Who Decides What the Style of an Actor’s Headshot Should Be?

What I mean by this question is ‘the general style’ of the headshot. Should the headshot be simply a head and shoulders, should it be cropped tightly, can we crop-off the top of the head, should we pull out to include more of the torso like headshots in the USA, should it have strong shadows so we can only see half of the face, should it be heavily retouched to give almost unrealistic skin tones as some photographers like?

As an actors headshot photographer in London I have to comply with the requests of my clients – the actors, I also have to understand the what the market wants – the agents, casting directors etc. and I also have to fulfill my own creativity within these boundaries.

Am I right to discourage a UK actor from wanting an American style headshot? Sometimes my clients arrive with ideas from websites or magazines and want a headshot similar to them because they like the feel of the shot and want to look like the actor in this shot. Equally so, some actors have seen shots that are badly cropped-in very close so that the face fills the frame and like this style. There has also been a growing trend to ‘crop-off’ the top of the head in recent times – I often wonder why?

I think my main duty is to my client and to give them what they want in a headshot. However saying this I photograph many actors who are new to the business and have very little knowledge of how the industry works, – I consider it incredibly important to advise these clients and offer my knowledge and experience on what is suitable, what works best for them and ultimately what is going to get them noticed by the right people. On a slightly different note; it amazes me how poorly prepared most actors are when graduating from schools, colleges and universities in this side of the business. They may well have good stage skills or be well versed in different acting methods but are often under prepared in the business side of acting.

Duty Or Creativity?

I consider it my duty or part of my service because I believe it’s an essential part of my job and also partly for purely business reasons. I can’t deny I want repeat bookings and hope my clients will recommend me to their friends and colleagues but I also believe passing on my knowledge in a good way is beneficial to my clients understanding of how the industry works.

Another option is to go wild with creative abandon but to what end? Is it to satisfy my own ego or to try and blaze a new style in headshots? I think this is the wrong attitude to have. If I have a need to be more creative than I am with headshots then I should shoot in a different style, perhaps fashion headshots or editorial style shots. This is not to say that – and this is important – shooting actors headshots is not creative or that it does not satisfy the creativity of headshot photographers – this is not what I’m saying at all.

There are plenty of general photographers who dabble in headshots as a way of making more money without fully understanding the niche, or the possible negative effects that a poor headshot can have on an actors career. My creative buzz comes from the absolute pleasure in getting a great headshot for an actor that I know is going to help them in their career. Especially those actors who are uncomfortable sitting in front of the stills camera. Drawing out of an actor something from deep within them to make their headshot sparkle, to give it the wow factor. For without the wow factor it’s just another headshot in the crowd.

Professional Headshots – Finding The Best Headshots That Can Help You Even If You Aren’t An Actor

Professional headshots are something that you can use even if you are not an actor or an actress. Today, there are many websites where you are allowed to post a profile picture. These sites are usually dating sites or social networking sites or forums but most sites allow you to post a picture. Many times people upload low quality or silly pictures of themselves online. However, you can be taken seriously on a site such as LinkedIn if you use your professional headshot as your profile picture. This can lead to obtaining more business connections and job opportunities.

Why do I say this? Well, you have to think about the quality of the picture. Do you think that a picture of you taken while you were drunk with your friends at a karaoke party where your head is cropped out in Photoshop is better than a professionally taken one where you may have paid $200 for it? You can be almost 100% certain that professionally taken headshot is going to be the picture that looks better.

You may even want to tell the people working at the DMV to put that picture on your driver’s license! That was supposed to be a joke but now that I think about it, it might be a good idea.

There are multiple concerns that you should think of when considering getting a professional headshot. How much should you pay for your headshot? What is the correct number of headshots that you need to obtain? Should you get color, black and white or both? Personally, I would go with both. Should you hire an individual from a classified ads website such as Craigslist? Should you go with a company that specializes in headshots like ones that you would find in New York City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas or Miami? I would avoid places that are really expensive such as that place in the mall that charges thousands of dollars for pictures that could be taken with a digital camera for free.

You need to do some research to answer the questions above that I did not give an answer to but it is important that you take action. Before buying a headshot, explore a variety of options by reading reviews on the internet and asking your friends. I’m sure you have a friend that is or was involved in acting and has gotten a headshot taken before. You can check the community bulletin board at local colleges that have acting programs. There are often flyers and posters scattered around large cities offering deals on headshots.

A headshot is something that is going to be valuable for models, those in the entertainment industry, online date seekers, job seekers and more. You should dress to impress when going for your headshot, but remember that usually you will get an 8×10 headshot with you facing forward, expressionless and you will not be able to see much of your clothing.

You want your headshot to be as high quality as possible. Never use a disposable camera to take your headshot. Digital cameras are a good choose but make sure it is at least 5 megapixels. That means that you shouldn’t use a camera phone either! I know smartphones are getting better cameras built-in, but please use a real camera for now!

As a final tip, ask if the person taking your headshot has professional experience in computer graphics / digital image editing. If they have extensive experience with some of the Adobe Creative Suite area of products such as Adobe Photoshop, then this may be the best person to take your headshot. Red eye removal and color correction are some of the tools that can be applied by using photo editing programs.
I hope that you have learned about the importance of professional headshots and how to go about finding the best place to get one.

Headshots For Actors – Tips on What Actors Must Look For In Their Headshots

What are your current headshots saying about you?

Has your acting career stalled a little bit recently? If so you are not alone. Unfortunately due to the economy jobs for actors have become harder and harder to get. Additionally, many actors make the mistake of using the same headshot year after year.

The truth is that headshots for actors are essential to their careers. However, these headshots get seen by the same casting directors audition after audition. This can be a good thing sometimes, but more often than not you run into a bit of trouble with this.

One of the biggest issues with headshots for actors is that their headshot looks substantially different than they do in real life. You do not want your headshot to look like a glamour shot that you cannot live up to. Instead, you want it to be an accurate representation of who you are today. If you make a big change in your appearance like a new hairdo or hair color you need to have new headshots.

You have to be instantly recognizable with your headshots, and if you have a look that is very different than your picture you need to be sure that you update your shots.

Additionally, headshots for actors should be timely.This means two different things. You want to be sure that your headshots are living up to the standards and trends of the current audition market. Unfortunately, if you still have black and white headshots you are seriously out of date. Headshots for actors today should be in full color, and if you are not sporting those than you need to seriously think about having yours redone. Additionally, you want to take a look at the trends in poses and looks to make sure that you do not look out of date and cheesy in your current shots. Headshots for actors should also be age appropriate. Unfortunately many actors are hesitant to invest in having new pictures taken. However, if yours are more than a few years old you really need to think about having them taken again.

Headshots for actors also need to be current in their hair, clothing, and makeup selections. Of course when you are first taking your headshots you want to try to keep to timeless and classic looks. Unfortunately many actors find themselves getting sucked in to wearing the latest trends and styles in their photograph. If you fall into this category you need to look into having yours redone.

Having some new headshots taken can help to revitalize a stalled career. It gives the casting directors an opportunity to see an updated version of you. It may also be just what they need to see you in a different light. As your performance career grows and changes you may want to alter the image that you present at your auditions. Headshots for actors can be a great tool to accomplish this with.

Spend some time thinking about how you want to present yourself so that you can ensure that image appears in your photographs.

Face it – Tips on Having an Awesome Headshot

We humans think in pictures. And your profile photo, or headshot, captures your essence so anyone who sees it can see your story in a moment. A good headshot will illuminate your inner light, show your personality and give a peek into your life. In a professional context, this is vital to activate sharing your innate message with the world (who you are) as well as create a connection point with your potential and current clients.

A long time ago, in another land far away, I was a Glamour Shots photographer – yes, it’s true. And now, by using the ancient art of Chinese face reading with my clients, I have seen A LOT of profile photos! Without further ado, here are a few tips from what I have seen that can make all the difference in you having an awesome headshot.

1. No distractions! If you are in a social environment, or a friend casually snaps your photo while the guy in the background is reaching for a soda, or you’re in front of an art exhibit, you are competing with your environment for a good headshot. Let the background be neutral to really show YOU off!

2. No lopping off friends! I see it time and time again… people are hanging with their friends, arm in arm, and they like how they look, so they simply chop off anyone else in the picture. Not only is that not healthy energetically, it’s a disservice to you because people are relating to you relating to that person in the photo vs. the person looking at your headshot. That is two completely different relationships, obviously… if you’re looking to attract business, don’t use a shot where you’re hangin’ with your homies!

3. No body shots! A headshot on a web page is already small, so if you decide to use that photo of yourself dressed up in full, you are taking valuable “real estate” away from your headshot. Your head ends up being smaller than a postage stamp, and it’s really not enough for people to get the feel of your energy. A headshot is just that… a HEADshot!

4. Good lighting! If your headshot has funny shadows, harsh lighting (which will age you), you’re squinty in the sun, or your face is looming in from a dark background (as in, your picture being taken at a social club), it’s not working for you. Natural lighting is great, or a professional photographer will know how to use light to complement your features. It’s all about the lighting!!!

5. The eyes are the windows to the soul! This is the connection place between you and the person seeing your headshot – this is how you engage people when you’re not there. If you are friendly, approachable, and/or playful, it’s likely people will want to connect with you. Eye contact shows whether you are open to relationship in some manner or if you are closed for business. If you’re doing a stare-down, not looking at the camera, or wearing sunglasses, you’re not giving your people the opportunity to engage with your light. Eye contact is a key to your emotional being and is just as important in a headshot as it is in person.

6. Creativity wins! If you want to do a profile shot with a quick look at the camera, or catch yourself in the middle of a good laugh, or want to wear something that is “you”, do it! A picture paints a thousand words… and in business, your headshot can attract you thousands of dollars. Your headshot shows what is important to you, so capture your personality in the moment. Let your headshot reflect who you are – after all, that’s who people want to know.

7. Supermodels are out! A good headshot isn’t about being glammed up to the point where people in your world wouldn’t recognize you. This is about you being you, comfortable in your skin and inviting people to come play (and do business) with you. There is no need to glob on the make-up or wear clothes that you wouldn’t normally wear. It’s vital that you be your natural self that happens to be getting a picture taken because THAT is the most attractive quality you have – YOU!

It doesn’t take much to have a great headshot – a little attention to detail, some decent lighting, allowing your personality to shine through and you’ve got great face! So get out there and share those baby blues and pearly whites with the world – we’re waiting for you!!!