What Is The Purpose Of A Headshot?

Headshot Photographer Vanie Poyey

Most actors think headshots are an opportunity to play dress up…

…and have a nice photo taken. BUT there’s sooo much more to a headshot than that.

Headshots are a marketing tool, a business card of sorts. They are *not* simply nice pictures of you.

Blaze Robert Stow: The Nurse / The Hipster / The Edgy Biker

Caitlyn Charles: The Hipster / The Creative Professional

As an actor you need to shift your mindset and understand that headshots are the most important tool your reps rely on to get you work. You need to think of headshots as an opportunity to do business. YES, business.


They need to be able to give a potential employee your elevator pitch.

In business, that’s your 30 second pitch to a potential customer letting them know what you do, why you do it and how you do it.

Tiquisia McClure: The Student / The Young Detective

Shelley Lopez: The BBQ Mom /Emma Bridges: The Quirky Friend

Rolando Zee: The Musician / The Professor

In your case, headshots are your elevator pitch to potential employers (casting directors) letting them know what you do (what roles you play), why you do it (why you can play those roles) and how you do it (how you can play those roles differently from anyone else).

Understand the connection?

So how can your headshots 1) convey what roles you play, 2) convey why you can play those roles and 3) convey how you can play those roles?

Peyton Walker: The Love Interest / Jon Justus: The Anti-Hero

Lecia Papadopoulos: The Country Girl / The Waitress / The Therapist

Here’s how.

What roles you play:

This is determined by your age range (usually a seven year range) and what your look *and* essence can support. You can see a list of looks in different age groups here.


Is determined by your headshots conveying that you look the part. So you’ll need to make sure you dress the character properly to clarify your look.

How you can play those roles:

Is determined by your unique personality in those headshots– differentiating you from everyone else. Because hint, YOU and your unique personality *is* the differentiation.

Lalaina Rivas: The Boho / The Urban Girl

Now that you understand how headshots are a marketing tool, you need to make sure you approach your session with a business plan.

Your looks should be specific and picked out in advance, your outfits should convey those looks clearly and your personality should come through the headshots letting casting directors know you can play the part!

Justin Vasquez: Customer Service / The Side Kick

Giannina Esquivel: Country Club Mom / The Guy’s Girl

Comment below with your thoughts and conceptions about headshots!


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1 Comment

  1. John Hoj

    Thanks for offering these comprehensive gathering places for questions that I am sure everyone has when navigating this process.


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