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Headshots For Actors & Casting Directors

By March 25, 2015June 30th, 2017One Comment

Photographing headshots for actors is about giving the actor, the very best chance of being noticed by the influencers in their industry. Headshot for actors should be current with the prevailing style; they should capture the actors’ personality and display emotion. These two key points together with understanding an actors’ castability are all elements that play a part in creating a headshot with the ‘Wow Factor’. Every actor wants casting directors to look at their headshot and say, “wow, I like that” if that happens then I’ve done my job as a headshot photographer.

I was doing some research today and I came across this article in the Guardian newspaper by Laura Barnett about casting directors and the role they play within the production process. I thought it was worth sharing, especially for actors who are new to the industry, where the many job descriptions can become confusing or muddled. We often think of the world and roles of the casting director as mysterious as they are rarely interviewed or proclaimed outside of the industry.

When I’m shooting a clients’ headshot photographs my perspective as a headshots for actors photographer is; I need to keep in mind the ultimate use of the headshot. The primary use is to impress a casting director enough to make them invite the actor to audition. After that the headshot has done its job, a headshots for actors photographer should keep this at the forefront of their mind at all times. In another article on this blog I go over one of the crucial mistakes a headshot photographer can make – getting caught up in their own hype and shooting for themselves rather shooting what the client needs.

Headshots for actors by Nick Gregan Headshot Photographer


Headshots For Actors in The News


But I digress, so back to the original article, here’s a small snippet of the article I urge you to head over to The Guardian newspaper to read the full piece – it’s really worth it.
How does a casting director go from looking at a CV, a headshot, or even an actor on stage, to deciding that they’re the embodiment of a character? I’m struck by how much of this seems to hinge on instinct. Spon (a casting director – my brackets) points out, however, that it’s the director’s instinct that ultimately counts. “It’s not about my vision,” she says. “I could read a play and think, ‘Oh, the perfect person for this part is whoever.’ And then the director says, ‘I see it like this.'”

Casting a major feature film involves walking an even more precarious tightrope between filming schedules, actors’ availability and studios’ tastes, as Lucinda Syson explains in her tiny attic office in Soho. We talk in the “taping room”, where auditions are filmed; one wall is light blue, apparently the most flattering colour for skin. “Many producers look at casting,” says Syson, “and think of it as just finding people for individual roles. It’s actually about a total alchemy. You’ve got to be able to tune into the director – to where they’re shooting, to what the undertones and sense of the project are.”

As you can see your headshots for actors photographs are crucially important in getting an actor into the audition room. When a casting director is looking at your headshot photograph they use many skills to choose the lucky ones for audition. Those skills included ‘gut instinct’ the actor’s ability to ‘fit’ an overall theme, as Syson says above “It’s actually about a total alchemy”.

For the very best chance of success it’s imperative that there is some kind of alchemy between you and the photographer. There must be a ‘connection’ between you and the headshots for actors photographer, without one what comes out of your photo session is a flat, lifeless headshot that conveys little or no emotion.

One of the golden rules of headshots for actors is take the time to source the right headshots for actors photographer for you, not the right one for your friend, or the right one for your price range etc etc… Make sure you can communicate with your photographer before you walk into the studio; it only takes a telephone call and a few minutes of your time. It’ll be time well spent.



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