Thespian Lifestyle

10 Tips For Taking Great Acting Headshots

An actor’s headshot is likely to be the first impression he or she makes on a casting director. Due to the numerous submissions casting directors receive for certain roles, they must be able to decipher if a person is a right fit based on the resume and, you guessed it, the headshot!

And most of the time, there are hundreds of pictures they must sift through to decide who gets an audition. Your picture should convey everything about you as an actor to get that part. Below are some tips for acting headshots – a few for all ages, and a few specific for children.

1. Learn the requirements of a standard headshot.

Standard headshot requirements can vary, depending on your geographical location and the casting director or agency you are submitting your resume and picture to.

Make sure to follow any instructions related to size, composition, lighting, editing, and coloring an agency requires in a headshot. For instance, some may ask for a 6×8 picture shot in portrait mode with your body in the center of the photograph, facing the camera. They may also request photos that aren’t heavily edited.

2. Get inspired.

Don’t just take a picture. Get some inspiration from some of your idols and be creative. Under no circumstances, however, should you copy another actor’s headshot.

Your photo should be as unique as you are. Play with angles, compositions, lighting, framing, and make any other adjustments you can within the standard requirements.

3. Go to a professional.

Unless you know a thing or two about photography, go to a professional for your acting headshots. These pictures are a career investment for your future in the industry. Poorly shot photos may look unprofessional to casting directors.

Do your research.

Don’t just go to any photographer. Having your headshot taken at the local mall won’t cut it. Go to someone who has experience with taking these kinds of photos.

Also, try to find someone whom you work with well and can see yourself going back to in the future. Hiring a photographer whom you feel comfortable talking to and hanging out with (because you might be spending more time with him or her in the future) is vital. The camera will be able to capture your ease with the person behind it.

Have a pre-session consultation.

Once you’ve found the right photographer, make sure to schedule a pre-session consultation to discuss details about the shoot, like lighting, background, and composition.

Give the person behind the lens an idea of how you want the picture to turn out and what it should convey to the person looking at it. Ask for his or her opinion on how to best perform the shoot.

4. Prepare for the shoot.

For the photo shoot itself, you can’t simply expect to get in, get photographed and go out. You also need to prepare a few things to get the most out of the photo shoot.


Pick clothes that give an idea of who you are, but do not overshadow your personality. Remember this picture is meant to put a spotlight on you, not your wardrobe. Prepare a couple of outfits for the session that you would normally wear in your daily life. Try them on in advance to see how they look on you.


Don’t play with too many hairstyles. Wear your hair the way you would during an audition.


Since headshots mainly focus on the face, you won’t need many accessories. However, you can take a few necklaces that go with your outfits during the shoot, just in case.


Use as little makeup as possible. Put on some moisturizer, powder, and bring oil sheets to the shoot to get rid of shiny spots on your face.

You don’t want your headshot to look too overdone. The casting director or anyone looking at your pictures should see you as a blank canvas who can turn into anyone they want you to be.

5. Find your best angle, and practice posing.

Everyone has that one perfect angle that is flattering and shows the best version of you aesthetically. Figure out the best angle for you, and practice positioning your body so that your “best side” is always facing the camera.

6. Be yourself.

Casting directors want to see who you are as a person before they envision you in a role. So your headshot should convey your personality, heart, and character.

7. For Kids: Avoid sugar before the shoot.

Your kids will need to be still for the duration of the session. Additionally, they need to be able to focus on the photographer’s instructions. Avoid giving them foods loaded with sugar to prevent hyperactivity on the set.

8. For Kids: Don’t wear anything with logos on them.

Wearing clothes with logos can be distracting and inappropriate in a headshot submission.

9. For Kids: Avoid wearing clothes in bright colors.

Bright colors can take the focus away from your child who needs to be the main attraction in his or her photo.

10. For Parents: Make sure your kid feels natural and comfortable during the shoot.

Find a photographer that specializes in kids headshots and knows how to make a comfortable environment for them. Children, even those destined for stardom, can be shy or intimidated by the atmosphere inside a studio. It would be best if you make them feel okay with just being themselves during the shoot. Make sure the experience is fun for them, too.

Once your child has taken the perfect acting headshots, make sure to send them to a reputable child talent agency. Do your research. Find a company you can trust with your child’s well-being and future.

Bonus Tip for Acting Headshots!

Just as eyes are the windows to the soul, headshots could be the key to your or your child’s acting career. Take them seriously, but also have fun. Being in front of a camera can reveal a lot about a person. Take the time to learn something new during the shoot, and you or your child will have one more attribute to bring to that next audition.

Have you already taken your acting headshots?

If so, we’d love to see them! Feel free to share a link to your acting webpage in the comments below. Don’t be shy. This is your chance for some free self promotion! And in the meantime, you can check out this great list of other ways to stay productive between shows!

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Adam Jacobs Headshot.Author: Adam Jacobs

Adam Jacobs is the Managing Director of Bubblegum Casting➝, the longest running agency specialising in babies, children and teen talent in Australia. Bubblegum Casting works with some of Australia’s biggest brands, media properties and agencies to secure talented children to work in television, film and modelling roles.


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