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Sometimes, students ask us for advice when seeking out photographers for a new headshot session. While we don’t endorse any one photographer, we do endorse preparation behind making the most of your headshot session. And that begins with choosing the right photographer—for you. Not the photographer that’s right for your friend—the photographer that’s right for you. It’s as personal a decision as it gets. This shutterbug will be capturing your essence which you’ll then be using to market yourself, maybe get a new agent, leave as a reminder with casting directors at workshops, take to auditions, etc. It’s one of the most valuable tools you need as an actor. Here are some of our tips on how to make the most out of the experience.
1. Choosing your headshot photographer.
Discounts and coupons are great and definitely helpful, but when it comes to deciding whom to choose, don’t decide on a photographer just because they’re offering a special. If you have a moderate amount to spend, then find the best person in your price range. If you can afford to pay more, then certainly do it. Argentum has a bountiful list of photographers on their website. Call the photographer and interview them to see if they’re a good fit for you. Read reviews on them and see their galleries. Choose wisely and confidently.
2. The night before.
This might seem like a no-brainer but get a long night’s sleep the night before. (In fact, as much as you can, try to rest up that week.) Drink plenty of water, avoid salty foods, and do a face mask that offers extra moisturizing properties. Take a bath and relax. Go into the experience in a fully rested and peaceful state of being. That sense of calm and confidence will come through in your photos.
This is a big one and it deserves plenty of love. Usually a photographer will talk with you on the phone about the kinds of looks that you’re going for and their suggested wardrobe ideas. Take that information and really dive in. Also, decide for yourself what looks you want to capture. Do you need an “edgy” theatrical look? A “young mom” commercial look? A “quirky girl-next-door” look? Whatever looks you decide on, it’s smart to choose one strong theatrical look that’s in your wheelhouse, another solid commercial look, a business look (for those doctor and lawyer roles), and a fourth wild card look. Keep in mind what your “type” is and if you’re wanting to stay in this type or if you’re attempting to move into another type. Or, maybe you’re the “mom” type but you want to widen your range and be seen differently—then take your traditional “mom” photo and add a wild card look, by making it a mom with an edge, or an untraditional mom. There’s a lot to play with.
Once you’ve decided on at least four looks, take some serious time to prepare two outfit choices for each look. (Eight outfits total and have a few extras on hand as back up). Think out everything from how a top will photograph; how the color works with your eyes, hair and skin tone; what’s the texture of the fabric and will it be interesting or distracting; do you want to reveal your arms or not? Will this top be “in style” for the duration of your headshots’ life? Every choice you make here is important.
Leave your wedding ring at home and all other baubles. They’re distracting and you want the attention on your face and eyes.
Make sure your hair is fresh, clean, washed, and if you dye it, that the color is refreshed and the shade you want. A manicure is a must, even if your hands don’t end up showing in the photos (which they probably won’t), but be safe. Do you wax your arms to maintain a fuzz-free appearance? Be sure to book your appointment several days out to avoid any redness.
6. The day of.
Have your clothes organized according to looks. Bring moisturizer, water, snacks, and sunscreen with you. Eat healthy meals and do anything that’s calming (meditation/yoga/walk, etc.). Arrive early. Show the photographer your looks and together discuss your options. And then sit down, start shooting, and enjoy.
The Seydways Newsletter is sent out only a few times per month and includes articles and helpful tips about the industry as well as information about upcoming classes, workshops, lectures, events, and more.