Stop Getting Headshots!
More appropriately, stop getting only photos of your face framed for 8x10" printing!
1. You need a headshot.
No matter what profession you're in, you need a professional headshot.
It's that great, smiling photo of you that can (and should) go on all of your accounts—Facebook, LinkedIn, press articles and beyond.
Here are some examples of artists' headshots from various creative professions. Click the photo to learn more—and look for the little dot in the lower right corner if you're on mobile!
Especially for actors, I don't think you need to play into type. I'm much more a fan of celebrity portrait style....
You don't have to be literal. Be inspired by this concept.
Too often, artists photograph to try and show characters, rather than just sharing themselves.
While I understand this request from agents and casting directors, we'll understand your "type" as we look at you, your résumé, website content, or witness your work in person.
With headshots... go for classic and timeless! A "celebrity portrait" inspired shoot is about authenticity—that you're a human vessel for the work.
2. You'll probably want a full portfolio.
If you are the product or service you're selling... you're going to need more than 400 photos of your face.
Start thinking like your own marketing team—graphic designer, web designer, social media manager, etc.
My biggest photoshoot advice is to "zoom out" from the headshot and have (at least part of) your shoot done in horizontal/landscape orientation.
Here's an example with the luminous Ursula Abbott....
First you'll see a traditional "headshot" (most often a vertical portrait). Even though it's "zoomed out", we ran into some limitations for web use because we don't have much negative space below her shoulders. Then, you'll see another portrait in landscape orientation, and how it translates much better for web.
The biggest way to nutshell this for you is to think widescreen—social media cover photos, website banner images, postcards and even business cards.
It's helpful if the photographer pulls the frame out a little bit so we get some negative space around you. We can always extend the background if there's negative space around you.
Here's an example with the ubiquitous Nathan Lee Graham...
It's helpful if you're not dead center on every photo. It's actually proven to be more interesting if you're on the left or right!
I'll repeat: you don't need to be in the center of every photo and staring straight into the camera.
Here's a great example of photographic versatility from the celestial Kate Baldwin...
When you're discussing the ideas of negative space and landscape orientation with your photographer... you can bring them here to show them examples.
They often frame (or crop) your face or shoulders for printing purposes. We can do the cropping/framing in post production! Alternatively, do part of your photoshoot up close (for headshots and printing) and then take some steps back to get a fuller portfolio of photos (for your website, social media and other marketing materials).
In terms of indoor/outdoor... it doesn't really matter. Just invite people into your world!
Try to "pull" rather than "push." You can do that literally (with photos of you standing beside the barre, seated in the theatre, walking into the comedy club, inside the recording studio, in your city, etc.). You can also do that with your personality in a studio shoot as shown in examples below.
What's one thing you learned from this article? Comment below.