Child Actor Headshot Guide

Isle of Wight Children’s Photography

If you have young performers in your family or are thinking of starting an acting career, you must know why children’s headshots are vital to your career. Children singers, actors and performers need up-to-date headshots for auditions and castings, not only will it help move their career forward, but they look great framed in your home as well. From what to wear so your children look polished and presentable to different types of headshots, you’ll find everything you need to know in this mini-guide. So let’s jump right in!

happy child pink dress

Why do you need polished headshots?

Why get headshots for my children? When you’re first accepted by a casting agency, it’s ridiculously exciting and even I’ve found myself giggling with delight when I see my photographs being used on top agencies’ websites. Even though life has a tendency to take over and updating your children’s headshots slips further and further down your ‘to-do’ list, you quickly realise photographs taken with your phone won’t cut the mustard. Acting agencies and performer profiles have strict guidelines about the type of photographs they will use on their website. When booking your photographer you should ask for the agency guidelines and share them with the photographer. You’ll want to update your children’s headshots as soon as they are accepted by an agency and produce photographs that are:

  • Headshot format (above the head and to the top of the shoulders)
  • Clear profile with natural edits
  • Wearing a neutral block of colour
  • Ranges from facing the camera and turning to one side
  • Outdoors or studio headshots are accepted

You might like: Spotlight headshots for girls

smiling young 8 year old girl

Worried about your children will behave?

My children don’t like being photographed, what should I do? So let’s get this first, most challenging frustration out of the way. Some children (and most adults) will eagerly tell you they don’t like to be photographed. This often stems from bad previous experiences – badly taken photographs and loooooong sessions stood quietly in front of the camera whilst a mute photographer clicks away. If you’re reading this blog, you’ll know that I specialise in camera-shy children looking to update their headshots. I can recommend:

  • Talking to your children ahead of time (explain to them why you’re hiring a photographer)
  • Inviting the children to pick their outfits (so they are involved in the process)
  • Playing with your children during the session (I like to keep the sessions fun and engaging)

As with adults, keeping things fun and easy-going generates stress-free smiles.

You might like: 5 ways camera-shy people create flatting photos

giggling girl sits on chair

First time in a studio?

I’m new to children’s headshots – what should I expect? All good photographers start with a consultation. I ask you questions about the photographs you need and whether you have any auditions coming up, from there I can tailor the photoshoot to your specific needs. I then talk you through the stages of the headshot experience, explaining the purpose behind each pose and the benefits of standing in certain ways as I photograph you. As a general guide here’s what typically happens before, during and after your headshot photoshoot, and what else you can expect from your children’s headshot experience.

  • Before your photographer will confirm what to wear and how long the session will take. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.
  • On the day As soon as you arrive the photographer will talk you through the session, confirming what types of photographs you need. If you’re meeting in a studio the space will be set up so you can start shooting straight away.
  • Afterwards children’s headshot photographers tend to share your photographs via an on-line gallery. You can pick the photographs you want and they will be edited within 72 hours.
  • What else to look out for – during my sessions I tend to share my tips and tricks to photographing well and my clients share how useful they are.

8 year old actor smiles

What to wear for headshots

What should children wear for headshots? If you’ve never experienced a children’s headshot before, you might not know quite what to pack. Most photographers offering children’s headshots will have their own preferred choice of clothes. They will send you their guidelines and welcome books catering to their own style. However, there are general rules that everyone follows:

  • Pack 3 tops
  • Solid blocks of colours
  • No logos or patterns
  • Long sleeves
  • Items that are tailored to the body
  • Washed and ironed clothes

You might like: What to wear to professional headshots

child actor wears glasses

Update Often

How often should I update my children’s headshots? Children’s headshots should be current and up-to-date. Children grow very quickly and the minimum you need to do is update them once a year. Also update children’s headshots if:

  • Hair colour, cut or style changes
  • You have new glasses
  • Once growth spurts change their body composition
  • If boys start to grow facial hair

Here’s an example of a teen that will need to update his headshots soon.

children’s headshots stripy t shirt

Retouching for children’s headshots

Should I edit my children’s headshots? During your children’s headshot portraits, you can natter with the photographer as much or as little as you like. Never be afraid to ask lots of questions that may make your photographers more polished and professional. Just before we say goodbye, I always ask, “how much Photoshop you would like on your portraits?”

As a rule of thumb, children’s headshots need very little editing because of their youthful completions. If there are marks from wearing glasses, teenage breakouts or tan lines, these can be edited out, however, you want to leave permanent features like beauty spots, freckles and scars as they showcase your children’s unique features. The casting director wants to recognise your children as they walk through the door for the audition. Here’s an example of a girl’s teen portfolio that looks fresh and natural.

I’ve left no stone unturned in supplying you with helpful resources about children’s headshots. If you can’t find answers to what you are looking for then give us a call and I’ll answer your questions personally.

If you have any questions about my home studio or booking your first corporate headshot, call Amanda Herbert Photography at +44 (0)7719316609 or use the email below


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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