Skip to main content

Why your eyes are important in your headshot

We are humans, we communicate with our eyes in split–seconds, and that’s why your eyes are important in your headshot

This is not an opinion – it’s a scientific fact!

Let’s take a small step sideways into real life. We communicate so much in a split second through our eyes. A quick glance will reveal whether or not we are attracted to, or wary of the person. It’s human evolution and that’s why your eyes are important in your headshot

We communicate through them and with them. So does every person who looks at your headshot, they communicate with you.

Your eyes are important in your headshot as an actor

As an actor, this communication is critical to the effectiveness of your headshot.why your eyes are important in your headshot. Girl looking away

If you thinking about having some new headshots it is important that you do your research and, as part of your preparation for your headshots you’ll be looking at a lot of different headshots. You’ll notice all the ones that grab your attention have one thing in common – you’ll be drawn to the eyes – you can’t help it.

Without consciously being aware of it you’ll be influenced by the eyes. This is because they are the focal point of the whole headshot, it’s not the person’s hair or the kind of clothes you’re wearing nor is it the background. Admittedly they are distracting but it’s the eyes that draw you in and make a connection. This simple evolutionary point is why your eyes are important in your headshot

So if the eyes are the focal point how do we ensure they are doing their job?

It’s very simple, we start by making certain the eyes look in the right place. Check out my video The Headshot Conversation for an in-depth look at how and why your eyes are important in your headshot

As a specialist headshot photographer with over 28 years of experience and knowledge, I can say with confidence that your eyes must always be directly on the camera. This is how we start the connection process.

And why your eyes are important in your headshot?

For an awesome headshot, you need to make a connection with the viewer, who is most likely and importantly the casting director. Think of the hundreds or thousands of headshots casting directors look at every week. Your headshot HAS TO STAND OUT from the crowd.

You may well be the best actor who has ever walked on this planet but…If no one now about you or you never get to show how good you are to the casting directors in an audition it means NOTHING! And this is another reason why your eyes are important in your headshot


The Key Elements In Your Eyes

  1. Your eyes need to be focused in the right place, that is on the person looking at your headshot. Connecting with them
  2. Your eyes need to show emotion. Flat boring lifeless eyes destroy a headshot. Remember you’re an actor, not a robot. As discussed earlier, we read infinite amounts of information in a person’s eyes. Let’s make sure we know and understand the power of eye contact.
  3.  Personality, your personality. What makes an actor different from another? It’s what they bring to the character. Think of James Bond. Sean Connery played him as suave and sexy. Roger Moore moved away from that and added humour ( a disaster in my view). Then came along Daniel Craig who added a rawness and reality to the 007 role. It’s the same character, the same role but different actors using their personalities to OWN the role.
  4. Your headshot shoot is a performance. You should approach it as though you were doing a real acting role because you are. I see so many headshots where the actor is flat. Their eyes are dull, lifeless and unfocused, why on earth would that kind of headshot appeal to anyone, especially a casting director?

Personality in your eyes

Feeling comfortable enough to express your own personality is where choosing the right headshot photographer is incredibly important. They will help you and encourage you to express the emotion that gives depth to your eyes. A good headshot photographer is much like a good director giving you inspiration for your very best performance. To be honest I’ve had many actors liken the way I work to that of a good director, which is a huge compliment.

I understand that many actors dislike having their headshots done, they can’t stand the thought of peering into the lens as it makes many actors feel uncomfortable. I understand the reasons for this and luckily I have my techniques for getting around this, as I’m sure many other photographers do too.

Soft, warm eyes in your headshot

What do these eyes say?

Crazy eyes in your headshot

What do these eyes say?

In conclusion

If you want to be noticed by the casting directors if you want the opportunity of more auditions and if you want to book more work then take a good look at your headshot.

Look at your eyes, and ask fellow actors to give an honest opinion about them. And, the crucial thing is to make those decisions in under a second because that’s the time a casting director will spend on your headshot. That’s why your eyes are important in your headshot.

Leave a Reply


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)