Can there ever be too much light in a headshot?
Well yes of course there can.
Obviously styles of headshots change over the years and the current style at the moment – and I think one that will continue for quite some time – is all about your headshot must look like your face it must look like you. So when you walk into the audition room you must be instantly a recognisable by the casting director from the headshot you submitted. Trying to look younger, thinner or healthier in a headshot is trying to dupe the casting director, cheating yourself and wasting everybody’s time including your own
And can there ever be too much light?
Sure if you submit a headshot where your skin is bleached-out to the point that the only thing you can see is a pair of eyes, a mouth, nostrils and the hair surrounding the face, rather than skin texture and your skin quality. Then that’s a headshot with too much light.
Almost as bad is when you have your headshot retouched too much, where the skin looks like it’s a beauty headshot. Or in some cases, I’ve seen headshots where the people in those and headshots look like computer-generated images, androids or cartoon characters. In these types of headshots there isn’t any character, there aren’t any flaws in the skin and more importantly, there isn’t any personality in the headshot. Remember, casting directors want to see the real person, the real you warts and all when you walk into the casting room.
If you have laughter lines they are the part of your character and your personality. Why be ashamed of them? If you have you scar’s on the side of your face or moles and skin blemishes, what’s wrong with those it’s who you are?
So can there be too much light in your headshot?
Yes they can. If your photographer puts too much light or over-exposes the headshot so that your skin bleaches out – whatever colour your skin is – so that it’s not your normal colour, then there’s too much light. Part of your headshot photographers job is to get the exposure correct, to help you with your pose and to compose the photo correctly. However, it’s also your responsibility to know when a headshot isn’t right and to let your photographer know they need to shoot what you want.