How to best prepare for your session and how to choose the final images.
HOW TO BEST PREPARE FOR YOUR HEADSHOT SESSION
I believe to look your best in the images the preparation should start a little ahead of the day of the session. The steps are quite simple - make sure you drink plenty of water few days before the shoot, and avoid alcohol, especially the night before - it will not only make you feel tired, but will make your eyes puffy. If you’re thinking of getting a haircut, make sure you do it about a week or two beforehand - we all know that weird feeling right after your hair changes, and it doesn’t feel 100% just yet. Let it settle, and it will help you feel more comfortable on the day. Any intense skin treatments or face masks should be scheduled ahead of the session as well - there could be “side effects” which you wouldn’t want to show up on the images.
It helps making sure you know what you’re looking to get from the session in terms of looks. During our time together I make sure we go over a variety of looks - but not just different costumes and angles. I try to achieve a little story in each image, so we cover different types of scenarios. I believe it’s important to have some images that are confident, smiley and positive, but also some commercial / business looks, as well as some happy / sad / angry. You want to convey a different range of emotions - you won’t send an image with you smiling or looking rather happy for a gritty role of someone who may be grieving or is ill. You want all your bases covered. If you have an agent, have a chat with them regarding what kind of a casting type they think you have, so we’re not trying to achieve something that doesn’t work and that they’ll have trouble submitting you for. When we’re shooting, I keep my eyes out for things that may work well for your look that we could take advantage of. Also, think about the roles you want to get - have a list of characters you would like to play, and feel free to let your imagination run wild during our session. It makes it much more fun!
Make-up and clothes - I advise to keep the make-up to minimum as the headshots need to show you naturally - this is so that when you’re going for an audition, the casting directors can recognise you and the make-up won’t distract from the role you’re going for and they can envision you doing it. After all, you don’t want to have images with really strong make-up when - for example - they are looking for someone who is a mother with kids and may not have time for that. The best clothes that work really well are all soft, toned, earthy colours - black, grey, navy, burgundy, brown, dark greens. Ideally no stripes or any quirky patterns as these take away from what’s supposed to be mainly in focus - your face. As well, make sure that whatever clothes you bring or buy ahead of the session, you definitely feel good and comfortable in. You don’t want anything to be distracting your attention.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT HEADSHOTS
All of us want to look our best and present ourselves as confident and professional. You want to convince the casting directors, agents, directors / producers that not only you can do it - you can do the role they’re looking to cast - but also that you are a professional performer who knows what they are doing. You want to come across as personable, reliable, easy going; someone who takes direction easily, and most importantly - has an interesting story to tell. You need to focus on choosing those images that describe you best - when you look at them, they feel like you. What is also very important to consider is that there is a clear thought process behind your eyes. You don’t want a blank shot - there should be a story there that attracts attention, that makes us want to know more.
As I mentioned before, it’s good to cover all your bases - so you should try and make sure that you have a variety of different emotions in your final choices. Something confident and positive, but also a little bit sad / melancholy, as well as serious, focused. You need to be able to pick the right photo that would suit the role you’re applying for. You don’t want to send an image of you looking very business-like when you’re applying for a role of a teenager, for example.
Asking for the opinion of others is always helpful, including people who may not be part of the industry - you never know what they may notice that makes a particular image different from the rest. Always make sure you trust their opinion. I am always happy to help you choose from the final selection of images you narrowed down. Please be aware it’s very time consuming for me personally to go through the entire lot, so I can only do it within the ones that you are personally drawn to after checking all of them. This is to ensure that you choose the images you like the most and you think do the best job of representing you. After all, it’s your name that will be attached to them, you need to make sure you are happy with how you’re pictured in these images.
Most importantly, enjoy it. I totally understand how nerve wracking it may be, especially if it is your first time, but getting your headshots done should be associated with you getting the parts you dream of. Think about where you want to go in your acting career. Feel empowered by that goal and project that into your images. That’s what will make them stand out.