What is face acting in your actors headshot?
The world of acting and actors headshots is extremely competitive as I’m sure you’re already aware and it’s particularly tough at the entry level into the business to catch the eye of the decision makers. By that I mean for those actors starting their careers, those who have just left drama school or those who are hoping to move it up to the next level by securing an agent or better roles.
The business is competitive at every level but as an actor becomes moves up the career ladder and get better known they’re usually pitched against other known actors. More on this subject in this article here.
Your headshot is crucial to catching the eye of a casting director or an agent because it’s usually their first sight of you – we all know that first impressions count!
Here I want to talk about the phenomena of ‘face acting’. This is a term I came up with to describe the way some actors present themselves during their headshot session.
It’s incredibly important to have a selection of headshots that suit your castability – whether that is as the cute girl next door or as tough courtroom battler – it’s better to have a headshot that looks like you ‘in character’. To be ‘in character’ you need to invest emotionally and ‘be the part’ however, there are many times when an actor is in front of the headshot photographer that they won’t or can’t do this. They’ll act with their face to give a facial expression instead of looking inside themselves to engage with the character and express emotional content.
The eyes are by far-and-away the most important part of your headshot, they must connect with the viewer, they must contain personality or emotion and they must be focused in the correct place.
Casting directors are used to looking at hundreds of headshots a week and have an expert eye for spotting a good headshot, and an equally good eye for skimming over headshots that don’t do the business – that is to grab their attention and say ’wow look at me’ more on the Wow Factor in this article.
As professional actors headshot photographers we must recognised ‘face acting’ and coach our clients into engaging and expressing real emotion and real feelings if we are to help them stand out and catch the casting directors eye. We can do this by engaging with our clients better, by giving them specific directions and by suggesting scenarios and everyday instances where they can draw on the emotions we all experience.
The job of a top headshot photographer is not simply to take a technically perfect headshot but it is to coax, cajole, encourage and show the actors how to take their headshot to the next level and stand out from the crowd.
If we can’t or aren’t prepared to do this I believe as professional actors headshot photographers we aren’t doing our job correctly. This isn’t always the easiest skill to master as we’re photographers not acting coaches. But to give our clients the best possible chance of succeeding we should be able to deliver this service as a given
More information available at 50 Tips For a Perfect Headshot