Actors read before your Shoot
Theatrical Headshots are geared towards being cast in Television Shows and Film and Theatrical Plays. A Theatrical Headshot should have layers of a the actors personality. Show a little more emotional depth than a commercial headshot. Typically theatrical headshots are thought of as confident expressions without a smile, but it really depends on the types of characters you are auditioning for. Sometimes a knowing smirk or vulnerability behind the eyes better examples who you are as a actor. Not all theatrical shots need to be serious. I feel theatrical headshots give a feeling of being grounded.
What to wear…..The types of characters you go out for will determine your wardrobe in theatrical headshots. I tend to like earthy tones. Make sure that there is an adequate contrast between wardrobe and background and hair. Your headshot doesn’t have to be muddy or dull just because it’s theatrical. I find Earth tone shirts can be rick in color to stand out, but still subtle enough to give the focus to the actor. Don’t show up with wrinkled or stained clothes. They should be pressed and clean. Try to stay away from large prints and stripes. Avoid excessively bright colors … solid colors are best with no logos or writing. If the logo is small most photographers can remove those. Take different necklines and layers to photograph. Always take plenty of choices to shoot in, I would rather someone have too many options that not enough. Because what you might think is best to use may not be the best on film. Try to keep it simple… no jewelry and no hats or headbands or flowers, etc. Simplicity is the best. You do not want the casting directors attention to be drawn to anything but your face! If you use a hair and makeup artist make sure they know how to do hair and makeup for photography. Everything is toned down and lighter and they will know that as someone who does pageants, proms or special events will put more on to make you stand out from a distance. Ask your photographer for referrals if you do not have a hair and makeup artist. This being said you do not have to have a hair and makeup artist if you prefer to do your own. Some people feel more confident and less stress by letting someone else do it and in most cases the hair and makeup artist will be on set to change hair up and make adjustments during the session.
A commercial headshot is a photo used to market you in the commercial market, whether it be for print work or actual commercials. Typically these photos frame the subject smiling, and create a sense of friendliness. Personally I have a rule when shooting my clients for commercial headshots: I have to see their teeth when they smile. When someone smiles and doesn't show their teeth, the viewer wonders why. This creates questions…. Does this person have braces? Does this person have crooked teeth? Does this person have any teeth? If the answer to these questions is yes, that's OK, but they need to know that because the client that hired them to filter out 90 actors out of 100 will want to know before the recall audition. Clients don't like surprises, especially when they pay casting directors big bucks to do it for them. So always smile with you teeth showing no matter what, it will save you time and money. Actor needs to appear warm, friendly, trusting in a commercial shot.
What to wear for Commercial headshots…. bright fun colors or soft colors are best. Blacks, grays and dark colors often do not work as well for your commercial headshot. Don’t show up with wrinkled or stained clothes. They should be pressed and clean. Try to stay away from large prints and stripes. If the logo is small most photographers can remove those. Take different necklines and layers to your shoot and plenty of choices to shoot in. Try to keep it simple… no jewelry and no hats or headbands or flowers, etc. Simplicity is the best. You do not want the casting directors attention to be drawn to anything but your face. Remember they need to see personality for commercials as most commercials are selling people something and they want that product to appear to make the customer happy. ! And as it stated above under Theatrical ….If you use a hair and makeup artist make sure they know how to do hair and makeup for photography. Everything is toned down and lighter and they will know that as someone who does pageants, proms or special events will put more on to make you stand out from a distance. Ask your photographer for referrals if you do not have a hair and makeup artist. This being said you do not have to have a hair and makeup artist if you prefer to do your own. Some people feel more confident and less stress by letting someone else do it and in most cases the hair and makeup artist will be on set to change hair up and make adjustments during the session.
I believe middle ground between commercial and theatrical headshot is the comedic headshot. Comedic headshots are geared towards sitcoms, stand- up, romantic comedies , etc. Just as in a commercial headshot, you want your comedic light and your personality colorful. However, there is a bit more character in the comedic headshot. Your comedic headshot shot hint the type of humor that you do. Are you sarcastic, dry character or the quirky slapstick type? I don’t like a cartoon, over the top approach unless your act is really over the top. Subtlety can be very effective and more authentic. You would wear brighter colors but the same applies to any headshot. Pressed clothes and no stains. Although I feel you can add some print and stripes if that is your character and maybe classes or hats. Whatever pertains to your character.
How to Prepare for any shoot….If it is a morning shoot make sure you are up at least a hour before so your face doesn’t appear puffiness from water retention we get over night. Make sure you have plenty of sleep so the eyes are not red or bloodshot and don’t appear weak. When shooting don’t become a statue. Headshots are meant to tell a story about you and your personality. Remember to breathe and look away from the lens every few shots to help you authentically reconnect. If you are nervous, acknowledge it. Nervousness is a human emotion and like all emotions repressing it will affect your photos.
Photoshop and Makeup …..Make sure it looks like you. Photoshop should be minimal. This is something that I find is very hard when it comes to pleasing my clients. They want to appear flawless and don’t realize that the flaws they want to hide is what makes them stand out. Casting directors expect you to look just like your headshot, and will not be happy when you show up looking totally different, or 10 years older. It’s not about looking pretty. It’s about representing your type, age wrinkles included. It should look like you on your best day, showing your age, and who you are now. It’s not about the type you want to be, it’s the type you are. Ladies please do not wear thick eyeliner and bright eye shadows or excessive blush and lipstick. It is extremely difficult to tone down the makeup in photo shop with out making the photo look edited. Less is best. Casting directors want to see what you naturally look like. I fell children Children and pre teens should not wear makeup. I do feel if the teen wears makeup everyday they should have on light makeup. Remember you want to look the way you are going to look when you walk into the casting room.