How You Might Be Ruining a Great Headshot Session

[Headshot Photography Los Angeles by Vanie]

Your final headshot choices can work against you.

Even when you have a great headshot session.

Carmelita Hughes: Lawyer / Love Interest

Coleen Gibbons: Anti-Heroine / Period / Creative Professional

In preparing actors  for a session with me, the most important element I stress is dressing characters they will be auditioning for, vs. dressing themselves.

Because headshots are NOT about taking pretty pictures of yourself. Headshots are there to serve as a marketing tool.

Crayton Cambridge: Hip Urban / Creative Professional

PORTRAYING CHARACTERS VS. YOURSELF is how you’ll get in the room to audition for those characters. Another way to look at it is to portraying the “roles” you play in your headshots, as pointed out by client and colleague Sarah Gaboury owner of the Real Actor’s Lab.

So when it comes to a shoot, it’s important you also

convey the essences of each character.

The combination of preparation, choosing the right clothing, knowing your “roles” or “looks” and bringing out a range of essences for each role/look is what makes a successful headshot session.

Lisa Molenda: Best Friend / Suburban Mom / Anti Heroine

Mai Linh: Hip Mom / Detective

Taylor Fogg: Creative Tech / Gamer

But only if you’re willing to let go of preconceived ideas of how you want to present yourself to the community. That means, not discarding an amazing array of choices by picking out only faces that make you look the most “flattering” or the most “warm” or “approachable” etc.

See below on the left, how you can easily choose all the same faces in different outfits from one photo session,vs. on the right.

ACTORS GET INTO TROUBLE WHEN they want the world to perceive them a certain way and end up picking out only the faces that support that perception.

When we have amazing outcomes because of a combination of a well prepared actor and one who takes direction well, allowing me to capture a very large range of essences,

the last thing I want is for that actor to sabotage their chances of getting in the door by making the wrong choices.


Melinda Molenda: Love Interest / Office Girl / Heroine

David Lee: Security Guard / FBI / Office Guy

Remember, it’s not about you.

It’s about the characters you play. The roles you can play. Your looks are your roles, and an opportunity for you to portray your acting chops. Your looks are not you.

So stop presenting who you are in your headshots (like you would on Instagram) and instead, present the characters you can be.

Monica Ricketts: Hipster

Nick Lannan: Suburban Dad / Nikki Jacobs: Upscale Business


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