5 Tips to Help You Get the Perfect Headshot
Imagine for a moment that you are the casting director of a new independent film. You are faced with the task of looking through thousands of submissions and narrowing it down to just a lucky few. So many of the applicants are talented, but what's going to make them stand out to you? Your headshot is going to be the first impression they get of you and your look. So it's important to have a photo that shows who you are and stands out for all the right reasons. So to make things easy (especially if your a newbie to getting your headshots done!) we've complied a list of 5 tips to help you get the perfect headshot.
1. Choose the right clothes
Headshots will generally include your mid torso and up at most. So plan on bringing a variety of shirt options. Focus on shirts that will elongate your neck line (hint: you can probably leave the turtle necks behind!) And when it comes to color go for solid prints that compliment your skin tone. Stay away from large prints or any super bright colors like neons. YOU want to be what stands out in the photo, not your shirt!
2. Be smart with your grooming
In and ideal world we would all hire professional makeup artists and hair stylists to be on set during the shoot. But when your budget doesn't allow for that don't fear! Plenty of our clients have opted to do their own hair and make up and still come away with killer shots. Unless you feel VERY confident in your make up skills I would say to always stick to the less is more rule when doing it yourself. After all, you want your photos to look like you so no need to go overboard if that's not what you do on a daily basis. Stick to neutral tones and avoid any harsh lines or dark blacks. If you are going to do foundation and/or contour make sure to spend a little extra time blending because the camera will pick up on it much more than the naked eye.
The rules for hair are similar to that for makeup. Keep it simple and natural. For ladies keep your hair down and how you might wear it to an audition. Pack some hair spray or gloss to keep your fly aways to a minimum. These can always be retouched but taming them from the start will leave you with many more usable shots.
For men its important to consider what to do with your facial hair if you have it. If you want to go for a clean shaven look make sure you take time to do it the night before so any redness from shaving will have faded. If you want your photos with facial hair just take some time to groom it a bit so it looks fresh and tamed. If you tend to go back and forth between having facial hair and not, consider asking the photographer if they have a space where you could shave part way through the shoot. That way you could get some photos with and some without. However, keep in mind your skin type! If yours is sensitive and may be red and irritated after shaving its probably best to pick one look or the other.
3. Think about what you want out of your shots
Headshots are important for people in many different fields of work. Be clear and communicate to the photographer what you plan to use you photo for. Headshots for acting are different than those for dance which are different than those for Linkedin. For example actors will want to show a range of personalities in their shots so they have photos that are appropriate for different characters they may audition for. On the other hand a classical dancer will want something more clean and natural.
4. Pick your photographer wisely
You know the phrase you get what you pay for? Well for photography this definitely holds true. Be wary of photographers charging super low rate for quick timed limited shoots. Good photos can't be rushed! You need to have time to relax and warm up to being in front of the camera. While it might seem crazy to spend a few hundred dollars on photos, think of it as an investment for your career. In a word where the competition is so fierce, you want to make sure you are up to par with your photos.
5. HAVE FUN!
...Such a cliche final tip we know. But it's so TRUE! Have fun with your photos and never shy away from taking risks with your expressions and personality. You will likely have hundreds of photos to choose from so why not make sure your have a variety? And guess what? If a few of them turn out totally silly or way over the top you can get rid of them and no one ever has to see it again. So be yourself, let loose a little and let us see who YOU are in your photos.