you, then please don't hesitate to get in touch