ACTOR HEADSHOT Q&A

 

A headshot is an actor's business card. It's the photo you give to casting directors, have on your social media, and use for the playbill. It should be a current photo that shows personality, confidence, and approachability!

 

How can I prepare for my headshot?

Look at actor headshots online. What do you like about your favorite ones -- the expression? the pose? What are actors wearing in their headshots? If you see a headshot you like particularly, or have an old headshot you're fond of, feel free to bring it to your session.

Think of a phrase or phrases to focus on during your session (see "Do I have to know poses?" for more info)

Get a good night of sleep the night before your session, drink water, relax.

Do I have to know poses?

I will direct you on posing.

Your job is to focus on the "something behind the eyes," the intentionality of your look. One actress I know does math problems in her head during her session. Another thinks about a phrase to achieve the look she's going for (in her case, it was "Don't take my farm!"). Using a phrase to focus your thoughts can help you achieve a look that is engaging.

What should I wear?

The clothes you wear for your headshot should be comfortable and flattering. They are another way to express who you are, but should not compete for attention. Your face is the star of the show! Good choices: long or short-sleeved T-shirts in solid neutral colors, textured tops or sweaters, a low contrast plaid, colors that complement your eye color, or layers (a jacket and t-shirt, for example).  Things to avoid: t-shirts with writing, shiny or frilly clothes, big, bold patterns, plunging necklines, flashy jewelry, clothes that are old, faded, stained, or "pilled". 

What should I bring to my headshot session?

Extra clothes. If you have any doubt about what shirt or top would be good for a headshot, bring it! It is better to bring lots of clothing choices than have just one choice! 

Hairbrush/comb, lipstick, chapstick, eyedrops, hairspray, make-up, etc. -- whatever makes you look good.

Payment. I take cash, check, PayPal, and credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover).

What about professional make-up? 

There are two schools of thought here. One is that by hiring a make-up artist you get professional results, and thereby, a more professional looking headshot. The other is that you probably won't have a make-up artist every time you audition, so it's better to do your own make-up. I'm on the fence. I've seen good and bad make-up jobs. If make-up is important to you, it would be worthwhile to at least consult a make-up artist. If you're interested in getting professional make-up done, please let me know well in advance so that we can schedule the MUA.

How long does a headshot session last?

The Headshot I is a 15-30 minutes session, Headshot II 45-60 minutes, and a Headshot III session 60-120 minutes. Please allow extra time for arrival and departure, clothing changes, etc.

I can't decide which session to get. Any advice?

If you're just starting out as a stage actor, I would suggest a Headshot I. We will get a variety of looks. If you want more images than are included in your session fee, they are available for the price of retouching ($15 per image). If you're an experienced actor or if you've already been accepted by a talent agency, I would suggest a Headshot II or III.

I just looked at my gallery -- whoa, that's a lot of photos! How am I going to choose???

Keep in mind that an actor headshot should show:

  • personality (but not too much -- unless you're auditioning for a role that would especially call for it)
  • confidence (but not smugness)
  • approachability (the director wants to see someone he/she would like to work with)

Your headshot should look like you. It should look like there's "something going on behind the eyes".  It should look intentional. 

I would also add that your actor headshot should look like an actor headshot. It should be in the current style and fit the format (traditional 8x10). That's my job -- to make you look good and look like an actor -- but it's something to keep in mind in the future when you are shopping for an actor headshot photographer.

Do I get to keep all the photos?

The photos in your gallery are "proofs" -- unretouched images. They are available for viewing on the website, but the finished files you receive are always retouched.

There are photos I know you took that aren't in my gallery -- what happened?

When I edit your photos, I take out the blinks, and the out of focus shots, and then I go through and remove the ones where the poses or lighting just didn't work. I try to catch that when I'm shooting, but sometimes only catch it in the editing process.

What do you retouch in a photo?

I retouch non-permanent features -- flyaway hairs, blemishes, dust on a jacket, etc. I also might soften wrinkles if a I feel a make-up artist or different lighting would have made those less noticeable. I'm fairly conservative when it comes to retouching. It's a balance of flattering and realistic. If you have strong feelings about retouching, please let me know!

How long will my gallery be up on your website?

One year.

I have an audition in two days -- do you do rush jobs?

Yes, schedule permitting.

Where can I get prints?

You can print them yourself, at a retail outlet, online, or I can make prints for you (an advantage if you have a rush job for an audition!). See my "Making an Appointment" page for my current print prices: http://www.cynthiadegrand.com/actor-headshots

What ages of actor do you photograph?

All ages.

I've seen 8x10s with the actor's name on the front -- is that necessary?

It's not necessary, but it it does insure that if your resume and headshot should become separated, that the director knows whose photo it is. If you're name is on your digital file, then a director will see your name with your face. If you're undecided, I can provide files with and without your name.

How should I attach the 8x10 headshot and the resume?

Put them back to back, and staple them in the corners