My next post is all about how to choose the right headshots for you. I myself have done this wrong many…many times. I wanted the pictures where I thought I looked the prettiest, even if the picture didn’t look like me! I was living in denial. “It’s a picture of me, so it counts” – WRONG!
The pictures you choose need to reflect you in every day life. Casting directors are going to see you in person and they’re looking for something specific, so make sure you ARE what they’re after, otherwise you’ll just be disappointed when they don’t choose you.
So, how do you choose?
Make sure that on the day you go for your headshots, you have a few ideas in your head of what characters you want to play. There’s no point paying for headshots to come out with 3/5 pictures that all look the same. Think about clothing and layers (jackets & colours etc) and an essence of your castability. I say essence because you want the casting team to use their imagination when looking at your picture and for you to be able to submit your pictures for more than one type of role. Don’t dress in full period attire or you’ll only be right for Downton Abbey the sequel!
As well as clothes, also think about facial expressions and hair. The pictures you are choosing are of your face so make the most of what you have! I personally hate my teeth but would force myself to have some smiley pictures in there, as you need to offer all you have. They might not look at your showreel, so you want to show that you have more the one facial expression or what good are you to them? It’s awful when people have self-doubt about their appearances, but in this line of work you have to put your all into it no matter what – They’re going to see everything in the audition anyway!
It’s hard and annoying but the most effective way. I am so stubborn, and confident that I’m always right (My wife would disagree) but other people look at your face more than you do, so they’re probably going to have good judgement on which pictures are better than the ‘super awesome’ ones you’ve chosen yourself.
If you have an agent, they are always the best people to ask. They know what you look like and they know what will work for you. You may hate the pictures they choose, so either compromise and choose some they like and some you do OR suck it up and go with your agent’s choices, unless you’re 100% confident that your choices are better.
If you don’t have an agent, then select a few close friends or family members, or a few actor friends. I made the mistake of putting my 50 cut down choices on Facebook and every person and their mums had a different opinion…great thinking Bex!
3 or 5 pictures
This is a tricky one, but it’s completely up to you. How much do you think you need to show? 3 or 5 is a good choice, but anything over can be too much! Casting directors have NOT got time to look at all of your pictures and it can just look a bit messy. What’s the point? Casting directors just want to see if you look right for the role and they’ll tell that very quickly. If you want somewhere to put all of your portfolio, do it on your social media pages or on your website, just not on Spotlight. (This is all just my opinion and advice, you may strongly disagree and that’s fine!)
Choosing between 3 or 5 can be a bit tricky sometimes but if you don’t really have much of an idea of your castability then 3 with different facial expressions is always safe. If you think your have quite a broad castability…then maybe go for 5 to showcase more!
How often should you update?
Tricky again, but basically when you think your appearance has changed.
For me this was every month! I’d have a different haircut and colour, thinking this one will get me more roles! I even tried to cheat by getting an app that changes your hair…yep I was that desperate and poor. But if you change your hair, you need to update them. If you lose or put on weight, same applies. Casting people want to see what’s in the picture and if that doesn’t walk through the door then naughty actor!
Be conscious of your appearance changing and be realistic!
I hope this has helped! Some of it may have been obvious but I found this out over many years and if you’re going for your first headshots, you may have no clue what you’re doing!