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Actors Headshot: How to

Who came first? The Actor or the Headshot?
  • To be an Actor, one must have 3 things; Agent, Headshot, and Reel.
  • If you have to do without one, you keep the Agent and Headshot.
  • If you have to do without two, keep the headshot because most agents can't do anything without a image.
  • If you haven't got a headshot you haven't even started yet.
  • Headshots have evolved over decades, with new rules and broken old ones.
  • Actor: I need a shot that captures who I am.
  • Agent: I need a shot that grabs attention.
  • Casting: I need bad guy, with edge.
  • Director: I need an underdog, someone I can root for.
  • Producer: I need a face, someone who gonna grab the audience.
  • Photographer: I'm the best, you need me to take your Headshots.
  • Printers: An Actors preparedness can be measured by thickness of their headshot paper.

Beyond Headshots

The headshot is the cover advertisement of an Actor's company. In Hollywood, much about an Actor is assumed by the package they present. Headshots are an investment for the whole team.

Download resume as PDF format

Actors Headshots:
How Much

What's in an Actors Headshot?

The truth about headshots is the matter of opinion. A lot of peopls's opinion and a lot of the person's opinion telling you.


"Just be yourself."

My Casting

"They need to see it."

My Eyes

"make the eyes pop."


"What to do, what not to do."

Headshot Rules

The Actors headshot serves the purpose of introductions for Actors, pitches for Agents, matching for casting directors, even inspriation for Directors.

    Casting Director
  • Surrounded by Actors
  • Actors that look the role
  • Actors that can deliver the role
  • An Actor that can take direction
  • Paid per-project
  • Packages and Reps Actors
  • Submits to a range of projects
  • Online and 8x10 Headshots
  • Uses Actor's Materials
  • Negotiates, Makes 10%
  • Co-Stars, Guest Stars, Leads
  • Headshot, Reel, Resume
  • Name & Border, 8x10
  • Online Casting sites
  • Best product for my team.

Costs and Investments with Headshots

It is impossible to assess the cost of a photoshoot. Some prefer to base it on the number of looks, or time spent taking photos, or number of photos taken. Cost will be the amount you pay for the shoot minus the amount your career gains in auditions. Is an expensive headshot that gets you tons of auditions worth more or less than a cheap shoot that just gets you two?

A great Headshot is everything, it's the first impression an Actor makes.
Training: Schools, Classes, Workshops.
Content: Plays, showcases, shortsfilms, social media, images, videos.
Training and Showcases.
Created content, social media, Plays.
Your Agent.

A Headshot's Lifespan

1 shoot, 30-50 updates not 5 looks.

It used to be that a headshot was black and white and 8 by 10inches. A great Headshot is everything, it's the first impression an Actor makes and the last one that stays on the table. Some are sorted quickly, some tossed, others remain in the files of casting. Headshots are used on all of an Actor's marketing marterials.


e-mail, postscard

Invitations, Congratulations
I think it's safe to assume they understand you are an Actor and ultimately yes, you would in fact roll over a box of cereal to have them call you one morning and offer you a job. So let your corispondence be organic, fresh and in a tone to the projects they're working for.
Future Prospects

Gifts and Wishes

Thank You, Milestones
Gift baskets gets passed around the office and generally people love getting gifts. If you book a gig you might want to send special thank you's to your Agent, Managers, Casting Director, Associate that got you in, and a few others a long the way. Always include a little card, and photo of you.

Actors Producing

Saying hello can mean "Hi."
Good networking doesn't feel like networking. It feels like community, it should be the pleasures of business, not the pain of the day. Particular times of the day/week/and season are better than others. Any response is great, but should not be the expected measurement of success or failure.
Word of mouth

People talk

Those who hire, listen.
Part of "word of mouth" is being available and accessable. Either through representation or your own contact. If business cards make you feel cheesy, wait until someone asks you for one and you don't. A great headshot is the prefect image of the card, or an image with more action. This is your time to shine outside of the rules of an 8x10. #beyondHEADSHOTS
Reel Clips

30 second intro?

Or a 30 second reel?
It's safe to say most casting directors don't watch every reel all the way through to make sure they didn't miss a beat, pause, or wave of sound. Put your best work upfront, start quickly, and end before they want it to. A cool relax photo of you will help them see you are easy to be around and not the crazy from your 3rd scene.

Beyond Headshots

Editorial Actors Headshots

After you book a few co-stars and some guests. Some public PR could be inevitable and there's not always a budget for new photos. Headshots set in to fill the void. This is the time to use images that break the rules and "aren't" headshots. Or pay for another shoot by the deadline.

Editorial Headshots

Interviews, Web

A Headshot can span many publications. If it plays to different rules in different outlets, a headshot can end up in many places. At a certain level someone will handle the production of an image. But often times an Actor can build momentum with the best PR campaign their money and status can buy.
Reel Website

Value beyond paper

How to follow up a Headshot
Phase one of a website is about your Reel. A simple site is key, currated Backgrounds, Galleries, banners, content. Your own or a developing project, images will be placed with interviews and write up. Having images available is a key to controlling your media presence and image.
How to Design Luck

Be accessible +

Preperation + Opportunity.
If an Actor wants to make it in a business, the Actor needs to operate like a business. Think about the places you shop, the mail your receive you might throw it out everytime, but the time you need something you look and suddenly junk mail has value. That's how I feel about actors postcards. A complete waste, until I need them.


The portfolio gives the Actor a unique opportunity to listen and use everyones advice.

Every young professional has to listen to conflicting rules, ideas of proccess, and outdated career advice, then actors have it the worst. The fact is; commerical casting directors see the world differently. You can be confused by this and not do anything, or you can be confused by this and try Headshots that target a wide range. What shows? Coming film projects? Routine commercial calls?

How much do headshots cost?

If you divide the cost of a session by the number of auditons you've got, suddenly cost means a lot. It's true a lack of investment in the promotion of a product will lose potential product sales/auditions. Actors need headshots, it's a constant thing. It really shouldn't be a stress, in fact it might eventually get routine. Of course there are different levels of Headshots, an Agent at one of the top expects something entirely different than an Agent booking your co-stars and guests. It's important to say that an Agent at one of the top won't see you soley based on a headshot.

The Day & Night Adventure $650

This Actors Headshot Session is simply beyond Headshots. This untamed, untimed photographic adventure into the veins of the city shooting photographs beyond borders includes images for Actors websites, business cards, postcards, IMDB, and endless promotional material. This is a Acting Headshot session that is nothing like the usual approach of "sit down and smile, now don't smile" in a photographer's garage/studio.
10 retouched images:

Headshot Looks
3 Looks $350
4 Looks $450
5 Looks $550
6 Looks $650
Hair & Make UP
Setup Men: $65
Setup Women: $95
Hair and Make Up Artist: $150
After the Shoot
$10 Retouch

Unique offers

$150 off if you sign a stock image release.

Headshot Therapy $125

Originally intended as seasonal booking update and portfolio fun, these sessions have been used for life changes and hair changes, specific projects, idie gogo's, playbill images, showcase covers, something fresh in addition to seasonal booking updates, and the occasional baby. Headshot Therapy is only available after a Looks or the Day & Night shoot has been completed.

Drop Me a Line

Beyond Headshots