Updated: Feb 27
Actors, have you ever noticed that you aren’t getting auditions? You aren’t getting into the room even with an agent or manager? You can’t understand because you think your materials are great. You have headshots, a correctly formatted resume, and possibly a showreel.
You may think “why isn’t my agent doing anything? Why aren’t they getting me in the room?”. And now, while this may be true in very, VERY special circumstances, most of the time the problem won’t be them. It’ll be you. I know, I know it’s "not." Maybe you’re thinking it’s because you’re with a small or new agent. And very well you could be, but I’ve seen some of the smallest agencies rise to the top.
Let's take a look at this headshot of Katherine Langford for example.
Great isn't it?
Now take a look at your headshots. Does it catch as much attention as this one does?
Do yours truly represent and look like you? Are they excellent quality? Taken by a professional? Do you have multiple looks? Do they represent your brand and the type of roles you want to go for? If you answered no to any of those, then the problem may be with your headshots.
So, without further ado, here’s my advice on how to have headshots that make you stand out.
1. Get New Headshots
Maybe obvious, but get new headshots if yours aren't getting you auditions. I don’t mean by a friend who will do it for free or for a discounted price. I mean professional headshots. Research ones in your area and find the ones you feel suit you best and work in your budget. Heck, have some phone calls with photographers to work out who you vibe with. You’ll usually be able to tell easily. Also, make sure you have a makeup artist always on your shoot unless you’re especially skilled in doing makeup.
2. Don’t get ONE look. Get MULTIPLE
Have one that’s your main, but also have at least two others with different emotions and outfits. For example, you can have a smiling one for commercial auditions, and a more serious-looking one for drama auditions. Or if going for a business person role, you can have one in an outfit like that. The point is, make sure they don’t all look the same to give you the best chance you have.
3. Know your brand
This kind of expands from point two. When going into the session, know what kind of roles you want to go for. Are you the emo girl in high school? The strong woman? The antagonist? The underdog who comes out on top? The girl next door? The list goes on. Know what you can and want to play and use your headshots to show and match that.
4. Don't Have a Distracting Background
Always have a clear or blurred-out background behind you if you're outside. You don’t want people to be distracted by what’s behind you in the photos. If an outside shot, the background should also match the mood and effect you are trying to get across in the headshot. For studios, make sure the background colour makes you stand out. I recommend white, black or grey. Make sure your clothes aren't those colours too so you don't blend in!
5. They Should Look Like You
When getting your headshots taken, make sure you still look like you. Have natural makeup, unless it’s a specific look. You must always look the same as your headshot when you walk into the audition room or on a self-tape. You don't want to confuse the casting directors and make them second guess they chose the right person. And most importantly, as soon as your hair or look changes, you MUST get them updated.
6. Choose a Main One That Catches Attention Picking a main headshot can be hard that you use to send around can be hard sometimes, heck even picking a top three or four is hard. When you pick a main headshot, that’ll you’ll use for most submissions, make it one that will stand out the most. Something that will ‘wow’ people. If you pick one that is different and captures people’s attention, you will get more auditions. If you're having trouble deciding, use friends in the industry or your agent/manager (if you have one) to help you pick. If you're having trouble, here's another of Katherine Langford (love her) to inspire you.
And that’s it! My top six tricks and advice. Headshots are one of the things that are essential to get right, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to get great ones that will give you the best foot forward in the industry.
Don't forget to subscribe and catch you on Thursday where I'll talk about getting yourself ready to approach agents/managers and how to go about it.