Shyla needed a new actress headshot, and she came to the right place! I take plenty of headshots for all sorts of professions, but actors – whether theater, movies, or TV – are one of my more frequent clients. Shyla is a sophomore at Shaler Area High School and needed a headshot for future auditions. Because every audition requires a headshot, they are critical to any actor’s success. You want to make a good impression with your audition, and then leave a good impression with your headshot.
Are you an actor, actress, or parent of one who needs a headshot? Follow these tips!
Here are some tips for stage-parents who are planning their child’s acting headshot session.
Headshots are critical for an actor. It’s their first step to getting an audition as casting directors and agents go through so many looking for the right fit for the part. A professional photographer knows how to create a portrait with great lighting, posing and background. For Shyla, we went with a studio-photo shoot using a grey background for a clean look.
It’s all in the eyes. Grab directors’ attention through strong, engaging eye contact. In a headshot the eyes should communicate directly to the viewer rather than the contemplative off-camera gaze.
What to wear? I suggested Shyla wear solid color clothes that compliments her skin tone and makes her eyes pop. Shyla has beautiful eyes and the shirt she brought really worked well for her. She had tried on a black shirt but that made her skin look pale and seemed to draw the attention away from her face and eyes.
Do I Need Retouching? Actor headshots generally require little retouching and photoshop as the directors need to know what you REALLY look like. Imagine a director expecting a sweet 12 year old blonde and an 18 year old pink-haired tattooed actor shows up! For Shyla, I removed a few stray hairs. Teenagers with pimples get more attention as I’ll clean up blemishes up for them.
To smile or not to smile? That is the question. During our 30 min session, I coached Shyla in a variety of poses that included big toothy smiles, soft smiles and relaxed non-smiles. Different actors choose different expressions for their final headshots. Some kids don’t want to emphasize their braces or they want to portray a more serious self with a closed mouth expression. Others see their smile and dimples as their best assets. Still, others want to appear younger or more mature through their expression. Either way, headshots should NOT look goofy or character-driven as directors want to see the person and let their acting skills transform them into the character during the audition.