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

Your Photographer

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.