The Perfect Headshot

The perfect headshot is vital for any actor’s career. Headshots are used as part of the application process for actors and a good headshot can help secure the much needed audition. Photographers interested in taking headshots should be aware of a few tips to make the final headshot outstanding.  Although there are many tips and tricks a photographer can use to make unique headshots, it is important to remember that the headshot should resemble the actor at their best, the actor should not be so made up that they do not look like themselves. An inaccurate headshot could jeopardize future roles so use the following techniques to maximize the uniqueness of your client.

One way to create a unique headshot is to experiment with lighting to create shadows. Shadows can create a sense of drama and depth to a headshot portrait. This can help an actor portray a sense of seriousness and secure roles that are dramatic. Experiment with the shadows you can create on the face to add definition to the client’s face. You can also try capturing the shadow cast behind the client as they sit for their headshot. This can help to create visual interest in the image, instead of the classic exclusive shot of the face. Experiment with casting shadows upon the actor’s face with props to draw the viewer’s eye to a particular feature of the face. For example, a shadow cast diagonally across the face covering the nose and part of the left eye, will draw the viewer to the right eye and highlight the beauty of the actor’s eyes.

You can also experiment quite a bit with color in headshots to portray different emotions. Actors are experts at creating facial expressions that portray different emotions and the right color overlay can highlight these emotions. For example, for drama and intense emotions use black and white. Use soft colors to give to emphasize an actor’s sensitivity and vulnerability. Choose your location carefully to match the color setting and again feature the client’s ability to portray different emotions. Indoor studio shots are important, but are rather static and can limit the overall depiction of the actor’s emotional range. Consider heading outdoors for a more natural and approachable feel to the headshot. The outdoor environment will relax the client and you may be able to get the true beauty of the actor to shine through.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that the photographer is in a similar role as the director for the actor they are photographing. You can lead the actor through which emotions to express for the different sessions. Encourage their acting abilities and critique as needed. The photographer is the expert in the set up of the session and should use his skills to guide the actor. You will find improved synergy with the client and as a result an enhanced final product and happier client.



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