The folks at the popular dating website OKCupid have a sister website called OKTrends which compiles “observations and statistics from hundreds of millions of OkCupid user interactions.”
While this article is from way back in 2009, their conclusion is still true:
…[the] unfortunate truth of online dating: no matter how much time you spend polishing your profile, honing your IM banter, and perfecting your message introductions, it’s your picture that matters most.
Full Article [Your looks and online dating]
The article presents some great data in charts and graphs to illustrate how pictures can affect online dating interactions. Of course, since “attractiveness” is a pretty subjective thing, you might take all of this with a grain of salt.
However, especially with sites like Tinder, your picture is the first thing a viewer will see and you want to make a strong first impression. Is a “selfie” really the best way to go?
A client came to me recently after a divorce and said he was ready to start dating again, but had no good photos of himself. A week after our session I received this email:
I am on a date right now with a girl I met online because of those photos. Awesome!! – David
Quality photos for your dating profile make a difference.
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.
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.
Here is a great article on getting great headshots for your business by Dedham, MA portrait photographer Gretje Ferguson.
A good headshot is a business essential. It gives you a leg up when it comes to publicity, a professional web presence, or a potential speaking contract. A strong business portrait personalizes your business. People see who you are and are more likely to want to work with you.
In contrast, an unflattering, badly posed or technically inferior headshot can work against you. The subconscious questions that may come up are: Does this person take herself seriously? Is she a consummate professional? Will she give my account the attention it deserves?
Your headshot is part of your brand. Be sure it is sending a message compatible with your professionalism.
While I still don’t have a hover-car or even a jet-pack, 2010 is off to a great start. I moved into a new studio in December and after a month or so of dealing with moving and unpacking, things are finally starting to get organized.
The new space is working out great for headshot sessions – allowing for a little more experimentation. I wanted to share a few new actor headshots this week to show-off the looks I’m getting at the new studio.
I’ll follow-up next week with a few fresh new business looks I’ll be trying out for corporate executives and social media folks.
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.
Simple fact – Your avatar is the first impression you make with any of your online profiles.
Dan Benjamin at Hivelogic zeroes in on how a great avatar can help you can stand out, especially on sites like Twitter:
“A great avatar will help people remember you instantly. And you should use it everywhere, across the board. Use it on your blog if you have one (you should). Use it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, everywhere. Even if people don’t automatically remember your name or your website, they’ll remember your avatar and make an association. When they see it again later, on another network or site, they’ll be more likely to pay attention, to friend you, and maybe remove a few of those degrees of separation.”
Read more of Dan’s article.
A great avatar is a solid foundation for your personal brand.