Prepare for Your Acting Headshots

An actor prepares… for their acting headshots

I do things differently. The acting headshot is the most important piece of marketing for any actor. It's your first impression. A casting director needs to be able to "see you in the role" they are casting in a fraction of a second. Later, when planning for callbacks and placements, your headshot reminds them of the impression you made in your audition.

The two most important things you can bring to the shoot are a positive attitude and an abundance of energy. Prepare for your headshot the same way you would for an audition. Leave all your worries and woes at the door and think about having a fun, positive experience, because that’s what we're going to try to achieve. Before you come in, think about your energy. Take a breather. Centre yourself. Have your coffee, drink your Red Bull, eat some Maca root.

Prepare for Your Acting Headshot Session the Same Way You Would Prepare for an Audition

When it comes to acting, what separates the professionals from amateurs is preparation, in auditions, on screen, and on stage. It should be no surprise that when it comes to your acting headshot, preparation separates a good acting headshot from a great acting headshot.

1. Define Your Characters. Know your roles — not only the types you get cast in, but the types you want to play. Do your research. Define your characters. Solidify their ideologies. When you get in front of the camera, play your roles. Chose a variety of characters, so you have some variety to chose from in your headshots.

2. Make a Connection. You can say more with a single expression than you can with a whole page of dialogue. Internalize. Look at the gallery art for movies. Can you tell what the character is thinking? Can you tell what kind of person they are? Confident? Strong? Vindictive? A survivor? If you've defined your types, this part should be easy.

3. Act. Most people think a headshot session is just posing for the camera. It's not. You're an actor. I'm going to ask you to act. To play roles. Take on personas. I'll be the director of your one-person show while you're with me. I'll coach you through the shots. You're going to look great, but more importantly, you're going to look the part.

Planning Your Looks


Using the character outlines found below, select at least three roles for which you typically audition for and that you want to audition. Your acting headshots should show your range. They should show roles that you are obvious for and roles that you are not obvious. In a single frame, they should convey attitude, personality, and intention.


The wardrobe you select for your acting headshots should be as intentional as the wardrobe you wear to an audition. This does not mean you should wear scrubs if one of your types is "doctor," rather it might suggest a nice jacket, collar shirt, and glasses. Your wardrobe choice is left to your own discretion.

  • Bring at least six complete outfits including different pairs of pants and shoes. 

  • Bring a variety of tops to change into throughout the shoot: casual shirt or T-shirt, solid colour business-appropriate shirt, plain white dress shirt, classy evening top, etc.

  • AVOID logos or patterns, but match your look (eg. if punk rock, bring clothes to suit)

Kevin Patrick Robbins