5 Ways To Rock Out Your Headshot Session - Professional Headshot Tips
5 Ways To Rock Out Your Next Headshot Session
Professional Headshot Tips from Ted Ely
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 a headshot session with a great set of new headshots? Well, you’re in luck, ‘cause I got you. As a dedicated acting headshot photographer for over nine years, I’m obsessed with helping actors capture headshots that help get them work. Here are some professional headshot tips: my 5 ways to rock out your next headshot session.
Professional Headshot Tip List
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 overwhelming feeling 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. But preparation can also take over the amazing quality of spontaneity, which is important in any creative expression. By reading this professional headshot tip list, you’re already on track to rock your next headshot session.
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 headshots that have that special sauce. Those shots 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 fifty pounds lighter with orange-tinted skin if you are regularly fifty 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 headshots, because you are!
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!
First of all, remember number one: Breathe. If there is only one professional 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. Use what they give you and create on top of that. If they give you a certain idea or direction, try to 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, take that breath and let it go and stay present, alive, real, and authentic and trust that. Getting great headshots in a headshot shoot 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 professional 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!