How Do You Prepare For Your Acting Headshots?
How Do You Prepare For Your Acting Headshots

Your Headshot = Key Marketing Tool

For an actor your headshot, along with your showreel, are so important to getting in front of a casting director. With your headshot being your key marketing tool it is important that you prepare yourself to get the most out of your headshot photography session.

If the reason you are reading this article is that you have already booked a headshot photography session or are thinking that your need to update your headshots (if you are thinking of having a headshot photography session you can find out more about what I offer here). Hopefully as you read this article we will be able to go through some of the common questions that I usually get asked about my acting headshot photography.

The Big Question – What To Wear

What you wear is crucial to your headshot photography, the style & colour, can make the difference between being your profile being noticed or passed over in a single swipe. Figuring out what to wear though is a vital part of of preparing for your headshot session.

Your first question is what is your acting style? There is no point turning up for your acting headshot wearing a suit and hat that makes you look like an old school detective when the role you are looking for is as a comedy actor. The flip side to this is that you also don’t want to stereotype yourself into a role.

Also, as a part of this is take time to practice the emotion that you want to be able to show in your headshots. This is where your acting ability can be shown off even before the casting director decides to take the time to view your showreel.

What Should You Bring?

Two things I can give you for a starter here. What you wear for your headshot should reflect the acting roles that you are looking for. Don’t be tempted to simply wear the outfit that you bought at the weekend because it’s now become your favourite.

The second is remember it is called a headshot for a reason. Don’t get stressed out about what trousers, skirt or shoes to wear, they won’t show. If you want to wear your joggers and flip flops that’s fine by me. Just make sure that you are comfortable.

With no time limit for my session you could bring a range of tops with you. Bring different tops that bring out the different types of acting role that you are aiming for.

A good tip here though is avoid vivid colours. The aim of your headshot is to show you off and a bright top will bring the casting directors eye away from you to what you are wearing, and if they don’t like the colour that’s you in the bin even before they look at you. If you are not sure about what colour to wear have a look in the mirror it will be easy to spot when you see it.

Your eyes are what will draw someone into looking at you. Wear something that compliments the colour of your eyes.

One last thing is make sure whatever clothes you bring are neat and tidy. There are somethings that I can do with a crease in a shirt, but it is a whole lot better if they are ironed ready.

Keep It Safe With Black And White

If you are not sure what you should wear then a safe bet is always a black or white top. I would usually recommend that you do have at least one headshot in both black and white as some agencies or casting directors can request this. I admit it’s not the most exciting, however, it does work.

If you do want to add some colour my preference would be for darker more muted colours, although the decision is entirely yours. When thinking about colour though remember that it is your face on show, try to pick out something that works well with your features, the colour of your eyes, your hair and your skin.

If you really want to go bold then go for it. Surprise me and we will see what we can come up with. Adding a bold headshot in your portfolio could be the attention grabbing image that you need.

Dresses, Vests And ‘Off The Shoulder’

For your headshots we will be concentrating on your head and shoulders, but don’t forget that dresses can have some great necklines that tops just don’t offer (you can always just slip one over the top of your jeans (I won’t tell and what the camera doesn’t see….)

If you are wearing a plain top your skin is a great way of bringing back some natural colour in your shots. your neckline and shoulders are lovely features so why not show them off?

Create It With Layers

Blazers, jackets, cardigans all add their own dimension to an image, use them to your advantage. They can help you to portray the type of acting that you are aiming for. Are you looking for something energetic, do you want to be the rock star or are you going for the more corporate role?

Beware The Crazy Pattern

Patterns and logos are fine for everyday wear but I would not suggest them for your headshot. Simply put they can just be too distracting for the eye.

Hair, Lipstick And Having A Shave

With the most common question of what to wear out of the way it’s time to take a quick look at the rest of what you need to think about before your headshot photography session.


What Do I Do With My Hair?

Your hair is really important for your headshot. Not only will it make a difference in the final image it will also be the difference between you feeling comfortable during your headshot photography session and not.

Don’t think that you need to rush out and get your haircut the day before your session (or in the morning). Give your hair some time to settle down and don’t risk it.

If you are thinking of having some headshots with your hair up or in plaits as well as your hair down then come with it down. We will do the hair down headshots first and having your hair up or in plaits will leave waves and creases in your hair.


If you think you are going to need hairspray for some of the shots bring it with you but don’t use it before hand for the same reason as having your hair up.

Should I Wash My Hair?

You know your hair better than me so sorry I can’t answer that for you. If you are one of these people where it is better being left a day or so then wash it a couple of days before your session.

To Shave Or Not To Shave?

If you would like to have your headshots with and without stubble then go for it, you can always have a shave here. The one thing I would say is go for an electric shave not a wet shave.

Do I Wear Makeup?

Bit of a tricky one. If you are going for different looks you may need to be able to change your makeup during the session. I will say though that I am not a makeup artist so wouldn’t be of any use there. If you do need someone to help you though by all means feel free to bring someone along with you to help.

I would suggest that you keep makeup, including lipstick, subtle. Unless it is the look that you are going for, bright makeup and lipstick can draw the attention away from your eyes.

Faking It

Personally, I would say ‘No, to a fake tan. However it is your headshot session so if that makes you feel more comfortable then go for it.

As with the fake tan it would be a ‘No’ from me. If you wear them all the time though then that is fine. Remember though that casting directors are looking for actors that can be their characters, not actors who they can base their characters around.

Get Some Rest

Get a good night’s sleep ahead of your headshot session. If you don’t feel energetic it will show in your headshot (and those bags under the eyes are a nightmare to remove).


Lastly, don’t panic about spots. I can get rid of spots for you. Don’t go thinking you need need to apply loads of foundations to cover them up (sometimes it takes longer to sort out bad makeup than it does to remove the spot).

If you have enjoyed looking at this article and would like to know more about my headshot photography why not get in touch.

Living in Luton and with a studio in Ridgmont I able able to provide my headshot photography throughout Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire.