Acting Headshots are to actors what business cards are to the rest of us. They are incredibly important and if you don’t make an impression in a nanosecond the opportunity may be gone. Casting directors, managers and agents may spend a split second deciding if you are right for the role or their agency.
I’ve been photographing actors headshots for over 10 years now and while black and white is no longer the standard some general ideas still are. I found this great page from agent Rick Miller titled Be Who You Are. His advice is just so spot on. I’ve sat with an agent friend as he sifts through headshots that came in the mail. The images that were taken by friends or friends who are photographers 99 times out of 100 get tossed. Sorry to disappoint you, but it is true. Why? Because the image doesn’t connect, likely they are starting out and lack any sort of resume and aren’t taking this business seriously. If you aren’t why should someone put all that effort into you? I know many actors in Los Angeles and San Francisco. These people work hard and on a daily basis to make things happen.
Take for instance Brian Chenoweth. He has been doing this for ages but went out and got a degree and now runs a business but it allows him flexibility to go out for auditions, call backs and the job if he books it. He loves what he does and does everything to make it happen. You should see his credentials and resume and can at IMDB where he’s also posted my photos. Brian is a great character actor and the demand for people like him is high. If you think because you are blonde and blue eyed you are destined to make it well, think again. You have a lot of competition!
Here is another story of Eddie Alfano and he too has my images posted. He is a great and gorgeous guy who works his butt off to make things happen. So he knows what type of guy he will play and has created images to help sell that. The first image on IMDB is one we took especially to get cop roles. It worked.
So go about your career as an actor as a business because it is. I got into photography as a kid because I liked it. I still do! But it is also my livelyhood and I do it because there isn’t anything else I’d rather do.