Cynthia DeGrand Photographer | 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 lighting? the expression? the background? the pose? What are actors wearing in their headshot? 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.

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

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, simple stripes, or a low contrast plaid. Colors that complement your eye color can be very effective.  Things to avoid: t-shirts with writing, shiny or frilly clothes, big, bold patterns, plunging necklines, and flashy jewelry. 

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, chapstick, eyedrops, hairspray, make-up, etc. Whatever makes you look good.

Payment. I take cash, check, and online PayPal.  :)

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.

How long does a headshot session last?

The Headshot I is a 15-20 minutes session, Headshot II 35-45 minutes, and a Headshot III session 60-90 minutes. Professional make-up usually takes an hour or so.

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


You use a white background for many of your photos -- do you have other background colors?

Yes --  black, gray, brown, and blue. 

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. 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!

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:

What ages of actor do you shoot?

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. 

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

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