The most important thing for actor headshots is bringing out the right emotions in the shots. Emotions and looks constitute 75% of the reason that an actor might get called in. Obviously, a casting director is looking to make sure that the actor looks exactly like what they want in the shot. However, every once in a while, a casting director might bring in someone who they didn't want, or who looked different than what they were expecting if they have the right look and the right emotion coming out of their headshot.
I usually recommend that people do longer sessions with me because it gives them more time to bring out specific looks in their headshots. I'm going to use this article to go into a little bit of detail on the specific emotions that one can portray in a headshot. But the most important thing is that your headshot looks realistic and not forced.
In this article, I will touch on the first five main emotions for headshots and why each one is important. In later articles, I plan to write in detail about each specific emotion. Hopefully these articles will help you understand how important emotions are, and what characters you might look into playing.
1. Happiness: Happiness is probably the most important thing to have an headshots. Everyone who takes headshots needs to have at least a few shots with a smile on their face. You need to look as though you are having a good time and that you are relaxed and joyful. Happiness shots are typically used for lighter roles and commercials. If you don't have a headshot that conveys the feeling of happiness, you will severely be limiting the number of roles that you can get.
2. Confidence: Confidence is the second most important thing to have in headshots. In every session, I make sure to bring out the feeling of confidence. Confidence should be showing in all of your shots because it really makes it look as though you can act. However, I tend to focus on confidence as its own separate emotion as well towards the beginning of the session. The reason is because it helps make it easier to bring it out later in the other looks.
3. Approachability: Approachability is the third most important book to have in a headshot. It is not so much happy as it is relaxed and likable. You want to look approachable because you want to have shots that show you playing a character that the audience can like. If all your shots look serious and dark, you'll be limiting the number of roles that you can play. Approachability is also extremely important for business style headshots, as his confidence.
4. Mischief: Having a mischievous look in a headshot is very interesting. It brings interest to the character and makes it look like your multi-layered. The reason you want to have this look is so you can play a smaller character, someone who has something up their sleeve. I usually try to get this look within the 45-minute session as long as we have covered the previous three already.
5. Intelligence: Headshots that show intelligence can greatly increase the chance of getting called in for roles of witty characters. Many headshot photographers only focus on the first four looks and they end up missing the less important ones such as this. Intelligence is the fifth most important emotion you need in your headshots because it really expands your range. The amount of intelligence in the shot can be increased by the type of clothing that you're wearing as well, and you might also want to use eyeglasses.
I'm not trying to be a motivational speaker, but I want to write something very simple to you.
Every once in a while, we start to feel useless, as though we aren't being successful in our hopes and dreams. What I suggest you do is the following:
To start off with, turn on your favorite song and get up out of your computer chair or get up off of whatever you were sitting on and start moving. To be able to change your state, you have to start by putting your body into motion. Do whatever you can think of when you're on your own, or even if you're with somebody else, to just get yourself up and moving. This is one of the most important things that you can do to put yourself into a better state. The reason that you want to put yourself into such a good state is so that you can go back to accomplishing your goals and desires.
Look at the things that you're supposed to accomplish and think about them with confidence. Say out loud what they're going to do for you if you achieve them. Think about the exact things that are going to happen to you if you actually accomplish the goals that you are setting out to do. Look at them and get excited about them, and think about how great you'll be after you've accomplished those goals. Use your voice to yell out affirmative actions and statements, explaining why you're going to be in such a good position after you've accomplished the goal. You have to feel passionate.
The first thing you must do in order to get back on track is to raise your standards. How do you do this? As Anthony Robbins says, "You must make your shoulds into musts." Look at the goal you have to accomplish and think about why you absolutely must accomplish it. You have to come up with a reason that's going to force you into doing it.
Then you must vividly imagine yourself accomplishing that goal. Think about exactly what it'll look like, and what you'll feel like as soon as you've accomplished the goal. Close your eyes and imagine it very clearly because imagining it will make it seem real. As you begin to do this in your mind, you will affirm your belief in the possibility of achieving the goal.
Typically in life, just as things start to go right, suddenly everything goes wrong at once. When things were just starting to go perfectly, shit hits the fan. These are the times that test you, and you must look at them as though they are tests and as though they are the only thing that separates you from reaching your dreams.
Remember: when things seem impossible, that is the time to intensify your emotions, intensify your drive, and prove to the world that you can do it. This is what makes you you and everyone else them.
And the final key, according to Robbins, is that when you feel all the way down and out and you feel that there is absolutely nothing else that you can do, and that everything is going wrong, you still must give to others. When you feel like there's nothing left to give, you have to give even more. That's what separates the true winner from everyone else. When you feel like you're running out of money and you have nothing left, don't take advantage of others. Keep giving. As Robbins says, “The only way to become wealthy is to add more value to other's lives than anyone else's adding.” This is how to do it, and those that follow these steps are guaranteed success.
Never let those days where feel like you are failing in your passion and dreams stop your drive. Constantly go back and look at what your goals are and think about how they are going to make you feel. Think of all that you will achieve by reaching them. And then just go for it.
If you want to accomplish something, get excited about it. After that, everything else will fall into place.
Lawyers: you need a headshot that looks like you really know what you are doing. If your headshot shows any lack of confidence, your clients won't want to work with you. Remember, your headshot is the first thing that a client will see when they visit your website. If you works for yourself, you don't want your clients to think that you might not know what you're doing.
You must understand the importance of first impressions. Even if you are the greatest and most successful lawyer in the world, if someone looks at a picture of you and they don't see confidence in the shot, they will be wary of working with you. Doing a headshot session is nothing small.
The emotion and the look that you convey through your headshot is the most important thing. It doesn't matter how pretty you are or how nice your shot looks. What matters more than the clothing you wear is the confidence that comes through in your expression. Remember, a client isn't going to hire you because you look nice. They are going to hire you because they think that you know what to do to win the case for them. And if the headshot is the first thing that the client sees before they've met you in person, it will be a huge determining factor in how likely they are to contact you.
Because of this, whenever I shoot attorneys, I am very intent on making sure that the right expression comes out during the headshot session.
Hopefully this information has been helpful to you. If you are looking to have up a headshot session, feel free to contact me!
This is a very important thing to think about before setting up a headshot session because you need to make sure you are going to have enough time to really get what you want.
The easiest way to figure out how long the session should be is by asking yourself a few questions:
1. How many looks are you trying to achieve? To get enough shots for each look, I recommend at least thirty minutes of shooting time for each look. A look is basically one clothing change. If you plan on doing more than one look and you are going to be shooting outdoors, it's usually best to shoot for at least one hour. It is possible however to get more than one look when shooting in the studio because you can easily change and shoot for about fifteen minutes with each look.
2. Are you going to need makeup? Makeup takes about fifteen to twenty minutes for headshots, and if you are going for a glamour look, you will more likely need about forty to fifty minutes. Take this into consideration when choosing a session because the makeup time can definitely eat up time in a shoot. I usually recommend shooting for about an hour at least if you plan on using a makeup artist and want more than one clothing change.
3. Have you ever done a headshot session before? If you haven't done a headshot session before, just getting used to having your photos taken could take between fifteen and thirty minutes, so I usually recommend shooting for at least an hour if you've never had headshots taken before.
Here is a simple chart that might help you in deciding what session to choose based on your needs.
As you can see, the shorter headshots sessions such as the Instant Headshots and Basic Headshots packages are best suited for either business people or actors on a budget who have a lot of experience taking headshots. Because Instant Headshots is such a short session, there's not much time to really delve into getting all of the different looks and bringing out the best characters.
For a new client, it's very difficult to get into the mood and start getting great headshots within 30 minutes to 1 hour of the session starting. For this reason, most headshot photographers shoot sessions that are 4 hours long.
Typically, the shorter sessions are well suited to business people because they don't want to spend a lot of time. Since business headshots are so basic, it is very easy to get the looks that they need in a short amount of time.
The Essential Headshots and Professional Headshots packages, though more expensive, are very well suited to new actors and actors who haven't had many headshots sessions in the past.
I highly recommend actors do the Essential Headshots package with me if they really want their money's worth and want to get a great set of images.
Hopefully this article has been helpful, and if you do have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to ask!
A question that I get fairly often from actors who come to me for headshots is, "What clothing should I bring?" The answer to this question depends on exactly what characters you plan to play. But to help give you some ideas, and to make the selection process easier, I have decided to write this article.
The primary emotions that should be played in headshots are the following:
These are the 10 most important looks to go after for headshots in order of importance. You should make your clothing selections dependent upon which emotions you'd like to convey. For instance, if you want to go for a happy look, you might want to wear brightly colored clothing. On the other hand, if you plan to go for something darker such as menace or mischief, you might want to wear darker colors. If you plan to go for a confident look, you may want to wear something more professional, such as a suit or a dress.
I have a detailed article explaining what emotions are conveyed from specific colors. I think you may find it very helpful to read before deciding on wardrobe for your session.
Once you actually arrive at the headshot session, it would be a good idea to lay out all of your clothing for the photographer. Most photographers will allow you to wear whatever you like so long as it doesn't break any of their rules. Some photographers, however, like to be very specific about what they choose for each shot. This can be helpful but at the same time restraining. I usually ask my clients to have a basic idea of what to wear for the headshot session before it starts.
Just know the specific characters that you plan to go for and which emotions from the list above you might want to achieve. After that, it should be easy to choose specific outfits for each look.
Hopefully all this information helps, and if you do have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!
Meeting new people is crucial to success in any goal that you may have. Think about the different things you are trying to achieve. Pull out your list of goals if you have to. Hopefully you've written your goals down.
Now think for each goal who would be a helpful person to meet to help you to achieve that goal. For instance, is your goal to lose weight? What if you met a weight trainer at a gym?
Be sure to ask at every opportunity what people do for a living, and make note when you run into someone who would be helpful to you. Be sure to get their contact information, and ask if they would be willing to give you any advice on the subject.
Most people are happy to share advice for free and help others out (unless they are a consultant!). If you run into these people, they will be very helpful to achieving your goals.
Your job is just to make sure you are constantly meeting new people and asking what they do, and they following up.
In a word, yes. Good, cheap headshots are hard to come by, but if you can find them, you will get a great deal. Where can you find them?
Well, for one, I offer great, discount headshots. Many actors have come to me exclaming that the headshots I've given them for less than $250 have been worth the same as a $700 headshot, and that makes me happy to hear. Some people tell me I ought to raise my prices, but I won't do that to my clients because why should actors have to spend tons more money for a picture of themselves? Plus, making contacts with lots of actors is more important to me than taking away your money. I'd rather get fifty $100 headshot clients than five $1000 headshot clients, it just makes more sense, especially given the fact that I am a filmmaker.
Besides me, look on craigslist. There are tons of good cheap headshot photographers there. Just make sure to ask them for samples before meeting with them, and ask to call them on the phone so you can see what kind of person they are. Remember that a lot of these headshot photographers are still trying to build their portfolio and are willing to shoot for only $50.
You need to play a role if you want a great theatrical headshot. Think of different characters that you play well, or think of different characters in films or plays that you know of.
These types of characters should be what drives your decision to behave a certain way or give off a certain mood in the headshot. Remember to tell your headshot photographer what characters you are going for, because he or she should be able to help you get there.
But what really makes a great headshot is not just the character, but the lighting and background that supports it. You want a photographer who can give you an excellent look in a photo that can really make yours stand out among all the other headshots.
How do you define a professional email address? Easy. One that has your name and/or website domain.
I like to think that there is more to it than just that. Your email should also be really easy to remember and spell if possible. If it's not then people will just give up if they spell it wrong and they won't end up contacting you.
So two main things: must have at least a potion of your name to be recognizeable and must be easy to spell and short enough to remember.
For instance: if I had an email that was firstname.lastname@example.org, I might consider changing it to something more professional. How about Martin.Bentsen@gmail.com? That could work, but what if people don't know how to spell my last name? I might want it shorter and easier. What about Martin.email@example.com? That might be taken. What about Martin.firstname.lastname@example.org? That could be too long for memorization, and might not be recognizable.
What about m.Bentsen@gmail.com? That could work. Since my name is hard to remember but Martin.b is already taken, I will use this. At least it's recognizable, and if I have a card it will be easier for people to spell my last name correctly.
Use a professional email address, whoever you are!
The question I often get from aspiring headshot photographers is, “How can I set up a professional looking indoor photography studio with no space?”
I always laugh whenever someone asks me this question because it is just as though they had asked me, “How can I make butter without any heavy cream?” But the interesting thing is that I just figured out how to do it. As I'm sure many of you know, I recently moved into a new location uptown in Manhattan. The new location was slightly smaller than the old spot (the economy, sigh!) and therefore, I had to figure out how to successfully put together my studio in a much smaller space. Fortunately, I already owned all the equipment necessary to put together a studio. The problem became, how could I fit it in a tiny little room?
The answer suddenly hit me: it's all in the camera lens.
Another article I wrote a while back referenced how to build a studio inside of an apartment. It talked about the lenses that you can use on your camera, and which ones are most effective for headshot studio photography.
The key to building a studio with no space is having a lens with an extremely shallow depth of field that is fairly sharp, but also decently telephoto because you want to make sure the background is not a wide area. Standing further away from the subject compresses the objects in the background and cuts out things from the sides of the photo.
Of course, you have to have enough room to shoot with a telephoto lens, which is why I actually shoot through a door into the studio. I stand in an adjacent room so I have some extra shooting space to use a telephoto lens. Then I am able to minimize distracting things on the side, while also getting excellent blur because of the wide aperture. This helps with the sometimes less-than perfect background I use, removing any of the creases and folds in it.
The best lens I recommend as of now is the 85mm f/1.8, but if I had the money, I'd definitely buy the 85mm f/1.4. Preferable over that even, would be Nikon's 200mm f/2.0, with a full frame camera. Unfortunately that lens costs about $5,000 and you definitely need to stand a ways back... which kind of defeats the purpose of having a tiny studio!
What are corporate or business style headshots? How are they taken? What are they used for, and how can you prepare for them?
Corporate, or "business" headshots are vertical portraits of someone used for business promotion. They are typically lit in a three-point fashion and the subject wears a suit or professional outfit. They are taken in a studio most often with either a flat white or black background.
The purpose of having a professional business portrait done is so that you have something great to use on a site such as LinkedIn or on the company website.
What makes a great business headshot?
Typically, a great business headshot has a combination of confidence and approachability. The point of it is to sell yourself as someone who knows what he or she is doing, while at the same time not coming off as too cocky or unapproachable.
The best way to prepare for it is to go into the session not trying to achieve a certain look. Remember that the photographer should always coach the best looks out of you. If as soon as the camera goes up to the photographers eye you put on a smile and pretend to look professional, the shot won't look good. It's all about spontaneity and not thinking about or trying to act for the camera.
Whenever you look different. That is to say... Whenever you change permanently from the way you headshot looked in the past. Basically the easiest way to put it is this:
If you can't change your look before going to an audition to make yourself look the same as you do in your headshot, then you need a new one.
For children, this might be every six months. For teenagers it might be every year. And for adults it might be every two or three years. I definitely don't recommend getting headshots less frequently than every three years though because of changing industry trends. Imagine if you still had a black and white headshot? Uh oh! That's a big no no.
There are tons of little things that are constantly changing, and keeping your headshots updated with the current trends will brand you as professional. Don't expect to get an acting role with an outdated headshot.
This is a great question. I have read so many headshot photographers' blogs and I have to tell you: most of them lie. They don't charge such high rates because they have to or because they are that good. The reason is simple: demand.
Remember: no headshot photographer, no matter how good, can charge more than a couple hundred dollars for a session when they are first starting out because they don't have a large enough client base. They slowly grow their base by providing consistent quality and good word of mouth, and then they raise their rates to match the demand.
I'll be honest with you because you have to understand: no photographer is going to charge less if they could get more, believe me. Skill has nothing to do with rates, time does. The photographers who charge $750 for a session have been shooting for years!
Now, granted, during those years they have developed a skill. But at the same time, many of them might not have a gift and might not be providing as good of quality as people who charge less but have only been shooting for one year.
When you are looking to hire a photographer, most people hire based on price. They assume that cheap means bad quality and expensive means good quality. That isn't always the case. you should look at how long the photographer has been in business:
If a photographer has been in business a long time and has high rates, that's a good sign. If they've been in business a long time and have low rates, that's a bad sign.
If they've been in business a short time, just look at the quality of work and don't worry too much about the rates being high or low. Just go off of what you can afford.
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.