What should you wear for your headshots?
The question I get asked most is, without a doubt, “What should I wear for my headshot session?” or “How do I pick an outfit for my headshot?” There are two answers to this question– a general answer and a specific answer. The general answer is that you should wear an outfit to your headshot shoot that you would wear to an audition– you want to look like a person, not an “actor.” That means no black turtlenecks, and you don’t need to dress up in a business suit unless you plan on playing a businessman (or businesswoman!). The actress pictured to the right is frequently ‘typed’ as a cop or lawyer and wanted a headshot that showed that without hitting the nail on the head, so we chose a fitted leather jacket. Before you start pulling outfits from your closet it’s best to first identify your type . Check out my blog post on how to figure out your actor type.
Now on to the specifics:
- Once you’ve identified your “type” bring an outfit that best represents it. Look at how your “type” is represented in different mediums. What does your competition wear in commercials, on procedurals, in movies? There are slight variations for every type. Bring a casual option and a more formal option.
- Don’t bring clothes with loud patterns or designs. Avoid writing and logos. That isn’t to say you should be boring– colors and designs are okay, especially for commercial shots, just make sure that what you’re wearing doesn’t distract from you. The viewer’s eye should be drawn to your face, not your t-shirt.
- Bring at least one option that matches your eye color. This can make your eyes pop.
- Focus on bringing a variety of necklines– this is all that will show in the majority of your shots. Girls, avoid spaghetti straps as this can look like you’re in a victoria’s secret ad– unless that’s what you’re going for.
- Avoid bulky or rumpled clothes. No christmas sweaters and no wrinkled dress shirts.
- Don’t worry so much about your pants! Odds are slim we’ll ever see them. Girls make sure you wear something comfortable and durable if you’re shooting with me because we’ll be moving around a lot.
- If there’s one theme here it’s bring a bunch of options! Even if you don’t end up shooting half of them it’s good to have them with you.
How do I pick an outfit for my headshots?
Those are some ground rules, now feel free to break them. There are exceptions to every rule– what works for one actor may not work at all for another. Some actors should absolutely wear solid colors and solid colors alone, but others really can work with patterns. Even if it’s not something that ends up working for your primary headshot it could be perfect to round out your promotional shots on your webpage and imdb. The same actress wanted to make sure she got a friendly, approachable shot so she brought her most comfortable plaid shirt as an option. We didn’t spend a lot of time shooting it but in the shot to the left I think it ended up working out for her.
Lastly, if you have any more questions about what outfit to wear for headshots ask your photographer for advice! I always have my clients send me a couple of pictures (preferably their old headshots that aren’t working for them) and give them personalized suggestions in our phone consultation.
Visit http:/www.kitpictures.com to find out more about me and my work!
Posted in Advice for actors
Tagged Actor types, Advice for actors, Clothes for headshots, Clothing for outfits, Headshots, Headshots for Actors, Headshots in Los Angeles, http://www.kitpictures.com, Los Angeles Headshots, New York Headshots, Outfits for headshots, Picking an outfit for headshots, Typing actors, What to wear for headshots
How to figure out your actor type:
People talk a lot about “type” in this industry but the concept of type is inherently flawed. Of course you’re more complex than a single type! You’re a small town girl from Ohio but you trained at RADA and you love nothing more than rocking out to 80s hair metal! You’re worldly and wise, down to earth AND a scatterbrained dreamer with your head in the clouds. Once you’re established as an actor you’ll have the chance to portray characters as multi-faceted as you are, but in the meantime you need to be able to market yourself in a way that is targeted, specific and immediately accessible to agents, managers and casting directors. You have to know how to speak their language.
So what’s an actor’s “type,” exactly?
The Boy Next Door
Your “type” is less about who you are, intrinsically, as a person or an actor, and more about who people perceive you to be. It’s your first impression, plain and simple, and your default casting. Knowing and understanding your type is a key component to marketing yourself to agents and managers. What type of actor are you? If you have a wholesome, girl-next door look you shouldn’t send out a headshot that exudes exotic sensuality, for example. Don’t send mixed messages. If you want to play the exotic beauty then you need to look like the exotic beauty inside of you at default. Your headshot needs to reflect what people see when you walk into a room. That is your “actor type.”
How do you tell what your type is?
The Quirky, Smart Girl
Lesly Kahn does a fantastic exercise on the first day of her comedy intensive where she holds up your headshot and asks the class (a group of total strangers) to call out adjectives that describe the person in the picture. She then has you stand up and take notes on the type of roles they think you could play. If your two lists are different it might be time to think about getting new headshots.
I also know an agency that holds “typing sessions” for new clients, where all the agents and assistants fill out a questionnaire based on a short meeting.
The key similarity between both of these exercises is that you are gathering the opinions of strangers. Your close friends and family might have a difficult time being objective about your type because they know just how complex and wonderful you really are– they’re never going to tell you that you’re the quirky computer expert after they’ve seen you play Hamlet!
I’m not saying you won’t get to play meaty dramatic roles in your career– you may get the chance right away! There is no single established path to success in this business. But knowing your type is a useful tool that can help you understand and exploit the assumptions people make about you at a glance and this knowledge can help you get the most out of your headshot session.
Visit www.kitpictures.com to book a shoot with me today!
Posted in Advice for actors
Tagged Actor Headshots, Actor types, Advice for actors, Career Advice, Headshots, Headshots for Actors, Headshots in Los Angeles, How do I tell my type, How to tell your type, Typing actors, What is an actor type, What kind of actor are you