“I love your headshots — everyone’s eyes are amazing.”
I received this message from an actress in New York today. She was looking for actor headshots and wanted to know if I travel to NYC. As I just moved here from the DC area, my focus right now is helping actors here in Atlanta succeed with great actor headshots.
Finding a photographer who specializes in actor headshots is critical if you decide you want to become an actor. All kinds of professions need headshots. Politicians, executives, business owners and even photographers themselves sometimes need headshots. But those types of headshots are vastly different from actor headshots. And there’s so much more to great actor headshots than just the quality of the photo, the wardrobe and the pose.
Smiles and poses mean nothing if they’re not backed up with a true understanding of the industry trends and what casting directors are actually looking for in your particular market.
A great actor headshot photographer understands the entertainment industry’s trends. They inherently know, through time and experience, what casting directors and talent agents are seeking in your market. They understand how to engage actors in a very different way than what other photographers are used to doing with the people in front of their lens.
Smiles and poses mean nothing if they’re not backed up with a true understanding of the industry trends and what casting directors are actually looking for in your particular Market.
Professional headshots for an executive are meant to look warm, relaxed, classy and professional and exude approachability, sincerity and confidence. An actor headshot is meant to give you a full sense of the strongest parts of someone and showcase different shades of personality that can be applied to different roles. Whether that’s their humor, their depth, their charm or their beauty; an actor’s headshot is meant to tell a story. The number one job of an actor’s headshot is to tell a story—and it’s mostly in the eyes.
Your eyes can’t tell a story if we can’t see your eyes.
Often, an actor should feel as though they are “acting” when they take their headshots. You should be giving a performance, in a way, because ultimately you are using these photos to give someone a quick glimpse of who you are as a performer. Being an actor myself, coupled with my years of experience photographing actors, I know how to bring out those attributes in people.
It’s not just about what you’re wearing, how big you’re smiling, what direction your chin is facing or your stance. It’s about what’s behind the eyes and if a viewer feels that the look you’re giving them is fully and deeply engaging. That kind of photo shoot is a far cry from the types of photos other professionals use in their respective fields.
They say an actor is only as good as their director. So, it might be fair to say that an actor’s opportunities are only as good as their actor headshot photographer. The actors I have photographed have booked principal roles, and those jobs began with someone, at some time, seeing their headshot.
I have insight into the look and feel that your headshot needs to have in order for you to make the most of your future opportunities. You don’t want a casting director or talent agent to look at your photo and have “notes” on what needs to look and feel better or different. You need them to see you, and for your personality to resonate and instantly stand out.
Shooting your headshots is essentially a performance. And a great headshot photographer needs to be your scene partner. That’s part of why I enjoy being an actor headshot photographer and an actor. I look forward to the creative time that acting professionals and their actor headshot photographers share together.
So next time you are looking for new actor headshots, study photographers carefully and see if they truly know the industry. The last thing you want to do is spend your hard-earned money on headshots that won’t work for you.