You’ve had your actor headshots taken numerous times and you have yet to have that ‘OMG WOW’ moment. Why?
I’m just not photogenic.
I don’t believe there is any such thing as ‘not having a face for photos’ or being unphotogenic. There is an unhelpful attitude towards photography, models and certain actors, that they are just ‘naturally beautiful’ and that’s why their photos are great. And yes, while shiny hair and good skin can help, this is not the defining aspect of a great actor headshot.
Well, is it all down to the photographer?
Not really. Although hiring a skilled photographer is crucial to getting great shots and if your photographer doesn’t know their craft, you are more likely to have poor results.
I hired a great photographer and I still don’t like my shots
Sometimes, you can hire a great photographer, but there isn’t a connection between the two of you. Unless this is handled in the shoot, your images may not be what you hoped. Most photographers will show you some images as he/she is snapping. If you’re unhappy with how they look, tell your photographer *in the shoot*. He/she will try something else and get things back on track.
I’ve been to TONS of headshot photographers and I’m still unhappy:
If so, there is something missing in your headshot toolkit. It’s that simple. It’s so important, I’m putting it in bold: There is nothing wrong with the way you look. There is something missing in your headshot toolkit. People who have great actor headshots, have a technique most of us are not familiar with using when we’re on front of the camera. So what is that, I hear you ask? Firstly, there is something they are not doing:
- BEING ON THE DARK SIDE aka being scared and anxious, going towards being resigned, cynical, resentful. Finishing up, disappointed or angry or both.
- PLAYING RADIO WOE aka ‘God, I hate getting my photo taken!’ ‘Will my agent like this?’ ‘I’m paying so much money and I bet they will be the same as last time- crap!’ ‘I wish I wore something different!’ ‘I hate my hair’
If you spend two hours monologuing to yourself about all the problems, fears, and worst-case-scenarios of course your headshots will not capture a joyous connected person. If you turn up being ‘on the dark on side’ which goes basically from fear to cynicism, then your headshot session will seem like a burden from the beginning and you will look like someone who is bearing that burden.
What to do instead?
- BE YOUR SUPER-HERO Be something that inspires you. Whether you are going to be proud, excited, enthusiastic or serene- it doesn’t matter. Empower yourself. Think about your headshot session the same way you think about preparing a character. What ingredients can you add so that you deliver?
- KNOW YOUR TUNES Recognise which stations you usually play. Are you a cynic, a worrier or a complainer? You’re probably not saying this stuff aloud (because if you did, you’d hear how nutty it sounds) Notice it. Recognise it is RADIO WOE and choose another bloomin’ station. What would your good friend say to you? Play the compliments record instead…
And the technique…
Bringing energy, by which I mean connection, aliveness and authenticity to each shot. Those headshots that you’ve seen and loved are infused with energy. They are not passive shots of people who are lucky enough to be photogenic. Those actors are actively engaging with the person behind the camera. They’re a delivering a communication.
So be connected, authentic and love it. Love sharing yourself with the person behind the camera because sharing who you are is what actors do best.