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5 Reasons It May Be Time for New Actor Headshots

Jeremy Bustin
24 May 2023
5 min read
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When Should I Update my Actor Headshots?

There are certain scenarios where it feels necessary to invest in a new series of acting headshots. It could be that your headshots have never really worked for you. If you are not getting as many auditions or opportunities as you’d hoped, then it may be time to invest in better headshots that will work for you. Maybe you are making a switch from theatre to film and TV and you need higher quality, industry standard headshots. Perhaps you’ve hit a small dry patch in your career. It could be that your agent or manager asked for new ones. Read on to learn about the top reasons it may be time for new acting headshots.

1: Your Acting Headshots Have Never Worked for You.

As an actor, I’ve been in your shoes. Early on in my pursuit of TV and film acting, I went to a number of photographers who had a few actor headshots in their portfolio even though they didn’t specialize in acting headshots. I was trying to save money, but in doing so I didn’t realize I was consequently shooting myself in the foot before even getting started. The headshot quality was passable for some local gigs and for theatre but did not help me in my pursuit of real opportunities. I talked to my agent. Maybe she just wasn’t submitting me for opportunities. That wasn’t the case, and she advised me to consider getting new acting headshots. Not only was the quality subpar for national work, but my eyes weren’t even engaging—another symptom of going to a photographer who didn’t know how to coach TV and film actors.

I changed my perception on choosing photographers and went with a photographer who had a reputation as an acting headshot photographer and had a very strong portfolio of actor headshots for television and film. The cost was significantly higher, but the payoff was worth the investment. Suddenly, I was getting multiple auditions for really big SAG-contracted (Screen Actors Guild) gigs—One Tree Hill, The Hunger Games, Revolution, Homeland and national commercials, to name a few. Since then, I’ve gotten even more auditions and generally get several big auditions per year.

Don’t be like me. Get it right the first time. Acting headshots are an investment in your career and the very first impression you make on industry professionals. Casting directors can spot the difference between someone who is serious about acting and someone who is just doing it for fun—usually by the quality of their headshots.

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2: It's Been a While Since You Last Updated Your Actor Headshots

This is the most common reason people get new headshots. The last thing you want to do in your acting pursuits is misrepresent who you are. One thing that frustrates casting directors more than anything else, even more than a bad audition, is seeing an actor who looks totally different from the headshot that was submitted. Don’t be that person who submits headshots that don’t resemble the actor auditioning. Unless you are well known by the casting director, he, she or they likely chose you because of your headshot. The last thing you want to do is get on a casting director’s bad side, especially in a smaller market like ours.

Our appearance and personalities really do keep evolving and growing every few years. So, most adult actors look to get new acting headshots at least every two or three years. Even if you feel like maybe you look and come across exactly the same as you did two years ago, you may want casting directors, agents and producers seeing a new picture of you. You don’t ever want to feel stale or like you’re old news. It’s good practice to regularly look at yourself and ask if your headshots resemble the person in the mirror. If not, it’s time to get some new acting headshots.

Kids headshots need to be updated more frequently than adults.

It’s important to note that children obviously grow and change quickly and often. So, keeping a set of current acting headshots is very important for child and teen actors. Kids can literally change in a two or three-month span. I mean, look at how fast the kids from “Stranger Things” have grown up. So, if your child has gone through a growth spurt, is suddenly auditioning for older roles, or they have come into their own personality in a way that warrants a new look, you should not be afraid to get them new headshots.

Check out my previous blog “What makes great headshots for children?” to learn more about getting great headshots for kids and teens.

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3: You've Made Changes to your Physical Appearance

This is the one most often overlooked by actors. Have you changed your appearance enough to warrant new acting headshots? Perhaps you’ve changed your hairstyle or hair color, or you’ve grown a beard or other facial hair. Maybe you hit the gym this year or went on a diet and lost significant weight. Or maybe, like me, you gained some weight during this last year. It could even be that you have changed the way you do your makeup for auditions.

We usually know when we look at our headshot if it feels like it’s suddenly misrepresenting who we currently are or what we want to achieve. We’re bound to change as time goes by, so it’s really about being honest with ourselves about who we feel we are at the present moment.

4: You are Pursuing Different Character Types

It’s always paramount to have at least one commercial headshot and one theatrical headshot that showcases your personality. These can be submitted for a range of roles. But it’s also a good idea to have a few headshots in your portfolio that express some specific types of roles you want to pursue. Maybe you’ve been taking some acting classes and have found a new character archetype that you are really good at or that your coaches recommend for you. Maybe your current shots better represent the good-natured guy or woman and you want to challenge yourself to pursue some darker roles.

It could just be a product of getting older. You have aged slightly and suddenly find the roles you’re auditioning for are a little different. College student or ingenue to teacher or young mom? Playground bully to high school jock? Boy next door to rookie detective.

5: Your Talent Manager or Talent Agent Asked you for new Actor Headshots

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While I listed this one last, it is arguably the most important. You don’t want to do anything to disturb your relationship with your agent, especially not something as simple as getting new headshots.

While I listed this one last, it is arguably the most important. You don’t want to do anything to disturb your relationship with your agent, especially not something as simple as getting new headshots.Most talent agents or managers really know themselves and their market and how they are best able to get their actors more opportunities. As actors, we put a lot of trust in our reps to go out there and sell us to casting agents, producers and directors. If the people representing you feel that your headshot isn’t working for you, or in the way they feel will help them do their job properly, it’s time to get some new headshots. Never shy away from asking your reps what they think of your headshots and how they think they can be improved. Acting is a team sport and we should never be afraid of anyone’s opinion, especially our agent’s.

Atlanta Actor Headshots

It's important to remember that not all headshot photographers are familiar with the latest trends in the TV/film industry. Do your research and make sure you are booking headshots with a photographer who shoots actor headshots.

If you are looking for a great actor headshots photographer in Atlanta, check out Jeremy Bustin’s portfolio of actor headshots and book him today! He offers a wide range of packages for just about any need and budget.