The first thing you need to understand is your headshot isn’t actually for you. It’s for the viewer of it. So you need to create your headshot with the viewer in mind. Have you heard of the term “bitch face”? Have you ever walked down the street, a person walks past and You jump to the side and think, “whoa, she’s not having a good day!” or, “Geez, I’d hate to bump into him in a dark alley!” These are all examples of your brain’s unconscious kicking in and applying an emotion or feeling to what you are looking at. With headshots, we want to take advantage of that knee-jerk reaction but instead, evoke a specific reaction that positions you to your favor.
I’ve had a lot of time thinking about what makes a headshot work and the experience to solidify all the little pieces that go into building what I like to call, a successful headshot. But first, let’s talk about what the big deal is about headshots. I mean, do you really need one? Is it really that important that you pay someone to take a picture of you? Let’s look there first.
I’m sure you’ve seen at least one or two of his shows at some point in late night TV, that’s if you’re not already an avid watcher. But Jimmy Fallon has shared a little throwback to his early days and posted hi first ever acting headshot for us all to have a little giggle with.
My business as a headshot photographer has me work with a lot of people and after a while trends are very apparent. One very popular trend upon meeting people for the first time is that they apologize, they apologize for not being very photogenic or that they just don’t look good in pictures so it’s ok that these headshots won’t turn out good. They don’t just say that out of jest, they actually mean it and believe it!
Here it is from the horse’s mouth. What do they really look for in a headshot when casting a role. It goes to show that it is so important to think ahead of your shoot and decide what you want to show. Which character are you? Are you the bad guy? The good guy? The shy guy? The funny guy? Whoever you are targeting for the shoot deserves as much attention and rehearsal as if you were preparing for an audition. WHen you get to the studio for the shoot, talk with your photographer before you start so that they know what’s up.
If you’re an avid traveler, there is a little bugger waiting to rear its ugly little head. I noticed it a little while back getting ready for a trip abroad. Passports have an expiry date.