Your Headshot Needs to Look Like You

A lot goes into making your headshot happen. You’ve got to meet with your photographer, schedule a day to shoot, find the right outfit, decide what to do with your hair and makeup - for starters. But all of that amounts to very little if at the end of the day you wind up with a headshot that looks nothing like you.

How does this happen? and why?

The headshot is one of the most important tools in an actor’s arsenal. Yet it is frequently one of the most confusing. Sometimes the goal of presenting yourself to casting directors in the best possible light leads to some skewing of reality. But while you want to look your most photogenic, you also want to look pretty much like how you will look when you walk in for your audition. That means, for example, not doing your hair like it’s your wedding day or wearing an outfit that you would never wear otherwise. It means not using a headshot that no longer reflects what you look like. (Rock who are today, not ten years ago.) It also means working with a headshot photographer who understands what good lighting can do on set to accentuate your best features, rather than restoring to editing later to “fix” what probably didn’t need fixing in the first place.

On that note: Photoshop should enhance your raw pictures, not alter them. It is a mighty sword best wielded by those who know how to use it. Casting directors can tell when a picture has been overly edited. Don’t do it. 

Great are the auditions that start with: “You look like your headshot!” Not so great are the auditions that start with a casting director wondering who you are because you’re certainly not the person in the headshot they’re holding. Remember that a deceptive acting headshot is an immediate red flag. It says to industry members that they’re dealing with an actor who is uncomfortable with how they look, unaware of their type, and, to some extent, untrustworthy. Wether it’s true or not, that’s what a headshot that doesn’t look like you says.

So what does an actor’s headshot that accurately reflects the best version of you say? That you are an actor who knows the value of a first impression and doesn’t have time to waste anyone else’s time by being brought in for a role that doesn’t fit. Remember, there are a lot of variables out of your control that ultimately decide whether or not you book the job. Make sure to do your best with what you can control, like your headshot.

Need new affordable headshots? Just getting started and not sure you’re quite ready to schedule a photo shoot?  Been in the business for a while and hesitant about taking updated pictures? Whatever it is and wherever you are at in your career, email me at info@imageworksnyc.com with any questions or to schedule a consultation. I have been shooting headshots in New York City for over 15 years and regularly work with actors, models, authors, musicians, and a range of industry professionals. My studio is conveniently located in Midtown NYC near Penn Station and FIT. I shoot both indoors and outdoors, depending on the project. If you want outdoor headshots, I will work with your schedule to account for our unpredictable NYC weather. So we can book a date well in advance and adjust accordingly as the shoot gets closer. No stress, better pictures, always.

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