◆ Target your audience – theatrical vs. commercial / modeling.
◆ A headshot does not guarantee work or ensure you will get auditions. Good acting is ALWAYS more important.
◆ What a headshot can and should do for you is force me to stop on your picture while flipping through hundreds of headshots to take a second look. That’s the most you can hope for, but it’s no small thing. Often, if I stop at your headshot for more than three seconds, you’ll have an audition – it’s the curiosityfactor. I always look for new discoveries and, well, unknown actors are where it’s at.
Color vs. Black & White
◆ While I used to prefer black and white theatrical headshots (I find them to be classier, less revealing, and overall more professional), since they are now mostly viewed online, color is probably your best bet.
◆ Color views better online compared to black and white, especially if you plan to use Online Casting (where Casting Directors often select actors to bring in for auditions).
Types and Poses
◆ Theatrical headshots should reflect you or at least some aspect of your personality. This opens the door to many interpretations, but if you can convey something interesting about yourself in your headshot, you’re on the right track. I’m often drawn to shots that are mysterious or introspective, andthose that are warm and inviting as well.
◆ As a rule of thumb, if your picture makes people want to get to know you and has a three dimensionalquality (meaning that it draws the viewer into the picture), your headshot is probably a good one. Onthe other hand, if it looks like a great picture for mom’s mantle, then by all means, surprise her for Mother’s Day. But I don’t need to see you look your best. I’d rather see if you’re capable of subtlety in a still photo. If you are, chances are you are also capable of subtlety in an audition.
◆ Avoid overly cutesy or sexy. If I get a shirtless picture or a bikini shot, I’m rarely going to bring in that person because it often suggests a lack of business sense and professionalism (though it might land in the “headshot of the day” folder - this isn’t a good thing).
◆ Regarding poses, I don’t need to see you in a cop uniform or a nurse’s outfit. We do haveimaginations, and the impression I usually get from such overly-charactery shots, just before I put it inthe discard pile, is of someone limited in range who lacks business savvy. ‘Cheesy’ also comes to mind.
◆ You should probably settle on one or two shots to save money and time. I often get packages ofheadshots from actors who have ten different poses and I think ‘what a waste’. This person is essentially asking me to choose my own favorite (and there is rarely a good choice in those instances).
◆ Avoid one picture that includes multiple shots with different poses (this is annoying and distracting).
How Much Should You Pay?
◆ Avoid looking for the cheapest photographers, including friends who have just taken it up as a hobby. Spend the extra money up-front and you’ll likely save thousands. After all, a headshot is your first impression, so make it a good one.
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