Your actor photo for an agency portfolio is called a headshot (not a portrait) and is the best way to grab a casting directors attention, in fact, it is as equally as important as your resume or show reel. Choosing your best actor headshot can be fun and challenging at the same time, and not just a little bit overwhelming on occasion.
What a casting director is looking for is your ability to connect with the camera and communicate through your eyes. Photoshoots outdoors create the perfect medium for powerful actor photos because they encourage spontaneity, creative energy, and excitement that makes your cheeks hurt!
Actor portraits can be outside or in a studio; agencies don’t mind which approach you take as long as you follow their guidelines or criteria. The most important thing is that your personality shines through the photograph and your expression sets you apart from everyone else.
When trying to determine which photographs you need, don’t forget to factor in future roles you might want to apply for. If you have to spend a lot of money on starting your acting portfolio, you might not be able to afford a full branding session.
Look for value and quality in your actor photographer, the money you can save booking my monthly specials can be used to buy props to showcase your niche, for example or put aside for when you want to purchase more from your proofing gallery. What I sometimes suggest is to ‘be ambitious’ during our actor headshot session and aim to generate 15 different personalities or expressions. Only buy what you can afford and showcase one or two powerful actor headshots that are beautiful, expressive and speak volumes of your professionality. Later you can supplement or add to your portfolio with additional photographs purchased at a later date but maintain continuity and quality.
Actor headshots fall into 2 types (commercial and theatrical) and some actor portfolios will present as many as 10 or more architypes or personalities to showcase their versatility (lawyer; teacher; quirky student; mother; best friend; doctor; mechanic). Before you start to panic, it’s helpful to remember that there are essentially only five things to look for on outdoor actor photoshoots:
- Is the background smooth and puts the focus on your face and expression?
- Is the light flattering?
- Do the eyes communicate something?
- Does the thumbnail of the photo show your features clearly?
- Does your actor photo ‘pop’?
I like my outdoor actor photoshoots to be easy-going and relaxed. It’s exciting to wander through parks and along the sea wall finding flattering backgrounds that help tell your story. Walking and chatting is the perfect way to shake off first time nerves and helps even them most camera-shy person relax.
I’m not going to lie, the best light is during the summer months as the winter tends to be dark, windy and wet. However, my clever use of studio lights outdoors creates flattering, crisp and vibrant portraits that make your eyes sparkle and your skin glow with spring-like beauty.
Do you need a sympathetic photographer? The best child actor headshots are taken in public areas – parks, woodlands, seawalls – or sometimes in my garden. Those that love to avoid crowds and prefer quiet areas so they can be photographed unobserved will surely want a bespoke session where I use my clever corner in Ryde that has parking, cover from the rain and has never, ever been overlooked by passer-by’s.
Don’t forget to take the weather into account; on a chilly photoshoot you might not be spending too much time outside (my shortest headshot session was 28 minutes), so depending how many photographs and changes of outfits you need, a monthly special might be an affordable way to update your actor headshots.
If you are ready to improve your actor’s portfolio with some fantastic actor headshots, outdoors in Ryde or using my Seaview homestudio, I would love to help. You can email me on [email protected] ring me on 0771931609 for a conversation about your acting career.