There are no shoulds but you shouldn’t wear jewellery… says this London Headshot photographer.

Today on a shoot I had an actress ask if she should wear stud earrings. First of all, there are no shoulds when it comes to headshots but there are industry norms.

Here are the most common shoulds I am asked:

• Should I wear plain tops or something more characterful?
• Should I go neutral expressions or striking ones?
• Should I have hair up or down?
• Which photos should I pick?
• I should I show a wide selection on Spotlight- shouldn’t I?

Actors really care about their work and are eager to nail the perfect headshot, ticking all those should along the way. And this ambition is exactly why as a London headshot photographer I love working with actors. However, every casting director and agent has different thoughts and opinions on what should matter. Drama teachers and actors can offer contradictory thoughts so, which should do you listen to?

It’s worth keeping in mind that some people don’t like coffee or cake and you can’t please them all. For my money, a headshot that captures your casting clearly and powerfully is what you need.

In saying that, there is one headshot should I almost never mess- and that is with (non- facial) jewellery. No matter how small the earrings or necklace, I am against it.

We want the person looking at your photo to have their eyeballs locked on yours. I encourage this by light manipulation, framing, throwing the background out of focus, using contrasting colours (check out my blog post about clothing tips here) but jewellery is shiny and can trigger a ‘magpie’ effect in us and have us notice it over your eyes.

If you have facial piercings, it becomes a judgement call on your casting and whether the piercings are a part of that image. Also, some lip piercings can be tricky to remove so you might prefer to remove them at home rather than under stress of shoot day. I can photoshop them out of course so do get in touch of you feel this is something you need to discuss prior to your shoot.

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