I've been doing photography for over half of my life and specifically focusing on actors' headshots for the last four years or so. Naturally, I have some opinions, largely in part because I've seen too many actors spend their hard earned money on headshots that are below industry standards or don't represent them. Your headshot is your calling card. It is the MOST IMPORTANT piece of marketing material you can have as an actor, followed by your reel and resume. Take the extra month to save up to have drop dead amazing shots. It'll make a world of difference.
I ask you, WHAT DOES YOUR HEADSHOT SAY ABOUT YOU?
So, what makes a great headshot, you ask? Let me tell you...
1) It looks like you. You'd think that's an obvious statement, but apparently it's not. It's so, incredibly important to have a headshot that looks like you. I tell clients to do their own makeup, because after all, we don't all have makeup artists available to beautify us before each audition, am I right? Make sure you don't throw casting directors for a loop when you walk into their offices... look like your photo. Also, show some physical range-- change your hairdo, add/remove makeup during the shoot, throw on your glasses, etc. Discuss wardrobe with your photographer as well; it can make a huge difference in the outcome of your photos. A great photographer will have opinions and recommendations for you.
2) It FEELS like you. Are you quirky? Your headshot should say that. Are you intense? Make sure your headshot is too. Don't just lean on your looks; bring your personality to your shoot. If you have a great headshot photographer, they'll ask you the right questions and know how to speak to you to bring out each side of your personality and make sure your headshots represent you. They'll also choose locations and lighting that lend themselves to each vibe you're going for.
3) It's well-lit and professionally shot. You should be the main subject in your headshot, with your face and particularly eyes well-lit. Framing, positioning, lighting, color and focus are all parts of the equation. A professional headshot photographer will have all these aspects down pat. Be sure to book with someone who specializes in actor headshots, as there are many different kinds of photographers, but not everyone is a headshot photographer. Be sure to review your potential photographer's portfolio before booking a session with them.
All of these aspects of a great headshot are most dependent on two things:
- HIRE an excellent headshot photographer
- SHOW UP prepared, well-rested and emotionally open to show who you are
Remember, you get what you put in, financially and emotionally. Do your research. There are endless photographers out there, but only a handful of very talented headshot photographers.
I hope this helps and that we can all raise the bar for headshots in Atlanta!
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