On Headshots

1 06 2015

The head shot is your introduction to the professional acting world. In-person introductions are rare these days, and usually only occur with actors who are established. If you are just starting out, your HEAD SHOT is your KEY to getting any interest from agents, casting directors, and directors. I PROMISE. This is why it mystifies me when an actor goes for “free” head shots, in the name of saving money. If you were a race car driver, would you get a less fast car that was falling apart, just because it was free? You could, but you won’t win any races with it. Your head shots are the first thing about YOU that anyone will see. They need to WORK for you. No matter how awesome your photographer Aunt is, or your friend who is in photography school is, you need to get the right photographer to take your head shots

As an agent, one of my other jobs, I get a lot of push back from parents about getting their kids “professional” head shots. They insist that the school photos are great, or that their brother, or father, or family portrait photographer CAN DO IT. I can tell you that it takes three times as much effort on my part to get kids with terrible head shots in for an audition. Getting professional head shots done shows that you have a level of seriousness about what you are doing, and are willing to INVEST in your success. Be careful how you invest your dollars, however, and do your research before choosing a head shot photographer.

How do you find a great head shot photographer? Ask. Find out what actors are WORKING in your area, then find out who photographs them. If you happen to go to a workshop taught by a casting director, ask THEM who they recommend for head shots locally.

There are certain aspects of the business where you must be CURRENT to be RELEVANT. The preferred style of headshot DOES change, and you want to be on top of the trends. Unfortunately, if your acting professor has not done any recent professional work in the film/tv world, their perspective on a “good” headshot may not be relevant anymore. When I was finishing grad school, I got black and white head shots and held on to them for dear life, even after the black and white trend had faded away. I still ADORE a black and white headshot, but that is not the trend anymore. As of this writing, in the Fall of 2014, the trend in New Orleans is: natural light, simple make-up, simple hair, neutral clothing, simple SHOT OF YOUR HEAD in color. I know this because that is what I see day in and out through being an agent, and doing auditions myself.

More later….


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