As an actor, the type of shots you need is going to be determined by a few factors including your market (where you work and live). What do you want to audition for and more so here are a couple of things to consider:
You should always consult your agent on what you need. We have experience in the industry and or more importantly they know what type of job you need to book.
If you don’t have an agent yet then by default you want to get a clean, simple, commercial headshot. Basically a smiling, looking at the camera head and shoulders image with minimal retouching to show potential agents and casting directors what you look like naturally.
Remember that the majority of casting for film and television, at least in the early stages, is done online. Casting directors look at an array of thumbnails to determine the initial round of auditions so it’s important that your headshot is impactful and close-up. Be careful, a small thumbnail of your whole body from head to toe or make you look very small and less visible. Remember it’s a headshot.
Don’t worry too much about specific character shots unless directed by your agent. Your two basic headshots will be a commercial (upbeat and happy) and theatrical (more dramatic).
What You Need To Know About Acting Headshots
If you are an aspiring actor looking for a shot at success then you need to know that acting headshots are a crucial marketing tool that you need to invest in. The moment it becomes clear to you that you are ready to pursue a career in acting, make sure that you have, at least, a set of cheap headshots already taken and start applying for spots on casting websites. Simple snapshots are generally looked down upon as they're considered unprofessional, so avoid using a snapshot taken by your friend with their mobile phone.
Acting headshots are the first thing casting directors look at when perusing through submissions. If your headshot catches the casting director's attention, you probably can say you passed the first test. Now all that is left to do is impress him or her with your demo reel and acting resume. Actors that have a weak resume but whose headshots are outstanding have better chances of getting called in for an audition.
Casting directors (CD’s) and agents pay close attention to acting headshots and consider how professional they look. By simply looking at your headshot, a CD can tell how well you understand the industry and can immediately tell if you are a pro or an amateur?
For the best acting headshots, consider working with a professional photographer. Since professionals understand the intricacies of acting headshots, they will guide and advise you on what you need to know. Even if your budget does not allow for an expensive shoot, most headshot photographers can still provide a cheap headshot option that will look a lot better than that iPhone selfie you may have considered as an option.
What is an Acting Headshot?
It is likely that you already know that an acting headshot, commonly referred to as a headshot is a photo of an actor or person from their chest up with the focus primarily on their head. In the acting industry, headshots are usually high-quality photographs taken by professional photographers and aren't the same as ordinary snapshots.
Headshots are every actor's number one marketing tool, and there are many reasons why you should consider investing in having quality headshots done by a professional headshot photographer. They are an actor's marketing and branding around the industry and play a vital role when it comes to getting noticed, and being called in for auditions. At the same time, they are the best way for CDs and agents to remember specific actors for future work.
You will be surprised by how easy it is for experienced CDs and agents to spot cheesy photographs and how they quickly put them off. Your aim should be to make sure that your submission isn't thrown into the bin straight away.
The standards that define the quality of acting headshots are quite strict, especially when you plan on using color headshots.As an amateur actor looking for screen glory, you might not understand the photography-based technicalities that make up a great headshot, but casting directors, who see hundreds of headshots a day, love photos that speak volumes and tell the person's story just from a glance.
The acting industry has high standards. As an aspiring actor it is essential that you know the standards that define the casting of new actors. This will help ensure that you get professional work done.
Layout and Size of Headshots
Actor's headshot photos usually are eight by ten (8x10) photographs; the industry standard in the US. It is crucial that you never use headshots smaller or larger than this.
Headshot photographers usually take photos in both horizontal/landscape position and vertical/portrait position. Both are acceptable, and neither one is superior. However, in 2020 we have begun to photograph headshots for our clients in a horizontal orientation because they are much easier to use in different layouts. For instance, we can easily crop horizontal photos vertical, and they allow for better placement throughout social websites.
Taking Good Headshots
Whenever your headshots are being taken, there are several things that you need to remember if you want them to stand out. Keep in mind that you are trying to create an image of who you are in real life and how you look; acting headshots aren't for your modeling portfolio, so try and look as natural as possible.
Here are a few key points to remember when getting acting headshots:
Avoid having piercings in the eyebrows, nose, ears, or anywhere else you usually have them
Slight make-up is advisable for both men and women (but do not overdo it - it should be just enough to conceal imperfections)
Avoid accessories (hats, jewelry, necklaces, etc.) other than prescription glasses
If you usually wear glasses, take a couple of headshots with them and a couple without
Avoid busy clothing (that is clothing with many different patterns and colors etc.) instead wear a plain-colored shirt that brings out your facial features.
What Makes a Good Headshot?
Good headshots do the following:
They convey a message about who you are and what you are bringing to the table
They represent you - the real you, how you look on your best day
They are neutral, which keeps your options open
They focus all the attention on you
They make the relevant people consider picking up the phone and calling you
Acting Headshots Cost
As a professional headshots agency, several factors determine how much we will charge for a headshot session. These factors include:
Length of the photoshoot
Whether you are using one of our makeup specialists or not
The number of images/shots you want
Number of looks you are going for
If you wish to have your headshots retouched
If you need professional acting headshots and live or work in Los Angeles, check out our gallery of actor's headshots. If you like what you see, contact us now and let us help you create a headshots portfolio that will make you stand out from the rest.