What to Wear for Your Actor Headshots






First, you want your headshot to look like you.  Beyond that, though, a great headshot is going to capture a piece of your personality as well.  Even with all of the branding considerations that can be important to consider from look to look (wardrobe, mood, energy, etc) great actor headshots should always be rooted in authentically capturing YOU!

Ian McClaren, headshot photographer

Headshots are one of the best tools for marketing yourself as an actor. They are your way of showing casting directors and agents who you are by giving them a glimpse of your personality. A good photographer will encourage you to create an inner dialogue to help convey interesting and genuine facial expressions. And a good headshot will help get you into the audition room.  

A great actor headshot doesn’t just get you into the room, it gets you into the right room. The room where they are looking for that person they saw in the photo, where who they called in is who shows up.

Janna Giacoppo, headshot photographer

There are lots of things that go into a great headshot but the most important are that it looks like you, and more importantly feels like you–that it has personality and energy. This is what talent agents and casting directors are looking for more than anything else when they look through stacks of headshots.

Chris Poppio, headshot photographer

This is a great example of the wardrobe, background and actor "inner dialogue" all adding up to project a cohesive image.

As an actor, you are your business, so branding yourself is key to getting great headshots. Another great resource ASC has provided in the past is The Actor’s (Short) Guide To Personal Branding by Sarah-Jane Dalby. We recommend giving this quick read a once-over to identify your type as a performer. Nailing this down will really help you pick out wardrobe for your photos.

Thinking about colors that complement your eye/hair color and skin tone is always a great place to start! If you have a specific branding goal for the look, that can help guide color choice as well. Going for something gritty and tough? Earth tones and neutrals could fit the bill.  Looking for a great new commercial shot? Brighter colors could help add some life and energy in a way that helps the look.

Ian McClaren, headshot photographer

Colors? Prints? Makeup? Oh my!

Before your headshot photoshoot, your photographer will likely sit down with you to discuss the look and type you’d like to portray with your pics.

Backgrounds for headshots can be tricky. Commercial headshots should look different than Film/ TV headshots. The backgrounds for commercial headshots should be bright and light. Film/ TV backgrounds should not distract from your face. Avoid black and white as backgrounds.

Ella Patino, The Rock Agency 

I personally LOVE prints, we shoot with them all the time.  Are there patterns that are distracting on camera, and therefore not the best choice for a headshot?  Of course!  BUT, there are also a lot of patterns that can work really well and they can add a bit more texture, personality, and specificity to the overall feel of the shot!

Ian McClaren, headshot photographer

Prints can be busy and distracting. But if it’s for a specific look or character, bring it on!  It can only help the shot. Make sure you nail the expression to back it up!

Brian McConkey, headshot photographer

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