How to Take Good Headshots

If you want to be an actor, singer or dancer you’re going to have to take headshots. And not just once for that matter, you’ll have to continue to retake them as your looks and strangely, personality change. What do I mean by that? Well, when you first start out you might not yet know what your individual style is as a dancer or singer, you might not understand your character type yet. So, this first time you might just end up with some nice, but not truly wonderful headshots. As you figure everything out your pictures should reflect that and ultimately will your improve your chances for success in the entertainment business.

Headshots are absolutely necessary for your work and you should remember that. Invest in them. Be willing to pay the extra dollar for the better photographer, it will make a difference.

The industry has been changing to all color headshots. Black and white are out so don’t get them. This is especially true for Caucasian people as color photos show your true skin tone and hair color where black and whites show red and brown as being the same. This is also true for all other ethnicities with light eyes. You want vibrant photos to showcase your eye color as varying colors are a big sell for specific auditions.

To prepare for a headshot shoot you should examine your face thoroughly. Be sure that you are happy with your current hairstyle, if not go change it immediately to give yourself time to adjust to a new fashion. Inspect your eyebrows. This is one area many people forget about. For women, an eyebrow shaping can completely change your look. Men, make sure they are groomed in some manner unless the wild, untamed look is your thing. Test different make-up looks and take polaroids or digital pictures on your own to see how photograph. During all of this keep in mind your character type. These are headshots, not glamour shots. A lot of performers forget this and try to look as attractive as possible. That’s great and all but when you get called in for something and suddenly don’t look like your picture when you walk in the casting director will not be happy. Not only that, but you might just burn a bridge. Casting directors often refuse to call someone back in that doesn’t look like their headshot, it’s a waste of their time.

As far as clothes, make sure they are all neat, wrinkle-free, and ready to go for the day of the shoot. Solids are always better than prints. Jewel tone colors are always better than pastels. No black. No white. Limited jewelry, limited accessories. Less is more.

Practice your smile and other looks in the mirror. It’s important for you to know what looks natural might not always be what feels natural. Yes, we want to see you and your personality in the picture. But this is still a business. Your headshot is a marketing tool and you should always be thinking about how to best market yourself. Like it or not you are selling yourself.

On the day of the shoot ask the photographer to take a variety of shots, Ã?¾ and head only. Some of the best dance headshots I’ve ever seen are Ã?¾. This is also true for actors and singer but more often seen in the dance field.

If at any time during the shoot you feel the photographer is pressuring you to speed up, do a certain pose or the absolute worst, stare into the sun for an excruciating period of time, let them know. If you don’t the pain and discomfort will come through in the photos. Trust me, I had a photographer shooting me while I was staring into the sun for an extended period time and in my proofs I’m crying! My eyes were watering and I scrunched up my face because I couldn’t stand to stare into the light any longer. And get thisâÂ?¦.he was asking me to smile and laugh at the same time! Be upfront with want you want and expect. The photographer will be grateful for your honesty.

Get plenty of the sleep the night before, drink water and enjoy the process. Headshots are work but they can be fun too!

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