Headshots for Acting

July 26, 2013

Headshots for acting are crucial and essential for anyone desiring a career in the show business. What makes a successful headshot for acting, you may ask?

Art of Headshots, Vancouver

Headshots for Acting by Art of Headshots, Vancouver

The answer to a successful acting headshot is simple, its a headshot portrait that lands you contracts. But the difficult question is, how to capture a successful headshot for actiing?

I recommend headshots for acting is to be authentic. Be yourself, its your greatest asset. Sometimes actors want to portray slapstic during the shoot, and I encourage them, so they can get that need out of the way. At some point, we encourage real conversation, their life, experience, winnings and the magic begins. As soon as the actors feel comfortable and are real, the session changes and at that point we begin to capture, headshots.

Some actors are not comfortable being real, just like some actors don’t believe in method acting and resort to character techniques and can be quite successful with it. Which is fine as the exception, but for most people wanting a meaningful headshot for acting, I recommend the authentic approach.

The next question is to photograph outdoor or studio? I recommend both, negotiate to photograph both during your session. Its much more difficult to get a great outdoor headshot if you are a professional photographer because we have our gear set up for accurate results, while shooting outside we need to worry about the lighting, the weather and disruptions. In my location I am quite lucky to be in Olympic Village of Vancouver, BC. Its beautiful and diverse. My outdoor shoots can have street, water, parks, lakes, mountains all with in a five minutes walking radius.

Dressing up for an actors portrait session is far less important than most people believe. Sometimes I read advertising from newcomer photographers “Up to three looks per session”. Who cares about the changes of clothing? I want to see the energy inside the person, the casting agent wants to see the person fit the role immediately upon gazing the headshot. “We have to look at thousands of people per role” Stuart Aikins. Dress casual and according to your age, interest and career. Sean Connery landed the James Bond role because they wanted him, his energy, his eyes. He was forced to get educated about dressing and hired a tailor for his James Bond suits.

Stuart AikinsI have included the headsot of Stuart, since he is one of the most reputable casting agents around, certainly his headshot is a guideline of what we may seek for an acting headshot.

As you can see his headshot is in B&W, should you chose B&W? Some photographers offer you two version of the same headshot, in color and in black and white. That will make the decision quite easy, my opinion is that its always safer to go with b&w.

Headshots for Acting is crucial business for your success, chose the right photographer, be authentic, learn from the best, study, audition and get an agent that support you.