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Choosing your Actors Headshot... it's more complicated than you think

Updated: Jan 14, 2019

The question I get asked all the time is: "How do I choose the best headshot that will get me into the audition room or casting call." Well I'm finally going to answer this in my blog post below!

So, you’ve just finished a great photo shoot with your photographer and they send you the gallery link. Gasping in anticipation, you open your file and BAAMM…… you are confronted with 200 shots of your own face and, let’s be honest, you’re feeling a little out of your depth! Especially because your task is to select 4.

OMG! Where on earth do you start? How do you know which one is the magic shot that will get you the casting call? It’s totally and utterly overwhelming, isn’t it?

So in this article, I’m going to give you some tips and ideas as to where to start to select the most appropriate actors headshots that the casting directors are looking for. And you may be disappointed to know that the most suitable ones may not be the prettiest or most flattering shots that are your personal favourite.

The trap that most people fall into is to select a headshot that they think shows them at their very best. In other words, the way they see themselves in the mirror.

But this is not how the Casting Director will see you and the chances are, it will not be the shot that makes the phone ring or the email land in your agent’s inbox inviting you to an audition.

Remember that there is a balance between the photo that you like/thinks represents you and the photo that best represents you and who you really are and what you may represent for a particular role.

So what do you do? Here’s some tactics that you can use to choose the right shot:

1. If you are represented: Share your entire Gallery with your Agent

Even though you might not believe it, your Agent will be your best “friend” when it comes to choosing the ideal shot to represent you. You should be able to trust in their selection as, remember, it is also in their interest to get you in front of as many casting directors for as many roles as possible. If they are experienced and knowledgeable, they will be your best guide.

2. Actor friends, Partners, Family and Friends

Also share your Gallery with a selection of people who surround you in your daily life. People you trust, who are not judgmental, but who can give you an honest and unbiased opinion about which shots show you for who you really are in their eyes. (That said, your mum will definitely choose all the shots of you smiling)

3. Does the image truly represent you and the role you want to be cast in?

Make sure that the image you select is truly representative of you. There may be one or two shots out of 200 which are “edgy” or “aggressive”, but ask yourself, “is this truly representative of the type of character that I can bring to a part”? Getting a casting call for a part that you have been clearly miscast in because of one photo could be very demoralising, so make sure that the photo you select is reflective of who you really are and the part you can live up to, not who you may want to be.

4. Choose the shot that captures you naturally “in the moment”

It’s so important that you choose the shot that captures how you currently are, that reflects your personality and your energy.

Imagine, for one moment that the casting director is standing in front of you, looking directly into your eyes. You want them to see you for what you are and who you are, “warts and all”. Everyone is totally unique and they may be looking for something that they found in you that they didn’t find in someone else, but that they want for a particular role. And it may not be your favourite shot. (Remember the series “Stranger Things”? The casting is brilliant - why? Because each character has something entirely unique and different about them. They don't all look like Justin Beiber or Angelina Jolie* - that would be boring. Embrace your quirks and it may land you the auditions of a lifetime.

*Disclaimer: I do have to remind myself of this on a day to day basis.

So to sum up, make sure that the actors headshot you choose reflects who the casting directors will see at an audition, the one that captures you “in the moment” of who you really are.

If you are still having trouble selecting your most representative shots, talk to me. I am always happy to help!


Gemma x

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