Who Chooses Your Actors Headshot?
Is it you? Is it your Agent? Is it your headshot photographer or is it your family? What about if you’re not sure of which one is the best headshot for you? What if you don’t like the way you look, how on earth are you supposed to choose headshot that’ll get you work as you probably won’t like any of them?
Ultimately it’s your career so you have to make the final decision however there are people out there who have your best interests at heart and will help you out. There are lots of experienced professionals with tons of knowledge who have a valid opinion – you are not alone.
If you are in the position of having an Agent then ask their advice, in some cases your Agent will insist on choosing which headshot they want you to use, you may not always agree with them. The thing is that they see you objectively, they see you essentially see you as a way of making money, if they can’t get you work then what’s the point of them representing you? No one said this was an easy business – it’s tough and competitive, but a brilliant business. Your Agent may well have a specific niche where they want to promote you and may want to use a headshot that suits that niche – you may not agree with them. This is when you need to talk to your Agent and understand what they do, where they see you, how they see your castability and to make sure you’re both on the same page.
Maybe you are just starting your career, you’re still in acting school or you have come into the business another way and are taking classes. Tutors and coaches are generally good people to ask for opinions on your headshot as they know the business and also know you.
As a headshot photographer I always try to offer unbiased advice and an objective view to my clients. I look at what their castability is, what roles they are likely to be cast as and just as importantly what they are not likely to be cast as. I try to point out what works in their headshot and what doesn’t with understanding and tact.
There are people who don’t like the way they look or have had bad experiences in the past, maybe with another headshot photographer. Or perhaps on a personal level when previously somebody may well have commented on the size of their nose or ears. (I have a rather large nose and ears but am comfortable with the way I look, so being in front of the camera doesn’t bother me). However not all people are like me and may well be affected by an offhand comment from a photographer like ’you shouldn’t be photographed from the left as it’s your bad side’.
On many occasions an actor will say to me ‘you know best, you choose my headshot’ admittedly most of these times it will be an inexperienced actor who says this but the thing is if they don’t know their best headshot, if they don’t have the support network or an Agent who is going to help them out, what do they do? It’s a huge responsibility to choose a headshot for somebody so if you are asking your photographer to help you out make sure you’ve chosen a specialist headshot photographer who knows the business.
One thing they shouldn’t be doing is asking their partner, parents, girl/boyfriends, mums and dads and husbands and wives to help them out as they view them in a particular way – unless of course they know the business too. What you are looking for as an actor is a headshot that will get you noticed as an actor and not noticed as daddy’s cute little girl etc.
A great headshot can have a really positive affect on your career, getting lots of auditions and catching the attention of Casting Directors and Agents, boosting your confidence etc. On the other hand a poor headshot can have disastrous repercussions, no castings, no auditions, no Agent and no work. The good thing is that by choosing a reputable headshot photographer, one with experience will start you out on the right foot as they will offer their knowledge and skill to make sure you leave the studio with a set of great headshots.
– Who Chooses Your Actors Headshot?