Head Shots

Written by Serena Berger
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Head shots are essential for anyone trying to succeed in theater or film. These are 8 x 10 black and white pictures taken from the upper torso, focusing on the face in such a way that a casting agent will be able to put a name to a face, or flip through a file and pull people who are appropriate to call in for a role. While some actors try to get the most glamorous head shots possible, the best actors know that it is most important to have a head shot that actually looks like you, and trust a good director to be able to imagine different potential looks or styles.

Specifications for Head Shots

The requirements for head shots are quite specific. A good head shot photographer will be aware of the conventions of theatrical or film head shots and make sure that your head shot will be attractive and appropriate. Of course your head shot can reflect your own personal style and taste, but a good photographer will make sure you don't fall into any of the more common mistakes actors make of trying to get noticed but ultimately doing something that will gain only negative attention.

Acting isn't the only profession where someone might want a head shot. Professionals in many of the arts need head shots, and can benefit from a good photographer taking their portrait. Musicians, newspaper columnists, and even business executives all might have use for a head shot, and might be wise to keep an updated version available for whenever there is ever a cause to use it.

Generally a casting agency will have a photographer they recommend to take photographs if you ask them; but if you want to look on your own, you can certainly do so. The Internet will be a great resource as you search for an experienced and affordable photographer. You should be able to view a sample of the person's work online before deciding to meet with them or trust them with your image in your head shot.


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