Headshot Dos and Don’ts: An Agent’s Perspective

[Headshot Photography by Vanie]

Blog written by guest blogger Mike O’Dell – Bobby Ball Talent Agency.

I’ve worked with Mike O’Dell for over seven years now.  Mike is a hard working no none-sense actor’s agent.  His experience of 11+ years, first at SBV and now at BBA, two well recognized agencies, definitely gives his words weight so I asked him to guest blog.  A wise actor would take his advice!

Headshot Perspective – My Opinion

Get a real photographer.  Nothing is more lame for an actor than being surrounded by dozens of professional headshots while theirs is SO bad the DMV wouldn’t accept it.  Anyone who cannot tell the difference is in complete denial.

Real photographers compose. Amateurs point and shoot.

Take no offense, amateurs. Some of us, like me for instance, cannot do that much.

la-actor-headshot-photographersCarolina Bonetti: Computer Geek / Best Friend

actor-headshots-los-angelesKalei Beamon: Working Class Mom / Lawyer

headshot-wardrobe-tipsLeonard Waldner: Back Yard BBQ Dad / Suburban Dad

Consult with your agent. Your agent has seen the actors that are booking the jobs you are not. They tend to know what and who is effective for headshots.


Communicate with them. Very often, the photographer will be willing to talk with your agent prior to the session to further clarify what is needed.

la-headshotsSteve Dellatori: Back Yard BBQ Dad / Mobster / Office Guy

Be on time and cooperative with the photographer. They know what they are doing. Most people do not feel comfortable posing for pictures for a long period of time, and most photographers know this.

They will therefore do all they can to set you at ease and BRING FORTH THE BEST OF YOU.

Don’t get chintzy with hair and make-up. While a glamour shot is NOT the goal here, most photographers will know what sort of light is needed for you and how best to tone your skin and make you as presentable as can be.

best-headshots-laMary Faulkner: County Club Mom / Suburban Mom / Detective / Girls’ Night Out

PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR AGENT when examining proofs. Be sure you know what they want, but be sure they know what YOU want as well. This way, there are exactly zero misunderstandings down the road.

Because most headshots are placed on at least one online casting site, make sure to take chosen proofs to a photo lab. Once there, have it processed into an online image. All the sites currently in use have different specs for downloading, and most local labs are familiar with local photographers. Once more, they know what to do.

la-headshot-photographersMimi Trujillo: Anti-Heroine / Quirky Sidekick

los-angeles-actress-headshotsMatthew Diaz: Urban Hip / Hero

los-angeles-digital-headshotsCwennen Corral: Bohemian / Back Yard BBQ Mom

Otherwise, follow the same rules as always:

Don’t upstage yourself by wearing some distracting article of clothing or holding a cute, adorable animal.

PLEASE shower/bathe the day of the shoot. Sorry it is necessary to say this.

Follow photographer and agent advice for wardrobe and settings. (Costumes are not currently in vogue, FYI.)

Relax. You are about to be immortalized.

Most headshots are good for about 18-28 months depending on the actor. If you have headshots older than 2 years, talk to your rep or your favorite photographer–it is time to do it again.

Remember, this is YOUR investment in YOUR career. Do it right!



hollywood-headshotsMonique Reid: Urban Hip / Friend

la-headshot-photographersKatie McCuen: Young Bohemian / Ingenue


I love helping you by putting out this free information (often written on weekends and evenings) so please help me spread the word by commenting and or sharing this post on your social feed!🙏🏻

1 Comment

  1. Lainey

    A wonderful job. Super helpful inforatimon.


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