5 Ways To Rock Out Your Acting Headshot Session - Professional Headshot Tips
5 Ways To Rock Out Your Next Acting Headshot Session!
Acting Headshot Tips From Ted Ely Studio
By Ted Ely
It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran actor who has been at it for years or a newbie gearing up to make playing dress-up your new career...you have to have a great headshot to book jobs in film, TV, and theatre. But how the heck do you walk away from an acting headshot session with a great set of new shots?
Well, you’re in luck, ‘cause I got you. As a dedicated acting headshot photographer for over 10 years, I’m obsessed with helping actors capture headshots that help get them work. Here are some acting headshot tips: my 5 ways to rock out your next headshot session.
1. Breathe and relax...it’s not that deep.
Just the word “headshots” has probably made your heart start racing, as a feeling of disgust permeates your being.
So many pressures and questions can run through your head when it comes to acting headshots: Which photographer should I shoot with? What should I wear? What “character types” should I capture in my shoot? What should I wear? How am I going to pay for headshots? But wait, WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
If the anxiety level is high, just remember this - headshots are just pictures of your face. At its purest form, that’s it and that’s the most important part. Casting directors want to see a professional picture of your face that looks like you and vibes like you, cause there is no one else quite like you.
You’re freaking awesome and if you just trust that special authenticity inside, you’re gonna do just fine!
2. Be prepared for your headshot shoot, but don’t take it too far.
In the acting industry, it’s super important to be prepared. Preparation breeds confidence and confidence leads to good work as an actor, which yields paying acting jobs. Over preparation, on the other hand, can take over the amazing quality of spontaneity in a headshot shoot.
Spontaneity and instinctual moments bring life to a headshot, so during the shooting process it's important to focus on that and let go of the preparation in a way.
It’s good to have an idea of what you’d like to capture and communicate in your headshot. But, it’s just as important to let go and be open to collaboration and creativity, especially in acting headshots. Because that’s how you capture pictures that have that special sauce. Those shots that seem to live and breathe with life rather than just be pretty pictures.
3. Don’t do weird stuff before your headshots.
Yes, your acting headshots are important and an investment in your career so it may seem like you need to make huge changes to your daily routine to look new and fresh, but you just plain don’t.
A new cleanse, changing your diet drastically, and smashing some wild new fitness workout leading up to your headshots is not helpful. Just be you.
Eat what you regularly eat, and use all the same skin products you normally use if you use skin products. It’s not going to be very helpful to casting directors if you hand over a headshot that is you thirty pounds lighter with orange-tinted skin if you are regularly thirty pounds heavier with pale skin.
4. Choose to be positive and allow your session to be great.
Headshots have this stigma of being awkward and weird because they sort of are. You’re meeting up with a stranger to take intimate pictures of your face so you can submit them to casting directors with hopes of getting work.
The whole process is crazy. So just accept it and move on. Yeah, headshots are weird but, whatever! Let's just navigate the weirdness and see what happens!
Look at it as a strange, but creative adventure. I know that that doesn't quite sound like a professional headshot tip, but it is and it's an important one. Focusing on the weird awkwardness of headshots is just going to make them more weird and awkward. Don’t do that.
You can choose to look at headshots as a creative opportunity and grab onto positive expectations rather than sit in the negative. Start directing your thought processes to expect a fun experience with great, positive results. Allow yourself to be good at acting headshots!
5. Treat your headshot session as a creative collaboration.
So, it’s the day of the shoot y’all! What the heck are you gonna do in front of the camera?! You’ve never taken a headshot class and have virtually no experience taking headshots for acting! And few headshot sessions you've had in the past have been...rough, to say the least.
First of all, remember the most important thing (for multiple reasons): Breathe. If there is only one acting headshot tip that I would like you to take away from this, it is that. Take that breath and then choose to collaborate with your photographer.
Jump in and be fearless. Take their direction and create on top of that. And if they don't give you direction, direct yourself. Make choices. Be Bold. Have fun! Jump in and do your best to let go and trust your instincts.
You did all the prep and are now in the moment, so trust it and just be. And when that little inner voice of yours comes in and tries to judge you, take that breath and let it go and stay present, alive, real, and authentic.
Getting great headshots is about trusting the present moment and just being, not about trying to be. Trying to be someone else is a big pie in the face as an actor - the audience will always sniff it out. Just being and trusting is always the way.
So trust your instincts, jump in and actively collaborate!
I hope these five acting headshot tips can help you prepare for your next headshot shoot, so you can stress less and vibe more! Remember: breathe, be prepared and spontaneous, embrace who you are in the moment, choose positivity, and actively collaborate with the photographer.
You’re gonna rock it!
P.S. Interested in collaborating together on some new professional headshots or lifestyle shots? I have a studio in Long Island City, NY where I capture awesome photos for actors and professionals that help them reach their career goals. Contact me here to learn more!