3 Tips to get you started.
1. Understand what you want.
If you’re new to headshots, any kind of headshots, then take some time to understand the difference, or you could be asking for something which won’t serve you well down the road. That’s not to say it won’t be a great headshot, but it just might not be an actor’s headshot.
Think about the “hero” of an image – the hero is that standout feature, the thing, the purpose of headshot. For example, if you’re shooting a headshot for a jewellery company, the hero is the jewellery – not the person wearing the jewellery. The purpose of the head in this case is just a pretty hanger to hold the jewellery in place.
It stands to reason therefore, that an actor’s headshot should be about the actor, not the clothes you’re wearing (that would be a fashion shot).
When reviewing headshots, ask yourself who the hero is. If you can’t tell, then maybe the headshot isn’t working for its intended purpose. When you’ve seen enough headshots you’ll know the difference and you can start planning on what your headshot should look like.
2. Keep it simple.
This is just following on from the previous point, but when choosing the wardrobe you’re going to take to your session, remember that you are the hero. When picking out clothes, don’t pick out items with excessive patterns, logos – they’ll scream for attention in the image. Just because you like a particular item of jewellery and have been complimented on it many times, doesn’t mean it’s right for your headshot and when you think about make-up, less is more.
3. The same goes for the background.
The final point for this post is a continuation of (hopefully) the overall theme – YOU. So we understand what differentiates an actors headshot from, say, a professional headshot or a fashion shoot and we’ve picked a wardrobe full of simple, solid colours. The final piece is going to be the background. It’s preferable to have a single colour background, a small amount of variation is fine and it’s equally fine to have a background with various contrasting elements AS LONG AS those elements are sufficiently out-of-focus so as to not fight for attention with you.
Remember the golden rule – it’s all about you, you’re the hero, don’t let anyone or anything take your place.