Glamour magazine recently posted a few great tips to look better for your next headshot or photo shoot.
“…avoid sparkle. It accentuates fine lines and ages you.”
“Do use an anti-shine product to keep skin matte. Oily skin gets shinier thanks to the flash.”
Although… I’m not 100% behind this comment (in the photo caption):
“Tilt your head so hair is visible,”
Head tilt will usually depend on the camera angle. Instead – I recommend working with your photographer to get a variety of angles that both accentuate your features and show your hair.
Check out the full article for products that will help get great results.
I get asked all the time if headshot sessions include half-body or full-body views as well as the standard head-and-shoulders view. Yes, of course… if that’s what you need.
The real question is do you really need a half or three quarter view of your body?
Typically actors and corporate headshots focus on the head and shoulders because that’s what people want to see – your smiling face. As you pull back to a wider view, your face gets smaller in the frame. When looking at thumbnails on websites, a full-body view will make your face tiny and perhaps unrecognizable.
For actors a half-body or wider view can be useful if you want to show off your physique, but only as a supporting image to your primary head-and-shoulders photo. Remember, the important thing about a headshot is showing what you really look like so you get called in for auditions. That determination is almost always made based on your face.
However, there are some exceptions…
Seeking male and female Extras with physically fit swimsuit bodies… include several current photos of you in swimwear, your age, height/weight…
…as is obvious from this casting notice. But again, unless you’re strictly a swimsuit model, then your primary headshot is not going to be you in a swimsuit. That is a supporting photograph.
If you anticipate needing something beyond the head-and-shoulders view, talk to your photographer before your photo session and figure out what will work best for your situation.
The Master Talent Teachers blog has a great article and video from Carolyne Barry this week on “slating”. For those who’ve not heard this term before, a slate is the actor introducing himself or herself to the camera before beginning their audition.
The post makes some great points about how actor’s can make a bad first impression with their slates.
For example, don’t be:
too perky or “cutesy” or if they have a forced smile on their slate, it appears that they are trying to be “commercial” or working too hard to be likeable, which makes them seem insincere, insecure or badly trained
In the end…
a slate is a positive introduction, not a presentation, announcement or line reading.
Check out the full video from Carolyn here.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to sit down with one of Austin’s top commercial casting directors – Donise Hardy from A Casting Place. She gave me some great tips for actors getting new headshots.
If you’re not getting work, it could be you have a bad headshot.
In Austin, casting directors want to see a smiley photo showing teeth. The photo should be a clean, full-frontal view of your face and shoulders.
– Pastels and jewel tones are great color choices.
– Choose photos where the camera is at normal eye level (normal viewing perspective).
– Eyes should be right down the barrel of the camera with a fun, warm and happy expression.
– No makeup if subject is under 16 years old.
– No big jewelry. The picture is about your face, not your awesome necklace.
– No patterns, logos or glitter on clothing.
– Avoid all black or red
– No 3/4 shots
– Your name should be located in the lower right hand corner of the picture. Casting directors will put headshots in a binder and will look for the name in the right bottom corner when flipping through the book.
– Have your headshot set up with a white border. Casting directors or producers will often write notes in the white margins of the headshot.
– If you have agency representation, the agency logo should be on the left side of your headshot prints, opposite the name.
One last tip regarding auditions:
– For TV commercial auditions, dress the part. Be “IT” when you walk in the door.
Great quote about the primary goals for any actor’s headshot:
Your goal with your headshot is to:
Provide agents with what they need to help you get work. A good head shot can get you a good agent who can help you get into more auditions and increase your chance of being cast in roles you are seeking.
Provide casting directors with your details so that they can determine whether or not you are suitable for a role. After an audition the director will likely have taken notes and put that with your headshot to help trigger memories of your audition so they can decide whether or not to do a call back.
Keep your headshot updated so your agent and casting directors can match you with roles that fit your current look.
Great video content from Virtual Channel Network from Robin Harrington of Lemon Lime Talent Agency. Advice for actors on headshots, waiting room etiquette, booking out & more!
Right at the start of this video Robin answers the question “what makes a great commercial headshot?” The quick answer is “a clear, clean and colorful tight shot.”
Check out the whole video here http://www.virtualchannelnetwork.com/channels/rep_central/ep135.cfm
When searching for a headshot photographer, it’s important to chat with a prospective photographer and get specifics about the service they provide – how long a session lasts, what to wear, etc. This “interview” can be a simple phone call or email.
But what are the important questions to ask?
Check out the Actingbiz.com website for this great set of tips for actors: 11 sets of Questions to ask your Headshot Photographer BEFORE the Shoot!
I would add these questions as well:
“How long have you been in business?”
“What styles of clothing should I bring?”
Also, be sure to ask questions at the shoot if you have any confusion about packages or any part of the photoshoot process.
Answers to all these questions will help you find the right photographer and prepare for your headshot session.
Here’s a great headshot from last week.
I photographed Amber’s first acting headshots about a year and a half ago and she has since grown out her hair and signed with Agence Talent. She stopped in to update her headshots with a few new looks.
Actors – remember to keep your headshots current with your appearance. If you significantly change your hair or overall look, get new pictures made so casting directors will recognize and remember you.