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6 tips on how to prepare for headshot photoshoot


If you are an actor, model, dancer or a performer of any kind, you will need to have a good headshot photo to stand out on casting websites, auditions, school applications or on social media. Here are some tips on how to make sure you get the most out of your headshot photoshoot.

1. Keep your hair styled but natural

If your hair is naturally curly, that is what you need to show. If your hair is straight, do no curl it before the shoot. This is especially important for actors. When casting directors are looking for new people for their projects, they reply on your headshots to be as close to your current look as possible. For some other professions such as fitness instructors or singers in a band etc, there is more flexibility with how you want to represent yourself.

Simple hair styling options can bring out different characters so during the shoot we can change your hair around to create different styles and show diversity of your character. How many looks you can create will depend on the length of the shoot and if there is a make-up and hair team at hand to help.

People with long hair: Come to the photoshoot with beautifully clean open hair to show the length of your haircut. Feel free to style your hair a bit, to show off your natural hair at it's best. Bring some hair clips with you as you might want to have an extra photos at the shoot with your hair up. You would not be using them as your main headshot but you might want to have that as an extra content on your applications or on a casting website.

People with short hair: Feel free to style your haircut with some hair products and bring some of it with you to the shoot, to create different looks with a quick change.

2. Wear simple clothing with no patterns

Think of it like this - you do not want anything to distract away from your face, so tops with patterns, detailed design elements or an owerwhilmingly strong colours will draw attention away from what you want people to really concentrate on - your face. The best thing to wear is a one coloured top or a T-shirt (or a simple buttoned shirt, however stay away from white and black colour as well as stripes and patterns). It is great to see your neck line, so high neck tops do not work as well as other styles.

3. Bring few options of clothing with you

It's better to show up with a bag of few clothes rather then not have any options at all. Try to think of different colour options to try out. If you are an actor or dancer and want to show off a varied range of characters, having few jackets or a hoody of different styles and colour to layer over other clothes, would be a quick way to change your look for these extra photos you might want to post.

4. Choose colours that compliment your eyes and skin tone

Using colours in the correct way has got a lot of power to emphasise different elements of your look as well as personality. It can bring out your eye colour, make your hair tone really stand out and compliment your skin. Think of the colour tones that work the best on you and choose the clothes accordingly. Bring lots of options with you and your photographer can help you choose what will work the best on camera and for creating different looks. I suggest using black and white only sparingly for headshot photography and to avoid tones very close to your skin colour. White could works well for layering under other colours and itmes like black leather jackets are great for layering on top to add different character and texture to some shots.

5. Keep your make-up natural

Having a good make-up, can make a big difference on the quality of your photos. Children usually have a great skin and will not need any make-up but adults and teenagers benefit from it for sure. Most men do now have make-up kits of their own but your photographer should have some translucent make-up powder on the shoots and that helps to take away any shiny areas and even out the skin, without looking like you have make-up on.

Women can come to the headshot photoshoots with make-up, as long as it is kept natural looking. That means no false lashes (unless they are permanent ones you can't take off) and daytime make-up with natural skin tones. A good foundation, a bit eye liner, mascara and some natural tones for eyeshadow and light contouring are all fine. Even if there is a make-up artist on the set, if it still a good idea to bring your make-up kit with you.

6. Show the versatility of your look

If you know that you could pull off lots of different characters and looks and if there is time for it during your shoot, show different sides of yourself by changing your clothes, hair and by thinking of different characters and moods in your head. Very important tip: what happens in your head during the photoshoot will show on camera so try to keep your mind engaged and imagine yourself to be different characters you have played in the past of try to channel different personality types. You would be surprised how much different small facial changes can make to your look. Here is an example of Stephen from AKP Management Agency doing a great job of showing the different roles he could be great for casting.

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