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Picking a great headshot

Laura Obenauf / Photo Credit: Chris Popio

Chelsea Wolocko

What happens AFTER your headshot session? Now you select the shots that will get you the results you want.

Once you’ve taken your headshots, your photographer will send them to you.

Picking the right headshot is important.

Here are the general guidelines:

  1. Remove the ones you don’t like at all. There will be some poor shots - you were blinking, talking, doing some weird thing with your eye or mouth, etc. Take those out. Why look at them again or let anyone else look at them? I hate looking at bad pictures of myself - it leaves me feeling unattractive. So why look at those that are just BAD ever again?

  2. It can be helpful to group them into relevant groupings: smiling, friendly, serious, etc.

  3. For a basic headshot, remove the “artsy” shots. A shot with dramatic lighting or blue streaks on your face can be really FUN, but they aren’t really contenders for a basic headshot.

  4. Get feedback - let your friends and family chime in.

  5. Then get REAL feedback. Get feedback from people in the industry who know what you need. If you’re in a theatrical training setting, get feedback from your instructors. If you have an agent, get feedback from your agent. And so forth. Your mom loves you, but she doesn’t see you in the same way a potential casting person, director, or agent will.

  6. Ultimately, you are looking for a shot that looks like YOU and in which the viewer feels “drawn into” the shot, usually through your eyes.

  7. Shots that have tension in the face or around the mouth are not your best shots.

  8. When you print your headshots, use a font that also looks and “feels” like you for your name. And purchase that font to use on your resume so everything matches. For example, if you are a trendy, artsy type of woman who is easily castable as, say, a direct of a modern art gallery, you do not need Times New Roman or Edwardian script for your name. Arial could work (this is typed in Arial). As could Andale Mono or Bangla MN or Papyrus. Lots of fonts can work, they just need to look like YOU. This is the sort of thing you may want to get input on from people in the know or an image consultant who works with people in the industry.

  9. It is most cost effective to get large batches of your headshots printed at one time - 100 or so.

  10. Pick a color headshot. (I know, I like black and white, too.) But use a color headshot.

If you have headshots (great ones and the ones you didn’t pick) that you are willing to share for the purposes of this blog I’d love to have examples.

Edwin Lee Gibson/Duane Rieder photo credit

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