Headshots for acting, theater, modeling all have one thing in common. They should be an accurate representation of how you will look when you show up for an audition, interview or casting call. There are many ways to show yourself but all should be free from fad ideas, items in the hair, loud pattern clothing and aything that attempts to make you something or someone you are not. Honesty will get you jobs and dishonesty will lose you the same.
The photos should be 9x12 in size and color and black and white is a good idea. Your resume will be stapled to the back of the photo and the resume form can be found in most any how to do this books.
You should like and feel comfortable in the clothes you wear in a headshot
session. What do you wear to auditions? Chances are you should wear the same
type of outfit for your headshot.
Bring shirts in a variety of collars/necklines. The picture may be cropped pretty
tight, and some collars and sleeves look funky when cut off. Women, don’t forget
to bring bras that match your tops’ colors and necklines.
Solid colors are usually better. Patterns and busy prints distract from your face.
The same goes for clothes with big buttons or other features that might take
away attention from that beautiful mug of yours. Fine textures and weaves often
look nice in pictures.
Wear jeans or dark pants. Even though it is a head shot, your waist and legs
might show up. In addition, you might want to bring a dress, suit, skirt, or
something else different from a typical pants & top combo.
Make sure your clothes are pressed and clean.
Color Me Beautiful
Choose clothes that complement your skin tone and eye color. No solid white
shirts if you’re Caucasian or light-skinned. And bright red usually doesn’t work
for anybody. It’s just too strong a color.
Fair skin and blue eyes? Try blues, pinks and grays.
Green eyes? Try browns, greens and oranges.
Medium or dark skin and brown eyes? You can probably wear most colors, but
avoid those that closely match your skin tone (contrast is key).
Clothing for Legit vs. Commercial Headshots
For legit/theatrical head shots, bring dressier, upscale clothes with darker colors.
For women: stretchy tops, sweaters, velvet, satin, scoop necks, spaghetti strap,
tank tops and v-necks. Also business suits and other professional clothing.
Rule #1: A Great Headshot Looks Like You
Your headshot should look like you on your very best of days, one of those days
when you look in the mirror and say “oh, yeahhh.”
If the headshot lands you an audition but you don’t look like the person in the
picture when you walk through the door, then forget about it. In person, if
you’re younger, older, thinner, heavier, etc. you’re not going to get the part.
Or even worse: they might want someone who looks just like you, but you won’t
get the audition if the headshot leads them astray because it doesn’t look like
Rule #2: A Great Headshot Shows Your “Type”
Your headshot, particularly a legit/theatrical headshot, should reveal a type.
You want the casting director to look at your photo and know right away if
you’re the best friend, the professional, the con man, the leading lady, the comic
sidekick, the mom, etc. If you don’t know your type, talk to casting directors,
agents, acting instructors, or friends in the business. Then talk to your
photographer beforehand. If you know what you’re looking for and can convey
that to your photographer, your final shot will be much better. Trying to be the
jack-of-all-trades who can play anything rarely works. If you’re seeking auditions
for distinctly different types, take multiple headshots that reveal those types and
send them out accordingly.
Rule #3: A Great Headshot Shows Your
Your headshot should express something unique about you. It should be
engaging and interesting. Maybe it’s a special twinkle you have in your eyes; a
bemused smile that’s just your own; a big/roaring personality. Whatever it is,
show off what makes you special and sets you apart from the hundreds of other
actors whose headshots casting directors look at every day.
Rule #4: A Great Headshot Is About You, Not
This isn’t to say that you don’t need a great photographer. But regardless of the
photographer, the picture should show off your style, not the photographer’s.
Some photographers have a very distinct look, and that look is their personal
“brand.” It doesn’t matter who you are, they are going to make your headshot fit
their brand. When looking for a photographer, be sure your photographer will
take a photograph that emphasizes your brand, not his or hers.
For men: Dress shirts, crew necks, textured sweaters, v-neck, and turtle necks.
Also suits and blazers. You can create contrast by layering a t-shirt, collared shirt,
and/or leather jacket.
For commercial headshots, bring casual clothes & lighter/brighter colors.
Think sporty and fun. Consider layering light and dark clothes for contrast.
For women: t-shirts, tank tops, sweater sets, denim/leather jackets, textured
For men: t-shirts, hoodies/sweatshirts, work shirts, polo shirts, denim/leather
jackets, textured sweaters.