Headshots can be tricky. When it comes to professional headshots for actors, it is important to keep industry standards in mind. Black and white headshots were once popular; now, headshots are expected to be in color, portrait (not landscape!) format, and printed as an 8x10.
Backstage Magazine has some fantastic articles about headshots, ranging from advice on how to prepare for your shoot, choosing your photographer, and wardrobe selection.
Please visit my Info page for more information about how to prepare for your headshot session!
Your headshot should look like the best version of yourself. While you should expect retouching on your photos, it shouldn't be so much that the casting director won't recognize you from your headshot when you walk in the casting room!
As a photographer, it is my job to help you look your best! This includes (at the consent of the subject, of course!) taming stray fly-away hairs, adjusting posture, and coaching on smile and facial expression.
I had so much fun shooting Olivia's headshots. An actress who performs frequently in musical theatre, I met Olivia in Alaska, while working at an arts camp. Olivia was one of my campers, and I was so excited when she decided to move from Alaska to Arizona to attend the University of Arizona for college. My friend Jeff and I drove down to Tucson to meet Olivia for her early morning shoot at the Fred Fox School of Music campus.
I loved capturing Olivia's natural beauty on camera. We started off the session with a conversation about her "type." I like to ask my actors how they are usually cast, so I can get a better sense of how casting directors currently view them (whether this is a product of their headshot or not). Olivia has a very bright energy, but she said she was often cast as matronly or in "mother" roles. To capture her desired energy on camera, I asked Olivia what her dream role would be, then told her to envision that she was up for that part, and her headshot would be sliding across the casting director's desk- what would she like to communicate to that casting director through her headshot? In a different scenario, I asked Olivia to choose an adjective- whether it was determined, sexy, confident, etc.- and truly live that word in the photo. The energy comes across and makes for a much dynamic photo.
To capture a more youthful look for Olivia, I used tight framing and focused on the eyes, where you can sense of hit of mischief. She is directly engaged with the camera through her expression, and her slight smile allows the casting director to impart their own impression on the photo.
According to casting director Benton Whitley (of Stewart/Whitley), the eyes are the most important element to any headshot, which is why he never wants to see a full-body photo. But giving a CD an idea of your body type is not frowned upon, either; just keep your face at the forefront (https://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/headshots/8-tips-better-headshots-agent-and-cd/).
Most importantly, headshot sessions should be fun! I love getting to know my clients better during their sessions, and making them laugh to establish a comfortable atmosphere. When my clients are at ease and happy, that shines through in the photos and makes for a great headshot.
Hi there! Thanks for stopping by! I'm Bethany Brown, and I am a portrait and headshot photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona. I love bright, classic images, and am always open to collaborations! Check back here frequently for my most recent work.