5 Headshot Questions Answered 

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  • 5 Headshot Questions Answered

    Answering some frequently asked questions about actor headshots

    (By Jim Webb)

    (Photo: Luis Quintero | Pexels)

    Can I take my own headshots? What kind of headshots do I need? What color clothing works best for headshots? How much do actors pay for headshots? Should I smile in an actor headshot?

  • These are some of the frequently asked questions actors have concerning headshots. While you may get slightly different answers to these questions, depending on whom you ask, there are some tried-and-true industry guidelines that work for most actors.

    What kind of headshots do I need?

    Your calling card as an actor will be your headshot. It is your most basic and most essential marketing tool.


    (Photo: Cottonbro | Pexels)

    It should be an 8 X 10-inch photo of your head, neck, shoulders and upper chest. Your headshot should be in color and have your name printed somewhere on the front. It should be of high quality and it should be done by a professional.

    How much do actors pay for headshots?

    There is no set price for headshots. The cost of headshots will vary, depending on your location and on the photographer you choose.

    You can expect to pay between $200-$1200, and sometimes even more for quality headshots. There may also be additional costs, for things like hair and makeup, retouching and printing.

    If you’re unsure about a price or believe you’re being overcharged, always seek help! You can consult with your talent agent and fellow actors to find a reputable photographer who’s right for you.

  • Should I smile in an acting headshot?

    The manner in which you pose during your headshot session depends on your brand and the types of roles you’re going for.

    A general rule of thumb is:

    *Actors typically smile or use some form of friendly expression for commercial headshots (headshots that will be submitted for commercial roles)

    *Actors typically do not smile – or they use very muted smiles – for theatrical headshots (headshots that will be submitted for roles in television and film)

    What color clothing works best for headshots?

    (Photo: Liza Summer | Pexels)

    There is no one type of color that actors should wear when taking headshots. But the general idea is to wear colors that are not too distracting.

    Be cautious when choosing bright colors like yellow, red and white. Lean more towards subdued colors, like blue, grey and brown. Also, avoid distracting patterns and logos.

    Can I take my own headshots?

    You can attempt to take your own headshots. But it’s certainly not a recommended practice.

    Your headshot is the key that will open doors for you in this industry. It’s not wise to “go cheap”. Don’t make it a DYI project.

    Invest in proper headshots. It may cost money on the front end, but you’ll have more success in the long run when you have good, quality headshots.


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