Top Tips to Choosing the Right Headshots

One of the secret, and least discussed killers of actor marketing is poor image selection. I can’t even recall how often I speak with actors before an artist headshot session, flesh out and jot down their goals, and consult on looks and wardrobe to sell those goals, only to get the post-shoot retouch email and see a whole lot of none of those decided goals showcased in their selection of headshot.

Your photographer can capture the best, most targeted headshots in the world, but it’s all for nothing if you don’t have the eye for picking the right ones!

Why it’s the most common mistake that actors make? It’s simple: Unlike brands and agencies who have creative directors to help in image selection, actors, more often than not, are their own creative director.

Luckily, there are a few key steps you can take to ensure your image selection is not the reason why you aren’t getting any roles. The following is a list of tactics that will help you selecting images like a pro creative director.

Firstly, get detached

Before you sit down to complete the mission selection, take a deep breath. For the next few hours, you’re not looking at images of yourself: you’re looking at professional headshots for actors targeting X, Y, and/or Z.

Choose based on essence, message, expression, and posture alone

That one flyaway hair can be cleaned later in photoshop, but your expression in the shot has to be just right. You may like the background of one photo more than the other, but if your essence is dull, the background won’t get any casting director.

More importantly, the detachment mentioned earlier has to come into play now. In an ideal image selection session, you’re ignoring your baby hair and that bump on your nose or your slightly smaller left eye. Instead, you’re focused on the authenticity, energy, and message roaring off the screen.

In other words, don’t just look at your shots, feel them.

Be thorough, one sub-look at a time

Dare to spread your forces thin. As you scroll through your artist headshots, pay attention to one sub-look at a time. If you’re looking for a comedic flair, that’s all you should be looking for at this time. All those sultry, dramatic shots will have their turn later, but for now, you are only focusing on the comedic essence.

Make hand cropping your best friend

Most people don’t realize this, but where your eye is in the frame can make your image more or less dynamic. Therefore, a crop can help you appear more or less dynamic. To avoid missing out on the gold, turn your hand into an L, close one eye, and explore different crops!

Be honest

Can’t stress this enough, literally. Choose only the shots that convey the authentic you; what you do better than others and what unique flair you offer. It doesn’t serve you to select a shot that portrays you the way you want to come off. It only serves you to choose a shot that depicts what your audition will deliver.

Take help from your friends

Don’t sit down and stress over this task alone. Ask a few trusted people to narrow down your selection. Just choose the best 30 pic, and ask your friends/teachers/colleges which ones they think represent you the best.

Pro tip: refrain from taking suggestions from your mom because if so, you’re going to end up with smiley shots only.

Remember, it’s not about professional headshots for actors opening every door but more about them opening the right ones.

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