When you decide to have your headshot taken, stop for a moment and put yourself in the shoes of a casting director. What parts would you be right for? Are you going to go for the young ingenue? Perhaps a comedy part, like a funny character? You have to confidently be able to typecast yourself and choose a wardrobe and hairstyle that goes along with it. No reason to overdo it and limit yourself to a nurse or a secretary (although sometimes you may want to get very specific) – but the point is that your looks will decide the parts that you go out for. It could be a doctor, the girl next door, a business woman, a young mom, etc. – the important thing is to choose parts that you may well be cast for. Unless you are well known, your photograph will usually be your first encounter with the casting director. You want to use a photograph that looks like you and that pulls the viewer in.
If you want to cover a broad range it makes sense to bring several different outfits. You should feel comfortable in the clothes you wear and like them. It’s a good idea to spend several hours in advance selecting the clothes (perhaps with simple accessories), always thinking about the character you will be portraying.
Bring shirts in a variety of collars and necklines. Solid colors are usually best since patterns and busy prints will distract from your face. Textured fabrics and weaves often look nice in pictures. For commercial headshots, bring casual clothes & lighter/brighter colors. Commercial headshots need to be bright and fun, also in expression – you can layer light and dark clothes for contrast. Avoid white since it tends to burn out, off-white and cream colored is fine. Bright colors like red and yellow used to be a nono in the past, but now that most casting takes place on a monitor with thirty thumbnails of other actors next to yours it is actually good to have some color in there: it will pull attention to your photograph.
T-shirts, tank tops, denim or leather jackets, textured sweaters are all great for photo shoots.
I often recommend doing your own, for two reasons: one, you will be able to repeat the same look when to go out for an audition and two: whatever slight flaws may still be visible can easily be retouched in Photoshop. Remember that the photo must reflect what you really look like. Of course you want to look your best, but if it is too glamorous and flattering you risk being called in for the wrong parts. For guys there is no need for make-up; if your skin is shiny I will have some powder to tone it down.
For fashion/modeling shoots and also for those who feel uncomfortable doing their own make-up, it really helps to hire a great make-up artist. I have several that I work with and will be happy to refer them to you.
Yes! Do you have any pictures you can email me? Or maybe you can describe yourself? That way, we can hone it down to choices that really fit who you are. I will use lighting, different backgrounds as well as some coaching to bring out your character even more. So we really work together to create a great headshot.