How to Choose Acting Headshots

As an actor, your calling card is your head shot. A head shot is an 8 x 10 photograph of yourself that agents, casting directors and other entertainment industry professionals will use when considering you for an acting role. If you are serious about becoming a professional actor, it is important to have a powerful head shot.

Things You'll Need

Professional Head shots


Choosing the Perfect Head Shot

Gather all of your head shot prints that you have received from your photographer and lay them out on a table. You will want to separate these photographs into three different categories. The first group of head shots should be the ones where you are smiling, and the picture is from your shoulders up. The second group should be the photographs that showcase you in a serious “look” and should also be from your shoulders up. The last groups of head shots need to be all of those that showcase you from your midsection up.

Look at the first group of head shots. Within this group, check your eyes to make sure that they are not squinty or if you have a lazy eye. After you have glanced at the eyes, take a look at your smile. You will want your smile to be genuine, but not cheesy. Also, make sure that your smile is not too wide, or that you are showing too much teeth or gums.

Review the second group of head shot, and choose the best one out of these. Again, you will want to make sure that your eyes are tightly focused on the camera, and that there is power behind your stare. If you decide to go with a serious “look” for your head shot, the photo needs to have an allure to it, so that it is mysterious and intriguing. Also, make sure that your face is not “mean” or “angry” in appearance, which is common among serious looking head shots.

Evaluate the last group of head shots and choose the top photograph that showcases your personality. When you choose a head shot that is from your midsection-up, you need to pay special attention to your clothing. Ensure that there are no weird bumps or wrinkles in your shirt and also pay special attention to your eyes. Since wide shot head shots are new to the industry, it is important that, if you choose this type of head shot, it is powerful and intriguing.

Gather the top choices for each category and narrow down your choice to the top two. If you are a commercial or stage actor, it is important to choose a head shot that is from your shoulder-up and showcases you smiling. This is because the type of auditions you will be going for require the actor to have personality, and it is hard to view a good personality from an actor that has a serious look in their head shot. However, if you are choosing to audition for film and television, you are able to go with a serious head shot. Of course, it is important to ensure that this type of head shot is intriguing and has a personality of its own. A slight smirk is very powerful in the eyes of a casting director and can lead you to the roles you desire.

Remember, the type of head shot you use can limit the type of auditions that you will go for. Because of this it is a good idea to have two different head shots. One commercial/stage head shot, which showcases your smiling, happy personality and one serious head shot for film auditions.

Tips & Warnings

Always make sure that your face is intriguing and approachable in head shots.

If you choose the wrong head shot, it can greatly limit the possible roles you can audition for.