An Actor’s Headshot

How to Prepare for a great Headshot

The most immediately visible piece of your packaged product is your headshot. This is your logo. And it’s the first thing casting directors see before deciding whether to book you. So, when planning your headshots, above all, prepare, prepare, prepare!


I just looked at a young ladies headshot done by a VERY EXPENSIVE Photographer there were more than 1000 shots and they all looked EXACTLY THE SAME!!! UGGGG!!!! On top of that she is a 20/30 something white girl trying to make a living as an actor in LA: not going to happen. The shots lack specificity which is key to a great headshot and great Acting. The way we have our actors prepare @ Actor’s Fast Track always gets a good shot.


Here are some tips you need to consider:

  • Casting is done digitally now, so agents are looking at closer shots now more than ever. Think “postage-sized” pictures.
  • This is not a place where you want to cut corners or be cheap. So don’t do it! If you’re serious about your career and playing with the big boys, invest in photos that will communicate your level of commitment and professionalism.
  • Present yourself in a polished way in your resume and headshot. Because if you send casting directors an amateurish resume and old, crummy photo – guess what? Whether or not it’s true, you’ve just told them you’re an unprofessional actor – and you’ll be better off to go back to community theater and get out of this market.
  • This is your session, not the photographer’s. Be specific about what you want in your photo to convey your brand.
  • A professional headshot is essential if you truly want a successful acting career.
  • Once you know what it is you’re selling, your “brand,” it is much easier to get a dynamic headshot that will attract the roles you want.
  • Know first what you’re selling.
  • For the sake of preparation, build your character from the shoes up. But remember that you’re only going to be seen from the collar of your shirt and above.
  • Get plenty of rest before a shoot.
  • Choose four current TV, film, theatre or commercial characters you can play. Decide what they’ll wear and what they’d be saying. Give each character at least four lines of dialogue so you understand their character better. This will give you three or four looks.
  • Research different photographers in your area and choose three or four that photo the kind of pictures that match your “brand-self.”
  • Don’t try to be everything or you will be nothing!
  • For each setup, be intentional in your thinking. Remember, you’re an actor, so your pictures should be engaged and active in the eyes.
  • Then go pick a photographer.


Leading with a spectacular headshot can get you the job. I’m thinking about a very good, solid actress I worked with, Taylor Graves. Taylor’s headshot was of a pretty girl with brown hair that looked like every other girl. The pictures she was using were “safe.” Bland.

But she had this one photo that was unique, different. When I saw it, I said, “This is it!” She started using that photo on Facebook and the image was so strong, people started to know her just because of it. Now she uses it for everything. In the year and a half since I’ve worked with her, she’s always in an important play with important people in New York City. She’s becoming a well-known, regarded theatre actress there. That photo is “the root of Taylor.” It’s her brand.