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.
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.