Headshots & photographers

Your headshot is gold. This photograph is your utmost important marketing tool and will be the first and possibly last thing a casting director looks at.. So, who do you go to? Colour or black and white? Indoor studio or outdoor setting? These are all questions that only you can answer, but we hope to help you find that answer. First of all, there are some groups who do not need professional headshots at all.

Babies and infants grow so fast that by the time a picture is taken and developed, they look different. Well, not that fast, but you know what I mean.

If you’re looking to get into Background or Extra work exclusively, then you generally won’t need them done either.

Where to start?

Most photographers have a website with samples of their work, their rates and what you can expect to receive for your money. Take your time and compare notes. A list of photographers for headshots is provided here on our website’s resource listing.

You may want to hire a makeup artist for your headshot. Most photographers will have a makeup artist or two they can recommend to you. Considering that every audition you go to you’ll be doing your own hair, it’s a good idea to keep things to a style(s) that you would be able to replicate later.

If you have an agent, ask them! They see tonnes of headshots come across their desk and will know what look is working. They’ll know what features may have been understated in your last shots and what needs to be highlighted in your new shots. They may even offer to have a look at your final selection before choosing the ones to go to print.

Before the Shoot

Before you head out to get your picture taken, know what it is about yourself that you want to showcase. The photographers will mind the lighting, positioning and framing but it’s up to you to create the moment. Bring it!

What should I expect from the photo shoot?

When it comes to your photo shoot, bear in mind that a casting director, agent or production company will want to see a photo of the ‘real’ you. Keep your appearance as natural as possible so that they can imagine you in many different roles, rather than type casting yourself from the outset and limiting your opportunities.

Your eyes are your most important feature, so make sure they are visible; face the camera straight on and try not to smile too much because it makes them harder to see. Wear something simple and avoid jewellery, hats, scarves, glasses or props, since these will all add character. Do not wear clothes that detract from your face such as polo necks, big collars, busy patterns or logo’s. Always keep your hands out of the shot.

Also consider the background; some photographers like to do outdoor shots. A contrast between background and hair colour works well, whereas dark backgrounds work less well with dark hair, and the same goes for light hair on light backgrounds.

Which headshot should I choose?

Make sure you choose a photo that looks like you – not how you would like to look. If you are unsure, ask friends or your agent for an honest opinion. Remember, you will be asked to attend meetings and auditions on the basis of your photograph, so if you turn up looking completely different you will be wasting everybody’s time.