One of the most exciting things about being an agency is choosing headshots with our actors! There’s nothing quite like figuring out individual shots, as well as the collection of shots to enhance our performers profiles.
Headshots can be quite the journey from both sides. For the actors, it’s knowing the ‘looks’ you can pull off, feeling like you’re comfortable enough in your own skin on the day of the shoot, and being able to objectively look at proof-sheets and choose a selection which showcases your different facets of personality. On our side, we love helping people find their niche of looks; be it commercial, film archetypes, or something a bit more zany for the likes of people in the Entertainers/MC’s/Presenters divisions.
There are a few things about headshots which are of the utmost importance to gain more interest in your profile: the quality of the actual image (technically and stylistically), the energy, and the variety. Firstly, it’s really important to find a photographer who knows the art of actor’s headshots – they’re very different to portfolio shots or modelling shots. We recommend Andi Crown or Dean O’Gorman who both work in the industry, and have the experience and skill to capture actors truthfully, and show the ‘essence’ of you, which casting directors love to see. Andi & Dean also have the technical know-how – the right framing, the lighting, the angles which look best for you, and know the best moments to snap. We see a few images sometimes sent through by people who claim to be ‘photographers’ but are either trained in a different style of photography, or don’t quite know about all the elements which goes into taking an effective, professional looking image. It’s no secret that headshots can be hard for the wallet, but if you can afford it, it’s important to think of the cost as an investment into your career to, ideally, gain more auditions which may then lead to more work.
The next thing is to talk to your agent about your ‘market’. As actors, as much as some of us hate to admit it, there are archetypes still apparent in the film industry based on looks. Rather than rebel against these too heavily, embrace it! At the end of the day that’s what is going to get you work. For headshots, it’s important on the day to select a variety of looks which can cater to these archetypes, while still remaining honest to who you are. Acting headshots are not about glamour or model looking shots. Go easy on the makeup. Keep it natural – if you can afford it, get a makeup artist if you can. Sarah O works with Dean O’Gorman, and Lucy Hare is a great pick for Andi’s shots. In terms of different looks, we recommend taking:
- A neutral T-shirt in a block colour which isn’t too bright & that suits your skin tone
- A semi-formal shirt/blouse
- Something formal (a dress, a shirt/tie/business suit)
- Something that feels like ‘you’ (note, anything over-patterned detracts from your face!)
- Take a brush/clips/product with you to put it in different styles (plait, pulled back, over shoulders
- If you can grow a beard, we recommend growing one leading up to it, and taking some pictures with a beard and then without
Apart from that, make sure you book in advance with your photographer, eat well and get lots of sleep in the week leading up to your photography session. This will help you feel more confident in the session – the state of mind you’re in will be reflected in the shots that get taken.