If you were going into meet a casting director or agent for the first time, what would you tell them about yourself... what roles would you see yourself playing and what is your personality like?
Think about the differences between acting for stage and acting for film. Although most actor headshots are the same for either, it does help to decide what kind of look you are going for. Do you play more serious roles on film and more comical roles on stage?
You should have different looks for different submissions and you should opt to get as many looks in as possible during your headshot session. If you don't plan on using your shots for many roles, then you might consider doing a much shorter headshot session to be able to just focus on one role while saving money. Typically though, it's best to do a longer session and get lots of looks and roles in.
So how exactly do you decide which roles to play? Look up shows and see different plays and movies. Be familiar with the characters. If you know a character you would love to play, why don't you write it down? Keep a decent list to show to photographers when you are doing your headshot session. They will much more easily get what you are looking for if you give them an example.
Relate to a character you know and think about character types. What characters and people in your life do you know and would they would be a good fit for you? Can you play them? If so, you should definitely consider using them as models for looks to go for in your headshots. Think about them and the expressions they make as you take your headshots.
What's your sense of humor like? Everyone has some sense of humor. And actually some sense of every expression. Some people may show expressions more than others, but we all have it, and we all have different types of each as well. By this I mean that you may actually be a sarcastic funny person. Or you may be a silly funny person. There are many different types of "funny" you can be, just as there are many different types of angry or dark that you can be. Think about what you'd like to portray before the headshot session.
Lastly, ask what kind of person you are. To take good general headshots of yourself, you want to bring out your own personality. A headshot photographer should be able to do this, but if they cannot, it is okay because you should be able to. If you know your own personality, just try to be yourself and show it off for some of the shots. It's important to have headshots that show your true personality in addition to all the looks you are going for.
Buy a video camera, learn how to connect it to your computer, and learn how to upload videos to YouTube. It's so important.
Online auditions, Skype chats, and video reels all require a functioning video camera and a basic knowledge of how to use that camera. Not knowing these things is a trap that will put you behind a huge portion of other actors.
Not only do I recommend you learn how to tape yourself, but I also recommend you try to make friends with someone who knows how to do these things as well. It will greatly help in the long run because they will likely not charge you for services and you'll save a ton of money. For instance you know any video people who could help you with a reel?
Believe me, knowing how to use a video camera and connecting it to your computer is hugely important to your success as an actor!
It's so much easier to do things with other people, especially when you are first starting out. Are you going to the gym? Are you working on a story? Why not do it with a friend?
People are usually more productive when they do things with friends. This doesn't necessarily apply to everyone, but most people who enjoy socializing would love to do a big project with their friends because it makes it easier and less stressful.
Whenever I'm writing, I'll read over the script and bounce ideas off my sister and friends because they can be very helpful. Same thing with when I'm starting a new exercise routine. I'll ask friends if they want to join.
It's fun and will help you stay on track. You'll be much more motivated to achieve your goals.
A lot of people just don't care to do big things and accomplish big goals. They are fine where they are in life. I'm assuming you are reading this because you are someone who isn't fine with where they are in life.
I don't think you should ever be completely fine with everything in your life ever, until you are on your death bed. You should always want to achieve more and make your life better. This isn't to say you should never be happy with your life. Being happy with what you have is very important, but you should always have the desire to continuously grow throughout your life. But the key to achieving these things is not just to set big goals.
If I said, "I want to make a feature film," would that be a good motivator if I really didn't care all that much? No.
If I said, "I want to make a feature film because I want to tell a certain story," that's more of a motivator.
If I said, "I must make a feature film because I have to tell a certain story," that is the biggest motivator.
To motivate yourself, think of the "because" part of your goals and always turn "shoulds" into "musts." And think of the benefits the goal will give you by completing it. That will help motivate and excite you to do big things and achieve big goals.
It's all in the state of mind whether you can do something or not. remember that.
Headshot photography is an art, not a science. Too many aspiring headshot photographers and even some professionals view headshot photography as a science, believing that all headshots should be taken exactly the same. Unfortunately, headshot photography is nowhere near that simple. There is no "one technique fits all" solution. This especially applies to lighting for headshots.
In general, it is great to use soft light, however certain occasions definitely call for hard light. I will attempt to discuss which situations require which light, but again, remember that there is no "one solution fits all" for headshot photography. Therefore, the below ideas should be taken with a grain of salt.
Happy and feel-good photos: These should usually use soft lighting, with few shadows. The only reason to really use shadow in these shots is for sculpting the face and showing what you look like. If you don't have any shadows at all, there won't be much interest in the shot and it will look flat and boring. On the other hand, too much shadow will hide portions of the face and could be distracting.
Dark and serious photos: These need a bit more shadow to add drama to the photo. But remember, the lighting should still be fairly soft because you don't want any distracting elements, and hard lighting can sometimes be distracting. Additionally, it helps to carve out features in the face more which can lead to more pronounced blemishes and such.
The easiest way to have more control over lighting for headshots outdoors is by using a bounce board or a flash unit. But remember that when using a flash, you can't shoot as quickly. I opt for a bounce board while paying an assistant to help out on the shoot.
Students looking to get their first set of headshots done for the college admissions process should always look to get a professional set done.
Having a family photographer take headshots of a student is not the right way to start off because if they have never taken professional actor headshots before, they won't know what to look for. There is nothing worse than sending a non-professional headshot in for a college audition.
The primary reasons a good headshot can make a difference for a student are twofold:
1. The student won't look like they are just toying with the idea of becoming an actor. Colleges want students who really care about their acting career and are willing to invest in it.
2. If the student doesn't have a great smile or confident epression in the headshot, the college will definitely be able to tell, and they'll form a preconceived notion about them. For instance, if you walk into an audition room with a terrible headshot, the auditioners will look at you with a much more critical eye and assume you can't really act and you don't really care about being an actor.
To sum it up, if you don't have a professional headshot when you walk into the audition room for the college, you'll be setting yourself up for an uphill battle.
Martin Bentsen of City Headshots offers professional student headshots and can really bring out the great expressions that help to make a headshot successful. Visit the pricing page to see what I can offer you.
I look forward to working with you!
To be a professional headshot photographer in New York City and Manhattan, you have to make sure you know the client's personality as soon as you meet them. Learn their mannerisms and see what they act like and do.
There is no easy way to learn a person's personality except by speaking with them during the session. Remember that if they seem not to joke too much, a very smiley and playful shot will probably not fit them well. It won't capture who they really are.
On top of that, you have to understand that it's not only just about expression. The lighting and style of the entire photograph should serve to capture the client's personality. There is something about every headshot that either makes it truthful or doesn't. Look at the shot and try to determine: does it look natural?
The funny thing is that you can actually tell a person's personality just by looking at their face. If they seem to have a mean face, they are probably not the nicest person. Wrinkles form on people's faces after the age of twenty-five that show the expressions they most often make, and you will know right away how amiable they probably are.
But on the other hand, you have to know that sometimes people take a few minutes to break in. Something may have happened that put them in a bad mood, and if they seem like that in the photos but are usually fun people, you might have a problem. Being a good headshot photographer, you have to know how to talk to people to bring out who they truly are in every day life.
This is really important because, especially if you're a girl, different hair styles lead to different perceptions of you. Not only that, but they give you more range.
Remember what I have said in the past: most casting directors won't use their imaginations. Headshots need to show the exact look that you are going for, so you need to really play with your hair to emphasize the type of character you are going for.
If you're a guy, try your hair in a few different styles, like parted, messy, or spiked, depending on which look you are currently going for. If you're a girl, try it down, up, curled, straight, and in any other way you think of. The more looks you have, the better off you'll be because you'll have a lot of headshots to choose from.
Hair is really important, you just need to know that if you change your hair in a permanent way, you have to get new headshots. By permanent, I mean anything that you can't change at a whim.
So to sum it up, be sure to mess around with your hair and try different styles. Know which ones you will want to use at your headshot session before you come.
This isn't meant to criticize. I write these articles to teach and to help. This article is meant for all of the headshot clients who come to me thinking they know what a good headshot has and needs. They believe in intensity and in the expression of the eyes, something that has the word FAKE written all over it.
I have had the privilege of shooting so many actors over the course of my photography career, and the other privilege of graduating from the top film school in the world, NYU. Throughout my time in these positions, I have learned exactly what it is that makes an actor headshot a success or a flop.
One of the primary failures of actor headshots is that they look like they are trying too hard. This is something you won't have to worry about if you go to a great headshot photographer, because they will know to stop it right in its tracks. But when a good actor (or an actor who thinks he is good) comes to a headshot photographer who isn't very experienced hoping to save money, they wind up taking control of the session and the shots look fake and forced.
Here's one piece of advice I hope you take away from this article:
Forget intensity and that "look" in the eyes. It's all a bunch of crap put out there by photographers and actors who think they know what makes a good headshot. Confidence should definitely shine through in a headshot, but the look in the eyes must be truthful, not fake.
Casting directors can see through B.S. easier than Superman could see through clothes. As someone who looks at headshots every day, I have acquired that eye as well. It pains me to think of all the actors who are fooled into thinking they can get the perfect headshot if they just look intensely into the camera, as though they are trying to see into the soul of the viewer. It doesn't work that way.
Don't fake your headshot. Be who you truly are and enjoy your tie in front of the camera. Stop trying so hard, and forget the word "intensity." It's fake and will never get you into a real film or play. It might work in the beginning to fool student filmmakers and the like, but when it comes to the big time players, they know the ones who can act versus the ones who pretend they can.
Please email me or call 303.564.00145 if you have any questions.
This is a comprehensive review of Peter Hurley's new DVD. If you are thinking of purchasing it, I highly recommend you do!
All I can say is, wow. This DVD is not only informative, but inspiring as well. What I learned in this DVD changed the quality of my images overnight and made me a confident headshot photographer who now feels comfortable charging higher rates.
My photography literally went from decent to awesome (if I don't say so myself haha). I always knew that it was important to direct the client's expression, but what I didn't know was exactly how to do it. What's cool about this DVD is that for about the price I charge for one headshot session, I was able to learn the skills Peter Hurley has been developing over the course of 10 years. I've been shooting headshots for only a year and a half, but my work has increased substantially in quality very quickly because I've been desperate to learn the top tips and techniques that most headshot photographers try to hide as best as they can. When I saw this DVD for sale, I knew I had to get it.
I was inspired a long time ago when I initially saw the first F-Stoppers video done on Peter Hurley. It was called “Peter Hurley Exposes the Perfect Headshot.” After seeing it, I learned how important it was to direct the client's expression to bring out powerful and confident looks. I realized that casting directors don't care how beautiful the lighting is or how blurry the background is. What they care about is whether an actor looks like they can act.
It's funny, because while I was still a student at NYU, one of my professors brought in a pile of headshots and showed them to our class. She was trying to teach us what to look for in headshots before bringing in actors to audition. She showed us a series of shots one by one and asked if we thought the person would be a good actor. As she showed us more and more images, I began to realize that the people who look like they could act were actually the ones who showed the most confidence in their face. They didn't look like they were trying too hard, but they also didn't look like they were scared of the camera. They looked extremely confident, and they had this "look" like they were already famous.
"The Art Behind the Headshot" is a DVD that explains exactly how a photographer can bring these expressions out in their clients, in turn getting them as many auditions and bookings as possible. I've only had the DVD for about a week and a half, but literally overnight the quality of my photography changed. First, using some of the lighting techniques Hurley shows in the video, I learned how to make use of my already-owned lights to make the quality of my images look much better. Then, based off the secrets of how to direct the clients, I suddenly felt much more confident as a photographer. I could get them awesome images now 95% of the time, as opposed to only 10% of the time.
The clients who walk into my studio no longer think of me as a young 22-year-old who is just starting a photography business. They now look at me as someone professional and skilled, who can really get them excellent headshots. I've already raised my rates and am getting more calls, and agents are referring actors to me. All within a week and a half of watching this video.
I'm excited to watch the video again and again, because each time that I look at it I notice new tips and insights and exactly how to bring out the best looks. I honestly can't believe that Peter Hurley is giving this information away for only $300. The value of this DVD could easily be priced at over $2000 in my opinion. Even at that, I still think that it would be worth it.
Remember, $300 is only a quarter of the price that Peter Hurley charges for a headshot session. Don't even think about it. If you're a headshot photographer and you want to be able to charge a lot more for your photos, buy this DVD right now.
Hey I'm Martin, and my goal is to help you reach yours. I love writing content about career advancement, marketing strategies, productivity, and much more.