How To Get The Most from Your Actor Headshot

Not getting a good response from your actor headshot?  Maybe you haven’t gotten an acting headshot done just yet and are in need of some advice.

What is going to make you stand out?

You need to get your actor headshot done by a professional headshot photographer.  Someone who specializes specifically with actors and understands the pros and cons of a pro headshot.

Tips for A Great Actor Headshot

Working with a portrait photographer or a fashion photographer or even a more generalized photographer is not advised.  That person may be a good photographer and you could potentially get a good headshot but it is extremely important that you work with an expert in the art of headshot photography.

One of the most important things in your actors arsenal.  It’s not something you should be cheap on or take lightly.

Your actor headshot can make or break whether or not you get called in for an audition.  It can make or break an agent wanting to sign and work with you.  Independent projects take

Having a mediocre headshot or one that comes off ‘not your best’ isn’t going to give you the slightest edge in booking work.  A poor actor headshot can actually have the opposite desired affect.  Nothing could be more disheartening then robbing yourself of potential castings because you have a bad headshot.

Your actor headshot is your calling card.  Most times it is the first point of entry into a casting director’s life.  You want to represent yourself to that casting director to the best of your ability.  Anything that you can do to grab the attention of a casting agent is to your advantage.

Having a great actor headshot cannot be taken for granted.

Quick tips to keep in mind:

  1. No blurry images – you want to have clear and crisp images.
  2. Head and shoulders – not any images of just your face, but scale back and let the headshot reveal your whole face and shoulders.
  3. Exposure – be sure your image is not overly or under exposed.

If you aren’t in one of the populated ‘industry’ cities like New York City, Los Angeles, London or Melbourne you must work that much harder to seek out and find a photographer who specializes in headshot photography.  Not just any old headshot photographer…a great one.

What is your type? Brand?

Once you have found your headshot photographer, you will need to have a strong understanding of your own personal brand.

You must be realistic with yourself and figure out who exactly you represent, what kind of roles you think you will book.

All too often this misunderstanding of actor type can lead to nothing but dead ends when it comes to booking work.  All because the actor didn’t take the time to consider their projected visual value.

Think about who you think you can be cast as.  What parts in film, t.v. and theatre do you think you are right for?

What is Your Personal Actor Brand?

What type are you?

  • Are the gangster type?
  • Mom nextdoor type?
  • Business type?
  • Geeky type?

Your actor headshot has to suggest this match.  There needs to be a level of consistency there.  You don’t want to show up at an audition looking like you work at a strip club when you are auditioning for a role as an athlete. Right?

Your headshot must reflect your own visual value and what people will expect when you enter the audition room for a role.

What to watch out for:

  • Stay away from phony costumes.  You can wear a football jersey if you are the athletic type but don’t go Halloween crazy if you get my drift.
  • Keep the background simple.  You don’t want to have a ton of things happening behind your photo.  This is a major distraction.
  • No enormous expressions that come off eerie.  Doesn’t matter if it’s happy or serious.  Keep it truthful, not overly expressive.
  • Don’t go overboard with jewelry.  Large necklaces or hoop earrings for example.
  • Chill out with shirts that make people go blind.  Keep it simple and casual.  The zebra look does not work well.  Shirts that shine…no, no.
  • Don’t over do it with colors.  Choose a few colors but don’t be a coloring book.  Blurry in the background is fine.

A great actor headshot gets you in the door.  Even if your professional acting resume does not have a substantial amount of credits.  By having a really professional headshot, you increase your chances of not getting turned away for an audition.

Keep it in the eyes.

The eyes are the window of the soul.  What you give through your eyes is what can get you pushed aside or brought in for an audition appointment.  You don’t need to go over the top or squint or open your eyes wide. Like in acting, you actor headshot is a reflection of your inner truth.  When you express your inner truth fully, it will reveal itself through your eyes.  You want to work and collaborate with your photographer on capturing such truth.

Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer questions.  You want to your photo session to be a great experience and a healthy collaboration is key.


You need to recognize the fact that getting an amazing headshot is an investment into your business.  It’s one of the essential steps of actor marketing.  It cannot be stated enough.

By keeping that mindset, you will already be taking the right steps toward an acting career.

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