Headshots for realty, business and corporate needs are important for branding and social media engagement, but none are more important than headshots for the professional actor seeking a career in film and television. “The headshot- It’s the single most important marketing tool for an actor, and it’s amazing how many people do it wrong”, Matt Newton.
While the advancement of technology has changed a lot in the last few years, the headshot continues to be the way for casting. Its far easier to shuffle 8X10 prints from one side to another, than to be searching online for talent. Once the casting agent shortlists the lucky few, then they will look at the reel’s, websites and other mediums showcasing actor’s ability, talent and experience.
One of my personal pet peeves with agents is that they are solely concerned about type casting instead of invigorating the individual talents personality and energy. “I want a nice smile for her headshot. Make sure she look 20 to 25 yrs old”. That was an agents statement to me, but I would prefer the agents to ask me to bring out the eyes the energy and soul.
Recently, I photographed an actor who is cast as a villain. His headshot looked the part… His agent complained that I should have captured a nice smile, so I photographed again like most photographers to capture a nice smile and safe lighting. His agent was happy with the second shoot, but I asked my client to use the previous headshot for his next audition, which landed him a principal role in a new production. “Carlos, I am not sure what happened with your headshot, its like magic – it makes a statement everywhere I go”.
Some headshot photographers are following a formulaic approach to headshots by asking their clients to produce a slight squint ( squinch, nicknamed by a popular photographer in New York ) and then producing an over polished, high contrast finish to the images, making all headshots look the same in an almost robotic approach producing lifeless images of people.
However, that is much better than having headshots from a non dedicated photographer, Walmart or Selfies. These will say sloppy and non committed.
Our low dollar, history, professionalism and safe haven from paparazzi is making the Summer of 2015 one of the most lucrative years for the movie industry in Canada. In Vancouver we are filming Arrow, Backstrom, Bates Motel, Continuum, Deadpool, Fear of the Walking Dead, The Flash, Once Upon a Time, The BFG, The 100 and Supernatural- a fan favorite on its 11th season. There are opportunities to get roles in all of these prime time drama’s.
Go get a headshot for casting that will land a career, not a role or a part.