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.