Acting Headshots Guide – Everything an Actor Needs to Know

Acting Headshots Guide – Everything an Actor Needs to Know

Acting headshots are one of the most fundamental marketing tools for aspiring actors. It’s important to get a set of professional-looking headshots done the minute you decide to pursue a career in the acting industry. And here, people need to understand that snapshots are largely looked down upon as they make you look unprofessional, so steer clear of having your best friend take your “headshot” on the bar with an iPhone.

Casting directors and agents pay close attention to how professional and decent an acting headshot looks, and it can tell them how well the actor is prepared or understands the industry. That said, the topic of headshots can be puzzling to budding actors just entering the industry:

In this post on acting headshots, I’ll guide all the actors through this headshot thing. There’s no doubt that a bunch of headshots by professional headshot photographers in London can make your career, since casting directors and talent agencies go for headshots that stand out, or in their lingo “that pop.”

Standards for headshots

When it comes to acting headshots, things are pretty straightforward. You might not appreciate every little photography-based technicality that contributes for a perfect headshot, but casting directors who see hundreds of them every hour love photographs that vibrantly engage with them and tell the “actor’s story” just from a single headshot alone.

A good headshot that meets industry standards is the one that is comprised of the right lighting with a steadfast pose and a promising expression on the face.

Size and Layout

Normally, an acting headshot is an 8”×10” photograph, which is the standard size for the UK and US media industry. Therefore, it’s advised never to use a headshot that’s bigger or smaller than this in size.

headshot photographer will take a photograph in both the landscape and portrait position. Both of these are totally acceptable.

Colour of headshot

Just a few years ago, the UK media industry was still dominated by black & white headshots. However, every year, British talent agents and casting directors are now only open to coloured headshots, which is why we are now seeing more of them .

Keep them up to date

Every actor should make sure that their headshots are always fresh or up to date, which means they should exactly look like them. Casting directors or talent agents wouldn’t want to invite a person with long hair and get to see a bald guy in the audition. This will likely ruin your relationship with your CD/agent, and you will most definitely lose the chance of getting more offers from them.

Whenever you change your look, hairstyle, get a face tattoo – your headshot must be updated too to reflect your current look. It’s a standard practice, and not following such rules might put you in the “blacklist”.

How to nail your headshot

Whenever you go to a headshot photographer, there are a couple of things to keep in mind to make them pop but also not make it look “too much fancy.” Remember, you’re trying to present the ‘you’ and how you look in real life; this is not for your modelling portfolio, thus looking natural is the key here.

A few key points to keep in mind when getting your acting headshots:

  • Light make-up is recommended
  • Absolutely no piercing in the nose, ears, eyebrows, or wherever you normally have them, but bring them so we can take some character shots
  • No extra accessories (e.g., jewellery, necklaces, hats, etc.) other than glasses, if you wear them.
  • If you do wear glasses, have some photos with them, and some without.
  • No “busy” looking clothing. Plain colour is best, pay attention to different necklines and bring layers. Layers create nice framing to the picture


I’m quite positive that this post has made you realise how headshots are some serious business, and thus, hiring headshot photographers in London to do the job is the only right way to do it. If you are an actor looking to upgrade your headshots, get in touch with me!

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