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  • Writer's pictureMatt Jones

What are actor headshots?

Actor headshots are close-up photos of an actor's head and shoulders, used as part of an actor's CV when applying for acting jobs. Actor headshots are also used in theatre programmes, on actors' IMDb profiles and their personal websites.

Headshots are a vital part of an actor's CV. Casting directors, agents and fans alike need to know what an actor looks like before investing time or money into them. The most effective actor headshot photographers can bring out an actor's range in a headshot shoot, creating eye-catching images that stand out from the crowd, tell a story and can be used for a wide range of purposes.

Some Examples of effective Actor Headshots. Taken by Matt Jones

What should acting headshots look like?

Acting headshots are very different to corporate headshots or passport photos - Which only serve the purpose of documenting what a person looks like. Acting headshots do need to achieve that, but while also showing a bit of personality and suggesting different roles you can play. Your headshots should be a good representation of how you would look in an audition or self-tape.

Actors should have a range of headshots. Usually 3-5 images, which can be used separately to apply for different roles. The aim is to have a headshot that matches the role you or your agent are submitting your CV for.

Within this selection should be photos that show both sides of your face, use a range of different colours (both clothing and backdrops) and have a range of subtle differences between facial expressions.

A smiling photo which shows your teeth is not mandatory, but is recommended if you're being submitted for commercial work or particularly friendly roles, and having one just in case is always useful.

Actor Headshots are usually provided as both a wider aspect ratio of 3:2 for website and social media use, and a much closer 4:5 or 8:10 crop for casting sites such as Spotlight and Mandy. This is important because headshots are displayed as small thumbnails on casting sites, so the closer crop allows the actor's face to be clearly visible.

Looking for actor headshots?

I'm recommended as one of the top acting headshot photographers, both in the UK and internationally. I also deliberately keep my packages at a low price point to allow more actors to access top-quality headshot photography.

View my prices or book a session here

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