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Do First Impressions Matter With A Headshot?

I was away for a few days in deepest, darkest Essex last week shooting the start of a personal project.

I had some free time so I decided I’d go for a workout in a local gym.

I went into the weights room, a smaller room off the main gym floor with white walls andTattooed man Do first impressions matter? mirrors all around. A few guys were in there already pumping iron, screaming and gee-ing each other up.

Do First Impressions Matter?

They were big lads with close-cropped hair and lots of tattoos.  I could see them looking at me in the mirrors and to be honest, I found them quite intimidating. Now, I’m quite a big lad myself but I have to admit, I was uncomfortable, especially in that small room.

I started with a bench press and I could see one of the lads looking over at me quite a lot. I was in that vulnerable bench press position… laying on my back with my legs on either side of the bench and about to lift some iron.

Quite an exposed position (to use a photography term) in what I felt was becoming a more hostile environment – I can tell you that!

As I began my lift I could see the lad looking at me more and more intently whilst talking to his mate.

Bollocks to this I thought. Am I some kind of wimp or what – just get on with it and stuff these guys…!

He Made His Move

Then the lad moved towards me and called out “Stop mate, you haven’t got a collar on the bar”.

He was right I’d forgotten to secure the weights on one side with a collar to stop them moving or falling off. He’d just saved me from a very dangerous situation, I could have been injured badly or at the very least looked like a bit of an idiot.

He came over and helped me sort out the dangerous bar situation and in the process, we chatted for a few minutes as his mate walked over and joined us. We had a bit of a laugh at my mistake and then cracked on with our workouts. They left shortly afterwards with smiles and a cheery ‘see you again mate’.

Do First Impressions Matter – You Bet They Do!

It was a classic case of going with the first impression. Only in this case, I had drawn the Do first impressions matter?wrong first impression. I had looked at them and made the assumption they were hostile, territorial and threatening.

How wrong was I?

I’d been doing my workout feeling uncomfortable and intimidated for the last 40 minutes when there was absolutely no need to. I had made the wrong decision based on the wrong first impression. In my defence, I’m only human and it’s my evolution kicking in. You can ask the scientists about it here.

The point is, it just goes to show how powerful the question is; do first impressions matter and, how do we make them every day in split seconds and our actions and reactions are driven by them?

This is why getting your headshot right is so important. I made the wrong assumption about those guys and the only effect it had was to leave me feeling uncomfortable and threatened.

The wrong first impression?

However, if your headshot makes the wrong first impression, does it matter? If it’s to a casting director, then it can have dire consequences on your chances of scoring auditions. Do first impressions matter?

And, if you keep using that headshot and it keeps delivering the wrong first impression there is very little chance you’ll get asked to any auditions.

You need to understand the message your headshot is sending about you as a person and as an actor. You also need to have several headshots that portray you as different characters and in each and every one of those headshots you the actor should be performing at your very best.

You need to treat your headshot as the most important piece of your marketing material because it is.

Do first impressions matter more than your self-tape or your CV?

Because a casting director will never get to see your self-tape or look at your CV if they are not impressed by your headshot.

The casting process starts with an awesome, eye-catching headshot that connects with the viewer and shows your personality.

If you want more opportunities, if you want more auditions, more chances of impressive casting directors and the chance to book real work. You need a headshot that is working for you every time it is looked at.

If it doesn’t, you are wasting opportunities that you could be grabbing with both hands.

If you are in doubt about the power of your headshot and the positive effect it can have on your career check out my book The Headshot Bible – 50 Tips For A Perfect Headshot.

I cover just about everything that can positively and negatively affect your headshot. I do it in easy-to-digest segments using insider tips and techniques I gathered in over 28 years as a headshot photographer.

And finally

Do first impressions matter – you beyt they do and you need to examine your headshot to see if it is giving the wrong first impression.


Check out the introduction here

“Pretty as a picture”, “a picture says a thousand words”, “picture perfect” etc etc…

It’s no accident that there’s so many sayings about the power of a picture and nowhere is this more important than in the competitive world of show business where a good headshot can quite literally put you in the picture, catching the eye of agents, casting directors and everybody else who can make or break your career.

So why is it that nobody talks about all the important techniques, insider tips and special tricks that will guarantee you get the perfect headshot?

So let me tell you, sharing with you all the advice, tips and knowledge that I have picked up over 20+ years as a professional headshot photographer, in which time – from television and stage actors to the best on the big screen – I worked with and photographed over 20,000 actors and what’s funny is that, no matter how far up the career ladder they were they same kind of questions kept coming up.

Questions about what to wear, what casting directors wanted, and perhaps most importantly how to choose the right headshot for them? And so in the book I going to go through the golden rules of headshots, I’m going to share with you the fifty most important things that every actor wished they knew. Some of it you’ll only realise after several years in the auditioning business, other tips might seem like common sense – as though surely everybody knows that!

But the fact is, so much emphasis goes on finding an agent, acting technique, and getting to know people in the industry, that the headshot – which is so important to your career – often ends up being an afterthought.

So let’s change that here, read The Headshot Bible – Fifty Tips For a Perfect Headshot, and I guarantee you’ll never be out of the picture again.

Nick Gregan headshot photographer

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