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Basic Headshot Guidelines
A headshot is used for many reasons, but being an Actor (whether experienced or not) you need a good headshot to supply to your potential employer. Your headshot is used by casting directors, casting associates talent agents, directors and producers to simply give them a picture of you before they decide whether or not you are right for the role they have been advertising.
Your headshot is primarily a photograph used by casting directors who use your photo as a way to see who they may be hiring for work in their next piece of filming. It is, put rather simply, a photograph taken from the shoulders upwards - so, a photograph of your head and neck, with perhaps a little bit of shoulder thrown in. However, in the last year or so, 3/4 photos, photos taken from the waist up to show a better overall picture of yourself, have come into vogue. Yet, the standard headshot remains the most popular style.
Okay, so your actor's headshot should be a particular standard size that most people in the industry use - 8 x 10 inches in size. However, sometimes with movie extra work, the casting associate or extras casting agency will just require a 3" x 5" photo. Depending upon the type of job or audition you are attending, you might want to ask which type of photo you should supply.
At a point where you might be seeking just movie extra work, then a standard photo will suffice. This can help keep the cost of your headshot to a minimum. The best photos are those that are not staged, however, there is still a requirement for your headshot to appear professional.
Your headshot should be a recent photo, so that casting directors can see how you look right now. You can supply your actor's headshot in black and white or color if you prefer, as this is fast becoming the industry norm.
I have to add at this point that my actual opinions at this stage are that if you are only just starting your acting career then you should really be concentrating on saving yourself some money and not paying a professional to take your headshot. I say this because it is all too easy to succumb to paying a 'nice price' on one photo that might have to be changed the next time you cut/color your hair. Remember this potential employer of yours - he wants to see how you look right now, not six months ago when you were 5lbs lighter/heavier!
As a final word, please remember that your actor's headshot and resume together is the most important tool that you can possibly use when it comes to finding work. The more time you spend finding out about how to take your headshot, the more likely you are to be successful with that particular casting. Good Luck.
Aimee Mitchell is an acting coach, short story author, community theater director and playwright. She has spent the better part of her adult life working with young actors and actresses.
Copyright © Aimee Mitchell. All rights reserved. Used with permission of the author. Not to be reproduced or distributed.
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