Headshots 101

by Oct 3, 2018

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Although the title may be misleading, the Actors Fund is actually for all those involved in film, theatre or performance.

Your mamma blessed you with a beautiful face. This can work to your advantage when it comes to casting, right? Well not if you don’t have a good headshot, fool! Seriously though, headshots are pretty important. Apart from being essential to getting work as an actor, a good headshot can really give you an advantage and help you stand out from among the crowd. How do you begin the process of getting good headshots though, let alone reach the point where you’re actually holding one in your hand? Well for the wise and inexperienced alike, here is a list of helpful tips.

Ask around

Hopefully you have some friends who are fellow actors or at least some pseudo actor friends on social media (if you don’t have any friends at all in general, making some of those should be your first priority. In order to, you know, be happy. Come talk with us about the headshots later). Reach out to them and ask if they have any suggestions. Better yet, Facebook stalk them and see if they have any headshots posted that you really like! By getting information via your network, you can hear from people who actually experienced working with the photographer, and who were happy with the finished result. That is pretty nice.

Review people’s work and determine your style

What kind of feel are you looking for in regards to your headshot? After getting a couple of recommendations from friends, check out the photographer’s portfolio. Does their taste, and approach resonate with yours? Can you connect with their work? Do you feel like their style will be able to accurately encapsulate what you want to share?

Get the right wardrobe

And now the time has come to pick out what clothes you’ll wear for your headshots! We recommend wearing a shirt that has a really bright, loud, and distracting pattern. You may also want to try socks, accompanied by some comfy crocs (you know something is going to look good when it rhymes). The crocs serve to boost your confidence during the shoot.

At this point, we’re hoping you listened when your teacher told you to actually practice reading things in the 5th grade, instead of skimming, because loud patterns are actually the exact OPPOSITE of what you want. And crocs are just always a bad idea. Instead of bright patterns, stick to solid colors that amplify your natural features. You don’t want to wear anything that is going to distract from the main focus of the picture: you. So wear something classy. Make your parents proud.

Look like yourself

The last thing you need is a headshot that doesn’t even look like you. As such, you’ll probably want to keep your headshot current in regards to the style and color of your hair, and you won’t want a final product that has been photoshopped to death. We’re not saying that photo editing is a bad thing, but we are saying that trying to look like something out of a fashion magazine may not be the ideal goal, because you want to look like a normal human. Your headshot should allow your personality to shine through, and you should look the way that you do on a normal day. Ladies, this probably means not going too crazy with the makeup unless that’s your daily routine. Even then though, remember that you want to show personality and be real. So take that as it applies to you.

It’s all in the eyes, baby

Finally, in both looking over photographer’s portfolios and in choosing which photos of yours to have them edit after your shoot, find photos in which the focus is on the eyes. As they say, the eyes are the window to the soul. Consequently, it may be a good approach to find:

  1. a photographer who really helps capture the life in people’s eyes,
  2. a photographer who knows how to direct the viewer’s focus to the eyes and
  3. something you can think about while getting your photo taken so that you don’t look dead inside.

But you know, do what you want.

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“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.”

― Robert Louis Stevenson

Sources for this article

Photos on Unsplash.


What tips do you have when it comes to headshots? Any local photographers you would recommend? Feel free to comment below!


  1. Jamie Jones

    My son is looking to be an actor. But we have no idea where to begin as far as sending in his headshots. Could please you give me some agency names, email addresses, phone numbers, what it which ever we need?
    Thank you for the assistance.


    Jamie Jones

    • CallBoard Support

      Hey Jamie, it can seem a little daunting at times to start out in this industry. I think you will find it easier then you think. My first headshots were just taken by my sister. They weren’t great but they got me a couple of gigs that paid so I was able to afford a more professional photographer. With your question dealing with local agencies, you are in luck! We put together an entire database of local agencies that you can look at. Here is a link to the page: https://agency.callboard.com/state-talent-agencies/

      We are still adding agencies to this database as we speak. Some States have more than others.

      I hope that this helps! Remember our support team can answer any other questions that you have about getting started. Just email them: [email protected]

  2. Trey Rust

    I’m looking to try and get head shots for a starting acting career in Mississsippi


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