Actors Headshots Resources & FAQ

What is a good headshot for an actor?

A good headshot is a picture that is accepted by the professionals in the acting industry and its main purpose is to market successfully the subject. A headshot does not necessarily mean just “head and shoulders”. A good headshot can also include more than just head and shoulders. Many professionals use a ¾ picture as a “headshot” and this kind of headshots are widely accepted by the industry. We also know that casting directors and agents do not like shots that are cropped too tight. Your headshot needs room to breath and it must show the correct proportion of your head relative to the rest of the body. If the picture is cropped too tight, the casting director won’t know if your head is too big or too small relative to the body; and they will make no effort to find that out. A lot of professional photographers, as well as casting directors and agents, are still using headshots cropped very tight; this is still an option but please take into account what we stated above.

Portraits and Headshots.There is a big difference between a “portrait” and a “headshot”. Even though you have some great portraits, these can not be used to market yourself in the acting industry. They can not be used as actors “headshots”. They go well for musicians, painters, graphic designers or other kind of artists but not for actors. There are also other types of headshots that are not suited for auditions or castings for actors; these are theatrical headshots, glamour headshots or beauty shots. This industry has some strict requirements and trying to market yourself with a beautiful “portrait” or a “theatrical shot” will not bring you auditions. Headshots are all about simplicity and this means – presenting the actor the way he/she is in reality and not the way it can be transformed through creative photography, lighting, make-up and so forth.

A good headshot is not about creativity, it is not about dramatic lighting, and it is not about clothing or body parts. A good headshot is about simplicity, even lighting, minimal shadows and simply background.

A good headshot is also about neutral colors in clothing. Nothing should distract the attention from the model. The purpose is to market the model/actor for casting calls and auditions and nothing more than that.

A good headshot is also about looking into the camera. The casting director or the agent should be engaged in the picture. They should know exactly how you look after viewing the headshot. They don’t have to guess how the actor looks, or to reconstruct your face because the picture is taken from a side angle or because the actor is looking somewhere in the distance.

For more information about our approach of shooting headshots please read the FAQ section below.

1. I need a headshot but I am not sure if I need a black and white or a color one.

We will provide you with both versions. In Quebec, black and white headshots are still used, but Toronto, Los Angeles and New York markets are using mostly color headshots.

2. How many pictures are you going to take during the session?

We take as many shots as needed depending on the duration of the package you picked initially. We will provide you with all the pictures in a web gallery and then you’ll choose the shots you like most.

3. Do you retouch the pictures?

Yes we do retouch your selected pictures. Retouching for actors headshots has to be done with extreme care and we know how to do that. A great headshot can be transformed in a bad headshot in a matter of seconds by applying the wrong tools during retouching. So rest assured that your headshot will look its best.

4. Do you offer prints?

Yes we do offer prints for additional charges. We use professional labs so we can take care of that for you.

5. Do you watermark the pictures?

We will not watermark the pictures that you are going to print or the pictures that are going to be used on the web by your agent. We will watermark however all the other pictures that you did not pick as finals.

6. I see a lot of characters theatrical headshots. Why you are saying that those are not good headshots?

We’re not saying those are not good headshots. We’re saying that those are not suited for the commercial work that most actors apply for. Character headshots are mostly used after you get a name in the industry. Before that, you have to use a commercial headshot. Al Pacino might use a theatrical headshot anytime he wants.

7.  What make-up should I wear?

Clean make-up for women and no makeup for men. Translucent powder can be   used for men to reduce glare. Clean makeup does not mean “no makeup” or    “minimal makeup”; it just means clean. We can help you with that too.

8. How big should I print my headshot?

Headshot for actors should be 8×10 inches in size and vertical portrait format. Some “landscape” headshots are also accepted but casting directors will like more vertical prints.

9. I want to add my name on my picture. Can you help me with that?

We will add the name on your pictures for a small fee.

10. What do you mean by “preparing the picture for print”?

We can get into a lot of details about that but we’ll keep it short. In order to look great, your picture has to undergo some transformations before going to print. It has to be cropped to the right proportion without affecting the native resolution and its aspect ratio. It has to be transformed from its native raw file into a more suitable format (TIFF, PDF, PSD, JPEG). It also has to be transformed according to the lab requirements in terms of color space, file format, and based on the lab method of printing (laser, ink, etc) your headshot also needs to be sharpened.

11. Where do you shoot – studio or outside?

We take pictures both in studio and outside depending on your choice and the package you picked.

12. Where are you located?

We are located in Lasalle, Montreal.

13. How much should I invest?

We offer three packages ranging from 150 to 490. Please get in touch with us and we’ll send you a detailed list of prices.

14. Do I have to pay something in advance?

Yes, we do take a retainer of 50$ to book the session.  The retainer is subtracted from the balance due and the remaining balance is due the day of the shoot.

15. What method of payments do you use?

We accept personal cheques or cash. We do not take credit cards.

16.How long do I have to wait before seeing the proofs?

We will prepare an online gallery with all the proofs in 48 hours after the shoot. After that, you will select the pictures you want to be retouched and prepared for print and you’ll have them ready in 3 days.

17. How much should I pay for an extra image?

Each extra image will cost you 50$/image.

18. What happens if I don’t like the pictures?

You can come for another session or we will refund you the amount. Your satisfaction is our number 1 rule.

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