Actor Headshot Photography Tips

What is good actor headshot photography?

If you’re an actor and want to land more castings, catch the eye of agencies, and win the role, then you need a professional headshot. As a professional, female photographer I create actor headshot photography that help actors look their best and stand out from the competition.

Updating your headshots is an important part of your acting career. If you want to make sure you look your best and stand out from the competition, then getting good actor headshots is essential. It can be difficult to find time to get headshots taken, but it’s definitely worth it if you want to improve your chances of landing roles.

There are a few things you should keep in mind when preparing for actor headshot photography:

  • Make sure to get a good pose and facial expression.
  • Use natural-looking lighting and props if possible.
  • Try to get headshots that show your natural features and expressions.
  • Have your headshots retouched by a professional

Related: Outdoor actor headshots

child actor wears glasses

What to look for in a photographer

You need an actor headshot photographer who knows how important the session is to you, and cares as much as you do to get the most out of it.

With my professional experience as an actor headshot photographer, I have taken hundreds of actor headshots since I opened my business in 2015. When it comes to actor headshot photography for castings, I know what casting directors require and what makes the agent’s job easier.

This is what I look for in a good actor headshot photographer, consider the following:

  1. How flexible is their studio diary? I know you’re busy, and so is my schedule. I will book a time to meet you within 24-48 hours of receiving your booking, and we will set up a date to meet your deadlines.
  2. How consistent is their portfolio? You can try these two things. One, look at their past blog posts so you can get a sense of their experience and quality of work. Two, use google search images to see what the archives tell you about their photography. You are looking for a repeatable style that is polished and professional.
  3. What do their reviews say? When it comes to making a big purchase, such as actor headshot photography, many people turn to online reviews to help them make their decision. But what do these online reviews say about the photographer you’re interested in? Google will flag up the most repeated adjectives that customers use to describe their experience. Most people describe my service as professional, affordable, friendly and quality.
  4. Do they understand the industry? Everyone arranges new headshots for specific reasons and their purposes is unique to their circumstances. Do you need a photographer that is familiar with Spotlight, casting agencies, digital casting, show reels, performances and graduate shows? Photographers with a deep understanding of your ‘why’ will provide you with the perfect headshot.
  5. Seek advice Ask your agent what they think. Look at where your friends had their acting headshots taken. Use message boards for their advice.

It’s hard to get the job done behind the camera and in front of a camera if you don’t have a professional photographer who you trust and who understands you. If, however, you are on the same wavelength as the photographer, then working closely with each other will be a breeze.

Related: Check out my google reviews here

lovely woman wears hat

How do you prepare?

When preparing for a headshot session, actors should come with clean hair and makeup. They should also bring several outfit changes, as well as different props that could be used in their shots.

It’s important to be well-rested and relaxed for the shoot, so actors should arrive early and plan to spend some time chatting with the photographer before getting started.

Ahead of my sessions, I send out two eBooks, and a ‘Welcome Guide’ so you understand the process from start to finish. And a ‘Style Guide’ so you feel confident in your outfit choices.

Headshots that look fresh and polished need:

  • Clean and simple hair, clothes and makeup
  • Clothing should be simple and comfortable
  • Solid colours with long sleeves
  • Discrete jewellery
  • Uncluttered backgrounds
  • Pose naturally

The night before pack your bag, put the details of your photographer on your phone and get a good night’s rest. On the day of your headshot, I tend to greet my clients with a cup of tea or coffee as we look through our wardrobe choices.

The experience starts with an orientation to the Isle of Wight studio, where we will talk about what photographs you need and where you will use them. It’s a time to get to know each other and shake off any nerves.

Related: Performer headshots

actor teenager smiles

Should you smile in acting headshots?

In today’s society, people are often judged by their appearance. This is especially true in the entertainment industry, where actors and actresses are often judged by their headshots. Headshots are photos used to promote an actor or actress and are typically used on casting websites, agent websites, and social media.

There is a lot of debate among actors and actresses about whether or not they should smile in their headshots. Some people believe that smiling makes you look too happy and that you should appear more serious. Others believe that smiling makes you look friendly and approachable.

I believe that smiling makes you look more friendly and approachable. I also think that it shows that you’re confident in yourself and your abilities.

At the start of every session I ask two questions:

  • What roles are you cast for?
  • What new roles is your agency looking for?

Actors often develop several personas during their career and this is reflected in their portfolio. Whilst photographing Peter below, his agent asked for a friendly dad next door, a mysterious man with angst and something commercial.

During our actor headshot photo sessions, I’ll cycle through these personas by directing you through the actions and helping bring your character’s expression to life.

Related: 3 easy ways to be more confident in your headshots

actor wears grey shirt

Afterwards: what to do with your photos

The purpose of headshots is to showcase a talent’s appearance and personality.

In the entertainment industry, headshots are commonly used to promote actors and actresses. This is how casting directors determine who they would like to hire for roles in their next production. Talent agencies use these images to quickly assess whether or not they wish to work with an actor as a client.

Therefore, aspiring and experienced performers must provide a nice headshot to their potential employers, such as casting directors and talent agencies. For actors and actresses, headshots are a way to convey their potential and strengths to potential employers. They also help actors and actresses demonstrate how they look on film.

Actor portrait cheeky smile

Are you an actor looking for an edge in the competition? Do you want to snag that role you’ve been dreaming of? Then look no further than the actor headshot by photographer extraordinaire, Amanda Herbert.

Our professional photography will help make your headshot stand out from the rest. Agencies and casting directors will take notice when they see your amazing photo, and you’ll be one step closer to achieving your dream career.

My sessions teach you how to look confident in your actor headshot photography. Book now at +44 (0)7719316609 or use the email below. Being Isle of Wight-based, I often conduct actor headshot photography outdoors around Ryde and in my Seaview home studio. Get in touch now.


Please contact the Isle of Wight Studio on +44 (0)1983 617383

or Mandy on +44 (0)7719316609 email or use the contact form below


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