4 Tips to Radically Improve Your Headshots

Auditioning has significantly evolved in the past few decades and years. The arrival of casting directors on the scene has made the entire process much smoother, faster, and streamlined. While video reels remain a popular form of auditioning for most established as well as up-and-coming actors, headshots haven’t lost their charm too. Even today, you can see many casting directors asking for a prospective actor’s headshots before proceeding further. As an actor, you certainly know the importance of your headshots and how they must be no less than perfect. 

Below, we have listed the top four tips to radically improve your headshots! 

1. Avoid extreme posing: A very common mistake people make while getting their headshots clicked is extreme posing or creating an uncomfortable and forced pose. You must refrain from leaning towards the camera or getting clicked from a high angle. These overdone poses often serve no purpose and look contrived. 

The best headshots have simple poses and clean lines. Start with your head and shoulders directly toward the camera and get some head-on headshots clicked first. Then, move in small increments — for instance, bring your shoulder 5 degrees toward the camera or turn your nose slightly. Remember, small movements work the best. 

2. Get that jawline out: Out of all the tips for improving your headshots, this one will help you instantly see the difference. Push your forehead out while keeping your head as tall as possible and point your chin slightly down. It is also referred to as the ‘turtle pose’ as it looks like a turtle’s head coming out of the shell. Irrespective of what you call it, it creates distance between the jaw and neck and instantly improves the shape of the jawline. 

Many people believe that only those with a double chin must practice this technique. However, even those with nicely structured jawlines can benefit from it and have stronger headshots. 

3. Use a simple, flattering light and backdrop: The best headshots are clicked under a simple, even, flattering light. You can also go for parallel lighting, where you take two lights and place them on both sides of the subject. Ensure both lights are feathered slightly toward your shoulders. The lights should be parallel to each other and perpendicular to the floor, and not pointing directly at your face. It will reduce the shadow cast on your face and fill in any fine lines. 

4. Never say cheese: Never force yourself to smile in your headshots; it will only make you look uncomfortable and inauthentic. Produce a natural and engaging expression that draws the viewer to the photos. The best tip is to just forget there is a camera and put on genuine expressions. Talk to your photographer to build a rapport with them and create a comfortable environment. Try to enjoy the process as the best headshots are only produced by the most comfortable, relaxed people. 

About ‘About the Work Actors Studio’ 

At About The Work Actors Studio, we believe actors must feel safe to perform their best. We reward you for the risks you take and help you master your craft. We push you beyond your comfort zones to level yourself up. Our students choose us because we help bring out the best in them with each project. For more information, call 323-741-0155 or write to artist@about-the-work.com.