Saturday, November 23, 2013

Is Your Headshot Working as Hard as You Are?

Peter Newman

One of the most important tools in an actor’s toolbox is their headshot. A headshot is not just a fancy picture — it is your calling card. As a working actor, acting teacher and photographer, I know first-hand how your headshot is the most prominent image that casting directors are left with after you leave an audition. A headshot remains as a constant reminder to the casting director of who you are as a performer. Your personality in the audition becomes attached to the headshot, and a great headshot becomes the easiest first line of offense in a competitive market where actors are always pushing boundaries to make a lasting impression.

When first preparing your headshot, it is important to know what genre of roles or characters fit you the best. Especially for newer actors, a character headshot allows a casting director to see you in the role without stretching their imagination, which makes their job in casting easier, and your job of booking more attainable. When going to shoot, make sure you look and dress the part you’re after. One of the biggest headshot mistakes actors make is to wear a lot of makeup or dress in a manner that unrealistically represents what you look like, i.e., wearing extensions when you have short hair or presenting yourself in an age range that does not suit you. Although you should always strive to look your best, keep in mind that your headshot should always stay a realistic representation of who you are. There are roles to fit every type or shape, so there is no pressure to look like anything other than your natural self.

New contributor and Nevada resident, actor and photographer Peter Newman graduated in the top 2 percent of his class in the UCLA Department of Film and Theatre, and has been a working actor since the age of 11.

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