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Actor’s Headshot Questions & Answers

Many of my clients have actor’s headshot questions hoping I have the answers

What Should I Wear? What about black & white? Should I have makeup? What about bare shoulders? And on and on they go. But this is fine because answering actor’s headshot questions is a big part of my job.

‘What should I wear’ is the question I get asked most of all and, often it’s the easiest to answer.

nickgregan headshotsWear something simple and plain for the best results, the idea is to wear something that won’t distract the eye of the viewer away from your face. If you think about it logically, a great headshot is all about your face and not what you are wearing, it’s about creating a great first impression and grabbing the attention of the Casting Director or Agent.


If for instance, you were to wear something that has bold black & red stripes then those stripes will catch the eye of the viewer and draw their attention down to them instead of focusing their attention on your face. Likewise, if you are wearing something that has a strong pattern this can also draw the eye of the viewer away from your face. StripesAnother thing to consider when choosing what to wear is how it will look in B&W.

The Question of black & white

Currently, it’s standard to use a colour headshot but often your headshot will be reproduced in B&W in programmes and other printed material. So one thing to consider is that what you are wearing may be a similar tone to your skin colour when it is reproduced in B&W.

You may have seen headshots in B&W that are all a very similar middle-tone grey. This gives the impression of a flat dull, muddy headshot and will most definitely have a negative effect on the person who is looking at it – not a good idea at all – when the person often drifts into the background. You will often hear it said that it is a good idea to wear a black or white top, this is because those colours offer good contrast in a headshot and translate well into B&W.

Actor’s Headshot Questions & Answers

One other thing to consider when having your headshots taken is whether or not to go bare-shouldered, this applies to both men and women. bare shouldersBare shoulders often leave the viewer wondering about what you are wearing and indeed if you are wearing anything at all, I always advise my clients not to go bare-shouldered although thin strapped tops are perfectly fine. This applies somewhat more to men as it is clear that you are topless and this in itself can give a different perspective on your headshot.

I do have one exception to what I’ve just said, there is a particular type of shot that I do that is proving very successful at the moment where I ask clients to wear their favourite clothes irrespective of whether it is brightly coloured and patterned. This headshot is all about personality and generally works really well for my clients.

There has been a trend for headshots to be a little too serious and lacking in personality over the last few years, I think it’s vitally important to have a headshot with your personality injected into it, your headshot needs to stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of the Casting Director.

But more of this in another headshot answer.

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