When actor’s book their first actor headshot session with me, they often ask how to prepare for the shoot. I therefore thought it might be useful to write a short blog entry discussing the key things to be aware of when diving in to your latest actor headshot photography session, and how these can affect the success of your shoot.
- Your Experience So Far
When you arrive to one of my actor headshot photoshoots, I like to get to know a bit more about you: have you had headshots done before? Do you have any previous experience in front of a stills camera? How long have you been acting for? Has it been primarily stage or screen work? What sort of characters have you portrayed in the past?
Knowing all of this enables me to plan how best to tailor your session: whether it’s how much direction or physicality coaching you might need; the pace of the shoot; which backgrounds and lighting set up I think might best suit your style; as well as the variety of looks we might be able to achieve. These last two points are also particularly important when thinking about the next consideration….
- What Direction Would You Like Your Career to Take?
It’s all well and good establishing your background, but the more important thing to consider is what you want to achieve going forward. What are the goals of your new actor headshots? Is it to update your current headshots now that you have a new fro or have a few more wrinkles? Is it to take your acting career in a new direction? Is there a specific role you really want to go for and want to be able to send a tailored headshot to the casting director to help improve your chances of securing the audition?
Again, all of the above is information that will allow me to tailor your headshot session to meet the goals you have set for yourself. For instance, if you just want to update your current headshots and would like to keep the same style then I can do my best to emulate the look and feel of your previous headshots whilst showing off the new you. Alternatively, if you want to take your career in a new direction, perhaps transitioning from Shakespeare and stage to TV, then we might look at taking a more contemporary approach to the lighting and background in order to appeal to casting directors in that area of the industry. The final point; trying to capture a specific character, leads us very aptly to the next thing to think about…
- What is Your Casting Type?
This is one of the most important things for any actor to be able to identify about themselves as this affects how you market yourself and potentially allows you to establish your niche or ‘brand.’ Are you a leading lady? The boy next door? The hardman? The geek? Do you belong with the cast of Downton Abbey? Knowing your casting type means that I can provide more tailored direction and physicality coaching that is specifically designed to bring out these characters, without going over the top: it’s all about the art of subtle suggestion!
But what if you’re just starting out in acting and haven’t established your casting type yet? Don’t panic! By walking you through different exercises, we can get a range of looks that cover a variety of casting types as well as focusing on the next point of consideration…
- How Would You Describe Yourself?
Whenever actors come to one of my headshot photography sessions, I always ask them to describe themselves in 4-5 words. The thing to remember is that as useful as it is to be able to convey your casting type in your actor headshot, casting directors often also want you to offer them a glimpse to your own personality. Are you loud, expressive, confident and boisterous? Are you geeky, analytical, precise and hard working? These words describe two very different people and so they would need to be photographed in different ways.
It can sometimes be difficult to think of these things on the spot so by coming prepared, your actor headshot session can start with a solid foundation, a clear set of goals and a tailored method of approach unique to you!
If you have any questions on how to prepare for your session, feel free to drop CONTACT ME or check out some of the links below for more frequently asked questions when it comes to actor headshots!