Ok, so lots of actors want to know the secret to getting called into the casting room. It’s not really a secret, more common sense that your headshots are your most important marketing materials. If you don’t get them right, your career suffers. Simple. If you want to know the 5 headshot hacks to get you in the casting room you’ll want to keep reading.
Before we discover these all important hacks, I need to make it absolutely clear that cutting corners equals career death. Getting a friend with a good camera to take your headshots may save you a few pennies in the short term, but in the long term you won’t be earning the pennies, not from acting at least. If you’re calling yourself a professional actor you must give off the vibe that you’re a professional and not a blagger! Pro photographers know all about lighting and techy stuff that’s super important and makes you look your best.
It’s important you choose a photographer that can help relax you, connects with you and one who knows a thing or two about acting. I recommend Kate McDonald Photography (and I’m not getting paid to say this). As an actress herself she totally gets what’s at stake with your pics. There are thousands of photographers out there, choose yours wisely.
Once you’ve chosen your photographer you have to make the session count if you’re going to stand a good shot at getting called into the casting room.
5 HEADSHOT HACKS TO GET YOU IN THE CASTING ROOM
- EAT WELL – on the run up to your session get lots of restful, uninterrupted sleep, lay off the booze, sugary foods, fizzy pops and caffeine and eat foods that are great for clearing your skin. Some of these foods are walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, strawberries, bell peppers, sweet potatoes and butternut squash to name a few. Drinking plenty of water will also help your skin look its best. Eating well will has the added benefit of helping you feel great about yourself so you ooze confidence.
- CLOTHING – Choose neck lines that suit you and aren’t distracting, avoid stripes and patterns as they can upstage the main part (your lovely face) and keep it simple with the colours – but do make sure the colours you choose make your skin and eyes pop. All attention should be drawn to your face and eyes and nothing else.
- MYSTERY – Eyes, eyes, eyes. It’s all in the eyes when it comes to your head shot. There should be something going on behind them that creates mystery and intrigue. All human beings (not just casting directors & directors) love to solve mystery’s. Naomi Watts got her break at 32 when a director wanted her for a role because of the “look in her eye” in her headshot (source The Guardian).
- CHARACTER – Your headshots should subtly indicate your casting type (if you’re not sure what your casting type is, my blog “What is your casting type” will help you). For example if playing the girl or boy next door is your thing, you want to make sure you get some great shots that work with that – this is where a good photographer who knows about acting comes in. Please don’t bring props to your session to show your type; they’re not needed. However if you wear glasses you may want some shots with and without them, the same goes for beards guys!
- AIRBRUSHING – Don’t pick your prettiest picture when your photographer sends over your contact sheet (a sheet full of every pic took in the session) and make sure your photographer goes easy on the airbrushing. Yes your ego will love a flawless you, but will it truthfully represent you or will it piss the casting director off that a model hasn’t walked through the door? Choose the pictures that actually look like you, even if you think “gosh my nose looks a bit big in that shot”. We’ve all got hang ups but you must embrace everything; the laugh lines, the bags… They add character to your face. You can’t airbrush them out in the casting room can you? Leave the pretty pics for your mum’s mantle piece!
BONUS HEAD SHOT HACK
Actors are expected to be completely comfortable in front of the camera, but it’s just not the case for some. Having someone so close to you and knowing the attention is all on you can be pretty daunting, especially if your hang ups get the better of you. My bonus tip is to let your photographer know you’re likely to be nervous and practice relaxation technique before you get in the studio.
These 5 headshot hacks to get you in the casting room are your key to looking professional and getting a killer picture. Which of these hacks did you love? And which one will you be using when you get your head shots taken? Let me know in the comments box below.
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