Acting tips: Actors headshots

What’s one of the best ways for actors to publicize themselves?

Do actors need head shots?
10 by 8 head shots for actors are essential tools of the trade and a cost to be factored in to any aspiring actor’s budget. You want to be certain you’ve got it right from the start, as you could end up wasting a lot of money on poor head shots which fail to do you justice. These are your calling cards and many actors starting out fall foul of disreputable photographers for whom producing a picture which gets you work isn’t their highest priority! It’s better if you have some idea of what you need to get so you can avoid the worst of the bunch.

Here’s a list of the basic requirements and dos and donts to think about:

  1. Make sure your face is centred in the frame and not favouring one side
  2. The shot of your face should be sharp and well focused and not soft in any part. It is better if the background can go out of focus.
  3. You want to look like an actor and not a model.
  4. Your portrait should be color for the U.S. and black and white for Britain.
  5. Try and eliminate any distractions on the background of the frame. When a casting director is scanning through dozens of pictures you want the fleeting glance to look at you and nothing else.
  6. Don’t wear anything with logos or have anything in shot with names, graphics etc.
  7. Avoid patterns in any clothing in shot i.e. shirt collars, scarves etc. No stripes, lines and so on.
  8. No head wear, hats, caps, feathers!
  9. Wear little jewellery, preferably none at all.
  10. No makeup.

You’re not really selling your own personality here; you’re selling a version of you, a look or a set of features.

What you have to remember is that the photo isn’t about how you would like to look, but it’s how you actually look, real and unmade up, flaws and all. This is your uniqueness. A film director or casting director wants to see the person in the photo walk in to the audition; not someone who looks one way in their headshot then arrives looking completely differently.

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