ERIC SHEMTOV . LOS ANGELES . TEL AVIV | Headshot tips for actors

Headshot tips for actors

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1. Lots of Personality!! Many people may have a similar look to you- it’s your personality that makes you special.
2. Look like your headshot. This is not a time to be a beauty queen. You need to give casting directors and clients an accurate version of yourself.
3. Keep your clothing choices simple. Avoid patterns and prints in favor of solid colors. No white or very light pastels. Simple clothing helps the viewer see YOU.
4. Spark the viewer’s imagination. Don’t dress like a nurse or a police officer. You want the viewer to be able to imagine you as many different characters from one picture.
5. Go easy on the makeup! Yes, you want to look your best for your headshot, but that does NOT mean layers of eyeshadow and blush. If you can, hire a makeup artist. Keep in mind, you should pay close attention to what your makeup artist does so when you go to an audition or to meet an agent you can walk in the door looking as close to your picture as possible.
6. Don’t show a lot of skin! Ladies, this means no excess cleavage. Guys, keep your shirts on. Casting directors want to see you…but not that much of you!
7. Keep in mind what kind of work you are trying to get. Do you want to do theater, film, or commercial work?
8. It’s all about the eyes. Of course your smile is important, too, but the eyes can make or break your picture. Your eyes give you the opportunity to show the layers in your personality. Rather than thinking about the viewer looking at your picture, think about you looking at the viewer.
9. Face shot or ¾ shots. ¾ shots are useful to show a casting director your body type. This can be good if you are looking to do commercial work modeling clothes. Be careful, though. In a ¾ shot, your eyes can get lost.
A face shot is the best way to show your eyes and your personality…
Which brings me to my last tip:
10. Did I mention PERSONALITY? Be yourself and show what makes you unique.
Share your intentions for the photo session. Let us know what kind of look you want.
Do a dress rehearsal at home in front of a mirror. Practice poses and expressions (see below about characters).
If you're having trouble with expressions, watch your face in the mirror while running lines from a favorite scene.
Do not drink alcohol or take any drugs directly before or the night before your shoot. If possible, do not smoke cigarettes directly before your shoot.
Drink lots of water and be well rested (so your eyes will not have dark circles).
Arrive on time. Please do not arrive more than 10 minutes early (we may have other clients scheduled before you).
Actors: think about "characters" you might portray:
The good guy/girl
The popular guy/girl
The guy/girl next door
The bad guy/girl
The professional guy/girl
Where is this character from? What is his/her disposition? What is his/her financial background (blue collar/white collar/middle)? These questions will help you decide what kind of wardrobe to bring.

What to wear:

Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you look great
Don't overdress
Avoid logos or branding
A simple black shirt/blouse/dress is often a good option
Avoid white shirts unless you plan to wear it underneath something
Darker clothes attract less attention and put the attention on your face and eyes
Solid colors are great
Avoid busy patterns and large lines or stripes
No glitter
Blue/green/turquoise clothing can help emphasize blue/green/hazel eyes
Avoid red as a dominant color
A suit or jacket are great for men wanting a more professional look
Clothes should be neatly pressed and should look new or like new
For multiple looks, bring a variety of clothing that emphasizes different roles/characters (professional, blue-collar worker, intellectual, sexy, etc...)
Pay attention to details. Layers, ties, belts etc
Different necklines will change the apparent shape of your face. Bring a variety different shirts/blouses to see what works best
Turtlenecks are almost always a bad idea (since they crowd the face)
Don't worry about shoes too much unless you specifically want a full-length look
Don't only bring 3-4 same-style shirts in different colors. Bring variety of styles
Bring a few extra outfits so we can choose what looks best on you at the shoot
REMEMBER: Select and wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. Select something that makes you look good.


Keep jewelry extremely simple - small is better
Avoid jewelry that would distract from your face or that looks dated
The picture is about your face not your jewelry
Be prepared to remove facial piercings or multiple ear piercings
What to bring:
Your previous headshots (so we can improve)
Samples from magazines or other headshots to help communicate the look you want
Favorite Music (CD or iPod/MP3 player)
Various changes of clothing (see above)
Good attitude
Lip balm
Hair brush/comb
Makeup and hair products you prefer (especially if you have allergies)
Arrive with:
Hair styled and makeup already applied (if not using makeup artist)
Nails manicured
Already dressed in first outfit

Hair and Makeup Tips:

Make-up should be clean and natural.
Wear a heavy layer of translucent powder — your face will appear flawless in photos. Shine disappears, pores seem smaller, skin looks even, and blush is smoother.
Men may need base, concealer, and powder for the shoot. It is best to obtain your own so it is specially matched to your skin tone.
Line lips before applying matte lipstick, then reline. Don't overdo it. Dip a cotton bud in powder and run along lip line to prevent color from bleeding.
Avoid shimmers or products with lots of sparkle or shine.
Avoid frosts or garish colors.
Don't get a new hair cut just before the shoot (you may want to let it grow-in a bit or get used to styling a new cut).
Do not try/use any new product on your hair, face or body the day before or few days before your shoot.
Avoid over-styling (soap opera hair looks too staged) or the latest fad such as pinning tresses with lots of tiny barrettes.
If you are under 16-years old the only makeup you need is lip balm or lip gloss.