Headshot Tips - Dos and Dont's
I've been a headshot photographer for a little while now, and the most frequently asked question I hear from actors is; What do I wear?
The answer is both simple, and complicated...
I'm gonna level with you, as an actor, when it comes to getting my own headshots done I too still find myself riffling through my wardrobe looking for the "right" neckline and colour and shape and style to best flatter me. But all you really need to do is to look like YOU... on a good day!
I always tell actors to bring along a bunch of clothes with different neck lines, in muted tones, dusty colours, greys and blacks. And a variety of styles, dressy, casual and a couple of different jackets for an edgy look if that's what they're going for. I also want to know about the person, so when the actor shows up, I get a feel for their energy, their vibe, I view their showreel before the booking if I can so I know where their strengths lie, and then when we shoot, I aim to capture that. But not all photographers will do that. Some are exceptionally technically trained and others have a great eye for capturing the glamour or a certain type of character. I like to capture the essence of the human I'm photographing in a still moment of neutrality. Of being-ness in a relaxed state. So when an actor asks me what to wear for their headshots, I ask them a series of questions;
- Who are you?
- If you were played by a character in a biopic film, what would that character wear?
- What/who do you want to be cast as?
- What are your acting strengths now? (not where you see yourself later, but what you're good at TODAY)
- What colours do people say suit you?
- What would you wear to an audition casting?
Go through your wardrobe and ask these questions of yourself. Then eliminate any clothes that have branding, strobing stripes or tacky fashion embellishments. Keep it simple but interesting. And if all else fails, just bring your whole wardrobe and let the photographer choose. ;)
Hair & Make-up: Some men like to start a shoot with a beard/stubble and shave half way through, or book two shoots a couple of weeks apart so they can have a bearded look and clean shaven look. Fresh, lightly styled hair is the best bet. It doesn't need to be extravagant. Ladies, be sure not to wear too much makeup. You can go with none at all if you're really wanting to do the natural look. But my opinion is that it's best to go with natural looking high definition make-up, cheap make-up with light reflecting minerals can make you look washed out, so do a search for the best photography ready make-up brands and go with what works for your budget. Alternatively, your photographer will be able to recommend a professional makeup artist that can take care of it for you.