Actor & Model Headshots: Our Recommendations
So, you're in the entertainment industry! Awesome. Based on the type of work you do, we recommend different backdrops and looks. Remember that there are always exceptions to these recommendations, and if you have any questions, feel free to email us at email@example.com.
If you're looking for other shot recommendations (including business headshots and non-actors), click here.
Horizontal style works best. A white backdrop with bright lighting on the face is awesome, or an outdoor shot with a blurred out, colorful background is excellent too. Commercial shots need to show fun, happiness, and high energy in order to get you work as a commercial actor. If you don't have a huge, toothy grin, commercial agents will be less likely to want to work with you, so show those teeth!!!
Theatrical (or "Legit") Headshots
A theatrical or "Legit" headshot is generally a more intense, serious shot in terms of expression. You want to know what type of character you're focusing on so you can figure out the best expression and backdrop.
For the overall look, you generally want a blurred out outdoor style shot or a white background. Stay away from flat, colored backdrops or standing next to walls if possible, as they can be distracting. The more intense the character, the darker the background or more intense it should look. A white background can work, but typically an outdoor shot is best for an intense character.
If you're going for a business, lawyer, or DA type of look, a silvery blurred out backdrop, with grays, whites, and blacks, typically works well.
If you're going for an edgy intense character, you can blur out bricks or a chain link fence. Browns and grays, and maybe even some blue tones can work well for you.
Make sure to stay away from a flat black or dark gray backdrop, as they can swallow you up and they don't provide enough interest for a headshot.
If you're going for an approachable, friendly (or softer, innocent) character, something with a little greenery and color, or a flat white or off-white backdrop can work well. Remember though: there is a difference between an approachable, friendly expression and a big commercial-type smile.
A quick rule of thumb: for theater, vertical shots work best. For film and television, horizontal shots work best. But based on what you are wearing, sometimes one format of shot might work better than another.
Modeling & Dancer Headshots - INDOOR AND OUTDOOR
We strongly recommend that models and dancers do at least one headshot on a flat white backdrop because they will likely need it at some point during their career. Casting directors and agents usually request white background headshots frequently.
For models, doing some outdoor shots can really be beneficial. Similarly to a "legit" actor headshot, and outdoor modeling photo should be more intense, showing confidence and charisma. Blurred out backgrounds can really help a modeling headshot stand out.
For models and dancers both, at least one stylized portrait is good to have in your portfolio as well. Dancers can do a really cool dance move, and models can get a really cool half or full body shot. It's awesome to have something stylized like that in your portfolio.
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