So your agent has asked for new actor headshot pictures and your heart has just sunk.
Yes, as an ex-actress I can completely empathise with this and felt exactly the same way each time I got that call. I always hated every minute of my shoots – being told to ‘open your eyes more’ or to ‘relax’. I never failed to find the shoots horribly demanding and hugely intimidating, usually sending me into week-long depressions when I saw the end results.
Unfortunately, though a great actor headshot is a must. Without it, there is no way of getting through that door. Not only do you need one but you need a fantastic photo and you need to get your actor headshots taken regularly. Sorry, guys – I know that’s not what you want to hear but with a tv director for a husband I hear only too often how badly actors are marketing themselves. It’s a business so treat it as one and the jobs will come flooding in!
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Charlie Cox, Agent at Diamond Management.
Jane Frisby, Casting Director.
Because of my first-hand experience as an actor and as a ‘casting director’ for my husband I really do know how to ensure that my clients feel happy, comfortable and totally at ease. My actor headshot photography shoots are never scary or intimidating but always actually really fun. That is the only way I believe that a photographer can really capture the essence and character of the actor – after all, that’s what the casting director is looking for when your headshot lands on their desk (or laptop).
For an actor, a really good actor headshot is a must – no matter how much you try to convince yourself that your five-year-old pic still ‘looks like you’ and is ‘still ok’ it’s not going to get you spotted and through that door unless it’s up to date, new and captures the attention of those with the brief. Being married to a tv director has only confirmed this even more – seeing him toss cvs and pics aside that don’t capture his attention says it all really.
Before the shoot.
We’ll have a chat, whether on the phone or over email to talk about what to bring and the ‘looks’ we’re after for your actor headshot photography shoot. It’s generally good to bring a few tops for us to choose from on the day as we’ll not only have more variety but you’ll actually need some completely different ‘characters’ to give your agent and to put on your Spotlight profile. We will discuss what you should bring along beforehand as it’s always a little different depending on your age, gender and general casting type. As you’re allowed up to 5 images on your Spotlight profile it’s best to make the most of that. Different looks and ‘characters’ up there help those casting directors to immediately visualise how they can cast you so don’t skimp on that!
What happens during the shoot?
I usually take actor headshots outside in a particular location near to me in Crouch End, North London but can also take studio shots at my home there if you’d prefer. I find natural lighting more filmic personally but studio lighting with a black backdrop can look good too and we can discuss this prior to the shoot. The shoot takes around an hour and involves a good few changes of clothing during which we’ll get you all the shots you’ll need.
After the shoot.
Once I’ve loaded up the pictures and deleted any less than marvellous ones I’ll do some general post-production on them all before loading them all onto a contact sheet to send over to you for your perusal. If you have an agent I can also send it directly to them as they usually like to do the choosing – after which we hopefully come to some decisions about which 5 to choose. If needed I can also put them under my husband’s nose – it’s often useful to get the opinion of those who will be employing you after all.
Once you’ve chosen your five favourites it’s back over to me and my editing tools to make your portrait absolutely perfect, dynamic and stunning with just the right amount of re-touching and editing – though nothing too drastic to hinder it looking absolutely like you.
ADVICE FROM A TOP TV DIRECTOR
It’s very useful having a director for a husband and with my shoots, you get ‘two for the price of one’ Not only someone to get you some gorgeous shots but another to help you with advice. Unfortunately, as we all well know, It’s not always the prettiest picture that will work the best when popping up on a director’s screen and after so many years of casting his actors (‘Call the Midwife’ etc) he can easily point out those that’ll get you the most attention – something he’s always more than happy to do.
With a fantastic new headshot out there doing all that work for you, you can rest assured you are doing all you can to get those casting directors to call you in. Next thing, of course, is your showreel – but I’m afraid I can’t help you with that.
Give your agent something they really can work with – they’ll thank you for it and so will you when those castings start coming in.
Actor Headshot Photo Session (however long it takes) £345.00 Includes:
- Pre-shoot chat
- Contact sheet emailed to you on your own link
- Five of your faves re-touched, beautified and in suitable image sizes for all uses
- Extra re-touched images available at a cost of £40 per image
Please do get in touch if you'd like to have a chat about a possible shoot - I'd be delighted to hear from you!