Happy 2015! Now that we’ve started a new year, I wanted to take a moment and share my favorite 5 (ok…6) headshots of 2014 with all you lovely people and tell you a bit about my process.
Creating a headshot for an actor is an incredibly rewarding task for me. As a portrait photographer, I am fixated on telling an entire story in one lone image. I believe an actor’s headshot must do exactly this. I aim to tell your personal story—to set you apart from the other actors that look very similar to you. During a headshot consultation, I ask questions to learn more about your specific castability, the types of roles you enjoy playing most, how you want to be viewed by a casting director or potential new agent, the features you love most about yourself and what you like to do for fun. Questions like these allow me to get to the essence of who you are not only as an actor, but also as an individual. I use my camera to capture glimpses of your authentic personality and in turn create a headshot that is going to demand attention from a casting director, producer, or agent. Your headshot is your calling card—what do you want it to say?
Actors should have at least two headshots—a theatrical headshot and a commercial headshot. In this way you can say more than one thing and specifically meet the casting needs of a project. The beauty of a headshot session is having the time to create several different looks—even my basic package offers enough time for two different styles.
I’ll say one last thing before I share my favorite actor’s headshots of 2014…your headshot needs to look like you. The last thing you want is to walk into an audition room where a casting director is unable to easily recognize you from your headshot. For this reason, I highly recommend updating your headshot regularly. I also suggest keeping your makeup simple, wearing what you would normally wear for an audition to your headshot session, and not over accessorizing. On my end, I use a soft hand when photoshopping images—basically I just edit blemishes, even out skin tones and barely minimize lines, because the purpose of an actor’s headshot is to be seen as you are.
#5. Creating a headshot for a teen can be a bit tricky sometimes. Some teens are uncomfortable with their image and almost want to keep others from seeing who they truly are. This was not the case here. This teen’s headshot exudes confidence, joy, and organic inquisitiveness. It reflects who she is. During our session we discussed her love of theatre, her family, and her goals for the future.
#4. I love this commercial headshot. Every time I look at it I feel good. That is my #1 prerequisite for creating a commercial headshot. It must be infused with joy! The smile is natural, the background is inviting but not overwhelming, and my thought is, “I want to buy what she is selling!”
#3. I want to know what this person is thinking. There is a gentle mischievousness in her expression, her eyes are inviting, and the light calming tones nicely contrast her dark, rich hair.
#2. Hello happiness! All I can say is, this is what authentic joy looks like. Can you look at this child actor’s headshot without smiling? I can’t.
#1. I took this actor’s headshot at the very start of 2014! I’m still drawn to it whenever it comes up in my file catalogue. It is stunningly simple. The light was just right and her eyes pull me in every time. What I love most about this headshot is that we get a real sense of her natural beauty. This is a wonderful example of an actor’s headshot accurately reflecting who she truly is.
Okay…I had to sneak this one in. Technically this isn’t a headshot you would hand-in at a callback, but I just love it—so I’m throwing it in! This actor’s headshot says it all without saying a word. I know the costume adds a level of intrigue, but I want to know this guy’s story.