Headshot Help

GO to the Following Page to see 
The NY and LA Headshot Sample Pages
taken from the best rated photograghers in the biz!


Check out the samples and look for styles
that seem to be close to your vision.


The take a look at some of the tips below:
(courtesy of Joe Edleman)

1. Lots of Personality!! Many people may have a similar look to you- it’s your personality that makes you special.

2. Look like your headshot. This is not a time to be a beauty queen. You need to give casting directors and clients an accurate version of yourself.

3. Keep your clothing choices simple. Avoid patterns and prints in favor of solid colors. No white or very light pastels. Simple clothing helps the viewer see YOU.

4. Spark the viewer’s imagination. Don’t dress like a nurse or a police officer. You want the viewer to be able to imagine you as many different characters from one picture.

5. Go easy on the makeup! Yes, you want to look your best for your headshot, but that does NOT mean layers of eyeshadow and blush. If you can, hire a makeup artist. Keep in mind, you should pay close attention to what your makeup artist does so when you go to an audition or to meet an agent you can walk in the door looking as close to your picture as possible.

6. Don’t show a lot of skin! Ladies, this means no excess cleavage. Guys, keep your shirts on. Casting directors want to see you…but not that much of you!

7. Keep in mind what kind of work you are trying to get. Do you want to do theater, film, or commercial work?

8. It’s all about the eyes. Of course your smile is important, too, but the eyes can make or break your picture. Your eyes give you the opportunity to show the layers in your personality. Rather than thinking about the viewer looking at your picture, think about you looking at the viewer.

9. Face shot or ¾ shots. ¾ shots are useful to show a casting director your body type. This can be good if you are looking to do commercial work modeling clothes. Be careful, though. In a ¾ shot, your eyes can get lost.

A face shot is the best way to show your eyes and your personality…

Which brings me to my last tip:

10. Did I mention PERSONALITY? Be yourself and show what makes you unique.


More Advice from
NY Academy of Dramatic Arts

Types of Headshots

There are two basic types of headshots: commercial and theatrical.
Commercial: These should be attractive, warm, and open. Always smile for these shots, with teeth showing, if possible. (You never know if you’re going to be up for a toothpaste ad.)

Theatrical: These can be more “natural,” and should try to represent your characteristics as a person.

The general rule is to use your commercial shot for television and commercial work and your theatrical shot for theater and film. If you're in a showcase, you can use either, depending on which industry professionals may be there.

The format for headshots varies throughout the country – from close-ups to 3/4 shots, from bordered to borderless. Make sure you use the preferred format for your area. It’s often best to wait until you get there so you can find a photographer who knows the market. In other words, do your New York shots in New York and your L.A. shots in L.A.

You and Your Headshot

Casting directors use headshots to get a feel for an actor's type. The headshot should show off your best qualities.

Don’t dress or use make-up that covers your true nature; let the shot be true to you.

Most people need some retouching, but don’t go overboard.

And by all means, get new headshots if your look changes drastically and/or after a few years have passed. Misrepresenting yourself will only lead to trouble later in auditions.

Remember, headshots aren't glamour shots.

The casting director is calling in the person he saw in the photo. Make sure the “you” in the shot is the “you” who walks through the door. Often you will be judged by your headshot even before you are called in to have an audition. Let your photo speak for you by being professional, compelling, approachable and, above all, you!

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