7 Headshot Tips for TV Auditions

February 16, 2012

As an actor, you need to do everything in your power to procure auditions–because if you don’t audition, you don’t book. There’s no doubt, great actor headshots boost your chances of booking auditions. One good photo can speak volumes about what makes you unique as an actor and as a person. When casting directors are sifting through a sea of talent, make sure your headshots stand out for the right reasons. Here are some tips to make sure they do.


1. First of all, get professional headshots. Don’t try to pass off photos of yourself that a friend snapped of you. Casting directors can immediately tell the difference between amateur and professional pics. Professional photographs show casting professionals you take your career seriously, and you’re willing to properly invest in your career. Remember, you’re competing with thousands of other actors who have professional shots. 

2. Your headshots need to accurately depict you as you currently appear. This means your pics need to capture your current hairstyle, age, and physique. Of equal importance, be natural, relaxed, and authentic–allowing your fierceness and confidence to shine through your eyes. Instead of overly relying on make up, look your best by getting enough rest the night before your shoot, and drinking plenty of water. Some also swear by exercising earlier in the day, and eating foods that make your skin glow.

3. What colors to wear: Color headshots are standard. Casting directors need to accurately assess your hair, eye, and skin colors. Commercial headshots generally call for a broad smile as well as brighter color clothing or backgrouds. These headshots can be used for commercials, sitcoms and some comedic roles. On the other hand, when you audition for theater, film, and television dramas, your headshot usually calls for a more serious or intense expression as well as muted colors. These tendencies are not written in stone, however. Most importantly, make sure to choose colors that work for your skin tone and eye color. Earth tones and subtle colors tend to focus the eye on your face rather than your clothing. 

4. Go for at least 3-4 general looks that suggest various roles or essences. Ask yourself what a casting director realistically might cast you in. If you’re not sure, you can get some ideas at http TypeCastMe.com. Remember that a business suit can suggest entrepreneur, office worker, lawyer, FBI, healthcare worker, detective, and more. Jeans and a t-shirt reveal a casual look and can suggest college student, athlete, geek/nerd, blue color worker, girl/boy next door, among others. A quality, stylish shirt can suggest a parent, model, preppy, cougar, etc. Many actors simply opt to bring their favorite outfit. And why not? If you feel confident in it, your self-assurance will shine through. Whatever looks you decide to go for, make certain to arrive at the shoot with clean, pressed, and lint-free clothing. And having a hair style that appears clean, neat, and compliments the looks you’re targeting is equally important.

5. Make sure your head and upper torso are in the shot. Casting directors need to be able to quickly assess your general physique. 

6. Upload your headshots onto your Casting Frontier profile. Having to print out headshots quickly gets expensive when you consider the various looks you’re presenting to casting professionals. Printing out headshots is also inconvenient, not to mention a waste of trees. By posting your headshots on Casting Frontier, your pictures are immediately accessible to agents and casting directors. And once you get called in for an audition, the relevant commercial executives, directors, and producers will be able to readily view all of your pictures with ease.

7. In case you need to print out headshots, here are some basics. Some casting directors who are still doing things the old-fashioned way may require you to provide them with a printed headshot. If so, the standard size is 8 x 10 inches with matte finish, and your name printed anywhere on the front below your photo. A printed resume will need to be stapled to the back of the headshot. So, have a white or black border framing your headshot; this allows you to camouflage the staples by stapling where the photo and border meet.