To help you prepare for your headshot session, I have found some fantastic resources online to help get the most from your shoot with me.
As you can see from the images above, my client bought many clothes along to create different looks for his actors portfolio. If in doubt bring as much with you as you can. Variety really helps you get the most from your shoot.
If you’re too busy to read the following text then I highly recommend viewing the video above with tips from some of the leading headshot photographers in the UK today.
Also there is great advice on the photography comparison site Headshot Hunter; “What you need to know about headshots”
The following informative text is based on an article from the University of Southern Indiana
Preparing For An Acting Headshot Photography Session
As the date of your photography session gets closer, give yourself time to seriously think about hair and clothing. That way you will be more confident with your choices and still have time for a last-minute brainstorm. If you get stuck looking for suitable tops to wear, stores such as H&M have a great selection of T-shirts in various colours at a low price. Give haircuts a few days to fall into place, and gentlemen please shave your face at a time that leaves you neither too rough nor too red. Before your session ensure you have eaten properly that day as shoots require lots of energy and focus. Get a good nights rest the night before, even if you are not scheduled until late in the afternoon. Drink plenty of water. The water will help your skin to appear smooth and clear in the week leading up to your headshot session. Also, if you arrive overheated and sweaty you’ll have to cool down before the photographer can begin to shoot. This is simply because your photographer cannot shoot an actors headshot when you are glistening, as this will show up clearly as shiny patches around your face. Worse still if you are perspiring heavily, this will show up clearly as beads of moisture and ruin your actor’s headshot.
Another thing to think about is the photographer’s time. Arriving late or not being ready to shoot when you do arrive, can lead to rush or shortened sessions as the next client may be arriving shortly. Who Should Take Your Acting Headshots? A photographer, who is familiar with the conventions of the talent headshot business. Your local family portrait studio is probably not right for the job. What Is An Acting Headshot? It’s an 8×10 photograph of you, as you look right now, showing how you connect with the camera. The more professional your headshot, the better represented you will be in the industry. The director wants to see two things from a headshot: What you really look like, and if you can connect with the camera. The photo should be about you, not the background or the environment or a photographer’s fancy tricks. Producers want to see if you’re professional.
Inspiration and practice
I suggest to clients to have a look at headshots online. Go on Pinterest for example and search for Actors Headshots and have a look at what expressions the actors are making. Headshot posing is subtle but practicing in the mirror and researching some looks is a good idea in advance.
Headshot Photos – What To Wear
The best clothes to wear during a headshot photo shoot are a widely debated topic. The following is a version of what I have discovered.
• Plain & simple, not dated, not too trendy.
• No Logos: Okay. NO WRITING ON YOUR SHIRT.
• I want to focus on your eyes and not be distracted by your clothing.
• I would like to see you in a solid colored shirts/tops of varying colours that compliment your skin tone. Please no dayglo colours, stripes, logos, or patterns. Don’t bring too much white.
• Limited Jewelry: Avoid distracting accessories, such as large, shiny jewelry. If you have a pierced ear, wear studs or small hoops. No matter how much you love your gold necklace, remember it will take the focus away from your face.
• No polka dots, no wild prints, and no distracting stripes. Clothing of this type can have a tendency to distract the viewer from the most important subject in your photos, you. Pastel colors are typically not recommended. You should avoid anything that clashes with your skin tone. Colors that compliment your skin tone are appropriate.
• Neckline: Is your neck short or long? A V-neck lengthens the neck; a round neckline shortens it. A collar frames the face well, without taking away length from your neck. A collared shirt with a V-neck or a few buttons undone is most popular. Turtlenecks completely hide the neck, which is very unflattering, and should be avoided.
• You will need to be comfortable in the clothing you wear.
• Remember your headshot is your marketing/sales tool.
• Denim / Leather jackets: Sometimes they work. Bring it along and we’ll see.
• No shiny PVC or obvious pleather: Screams “over the top”. It limits your potential and distracts from your face.
• Glasses: If you always wear glasses, keep them on for the photo shoot. Lighting can be adjusted to eliminate glare. In difficult cases, the lenses can sometimes be removed from the frames, but it is very important to maintain a natural, comfortable look
• Subdued/No Patterns: Avoid bold colours especially dayglo and crazy patterns. They will present a distraction.
• Light to dark colors are fine, as long as it doesn’t match or come close to your skin tone. Wear items that provide some contrast to your skin tones.
• Don’t wear a turtleneck.
• Avoid blouses with padded shoulders.
• Don’t try to fit in to something too small.
• Women should bring the correct bra colors for the wardrobe. (please remember to wear a flesh-toned bra under white garments!) Bring a strapless bra for vest tops with small straps.
• Men should bring newish t-shirts in different shades if possible, and a shirt or two. Jackets, hoodies, can also alter looks to gain more variety.
• Please Iron and Launder your clothes.
•Check your hair and face in a mirror before we begin!
Makeup Tips – How to Apply Makeup for Photographs
Skin Features: Do not hide your skin’s personality! Flaunt your freckles. They are a part of what makes you unique. Unique features are what make others sit up and take notice. Of course, if the day of the shoot you are sporting a monstrous zit, use some light makeup, but I’ll magically heal it! Generally speaking, unusual attractive features are an asset. Who would ever want to say good-bye to Harrison Ford’s chin scar? Avoid heavy makeup! Headshots have a natural look to them. During finishing of your selected images, we will take care of blemishes and other ‘artifacts’ on your skin during the basic retouch process. Heavy makeup tends to look caked up. Remember that my cameras and lenses produce images at a high definition and my job is to flatter you, but your headshot has to look like the person that walks into the audition space! Ladies with straight hair: You want to frame your face, so if your hair is very straight and long, give it some body to accentuate your face. Haircut: Don’t cut your hair the day before your shoot! It will look like you just got a haircut. Give your hair a week after a cut to relax. Remember, it’s all about the eyes! How important are the eyes? They are critical to making your headshot stand out. The wow factor! The eyes define a person. They are the windows into that person’s soul. The eyes are one of, if not the single most, important parts of a portrait photograph. It is the first feature noticed. It is also one place where a little post-processing can really make a portrait shine. And your “theater” look is the closest to your natural self in the most positive sense when you are rested, relaxed in a positive frame of mind and raring to go. For this shot feel free to let your own personal sense of style come through, within the bounds of how you are likely to be cast. Character actors should not dress as ingénues and vice versa.
Here are some great videos from YouTube that I highly recommend watching.