Actor Headshot Tips: Don't Look Green
The weather is FINALLY breaking in NYC so it seems like a perfect time for actors to get those outdoor headshots done. This week I had to pleasure of shooting with a few awesome actors. Two where totally new to getting their headshots done, but you couldn't tell from the results. I won't say which is which in this post. You shall never know!
One of the big tips I give to actors getting their headshots done for the first time, is to make sure your headshots don't make you look "green". We do this not only with effective styling, but by also capturing a strong, confident expression. I believe a casting director shouldn't be able to tell if you just started acting yesterday from your headshot. We don't want to give them any reason to reject you. If they think you're inexperienced just from looking at your headshot, we've failed.
People who aren't extremely comfortable in front of the camera or used to being in front of it on a regular basis, tend to do the most common thing and that's to smile a big cheesy smile. While nice, it doesn't necessarily communicate anything interesting for you as an actor. That is, unless we capture a beautiful "natural" smile. Instead we want something a bit more intriguing, something with a sense of mystery, melancholy, or even mischief (three M words in a row!). If you're going for a dramatic role, maybe try to capture something melancholic. Want to play a villian? Then a smile probably isn't your best choice, unless you're The Joker. Romantic comedy? Maybe a smirk or flirty expression. Not just your typical boring "say cheese" smile.
Lastly, consider looking at some of your favorite actors who've played roles you're interested in and make a note of their expressions. Try to mimic that to the best of your ability. Whatever it takes to avoid looking "green".
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