Headshots Are Like Bread
They can get “stale” over time.
(By Carmichael Phillips)
You may have heard all the reasons for why it might be necessary to change your headshots. Perhaps you’ve changed your hairstyle or your hair color. Perhaps you’ve gained or lost a significant amount of weight. Perhaps you’ve aged since your last headshots were made. Or, maybe you just need better headshots than you currently have.
All these are perfectly valid reasons for getting new headshots. But there is another reason that is not as widely known or discussed: Headshots are like bread! They can get “stale”, over time.
Your headshot might be submitted to the same casting director many times. Sometimes they call you in to audition, sometimes they don’t. But each time, they might be seeing the same ole image, and a familiarity is established. The headshot gets “old”, or at least, old to a casting director who’s seen it a thousand times.
So, the question is, how many times will a casting director call you in to audition, based on the same headshot, particularly if you fail to impress in the audition room? Is it five times, ten times? At what point do they begin bypassing your headshot in search of someone “new”, someone with whom they are less familiar.
Yes, headshots do come with an expiration date. They need to be updated frequently, especially when the number of auditions you receive begins to decline. A drop in the number of auditions you receive could be an indication that your headshot, which may have worked well in the past, is now getting bypassed.
What is the expiration date for a headshot? No one knows the answer to that question, because the answer will vary from one actor to the next. Some actors can successfully find work for ten years -ten years!- using to same headshot. Most actors, however, must change them more frequently. The industry-standard rule is to change your headshots every year or every other year. Another general rule to follow is: if your headshots aren’t working, you need new headshots. Simple, right?
Besides, regularly updating your headshots ensures that your clothing and “look” are up-to-date and “in style”, ensures that the headshot closely matches how you currently look, and that you are not using the same ole image all the time – keeping your image “fresh”, rather than having it go “stale”, like bread that has been on the shelf too long.