Tuesday, March 30, 2010


So for this blog - I want to spend a little time talking about headshots. I want to start first by saying that I speak from experience. I’ve worked for a top agent in hollywood, and I know how vital a good headshot is to get your foot in the door.

It's V I T A L.

Did I say vital yet? 

In this blog - I’m going to give you a few examples of “good” headshots and “bad” headshots as well as sharing my own headshots with you (Good and Bad) for reference.
You should consider your headshot your calling card. It’s your first impression BEFORE your first impression so to speak. When I worked for this agent - we would get - literally - hundreds of submissions a week. And guess who the first people to look at the headshots were - ME. That’s right - his assistant. He would give myself and the other assistant a stack of headshots and tell us to go through them and pick the best ones. And out of that stack - we would find MAYBE 1 or 2 good headshots, and then hand them to him - and 9/10 he would look at them for less than 2 seconds and discard them. Rarely did he actually call someone in.

Now I should say - this was a boutique agency - and he was extremely particular about which clients he took on. 
(I don’t know how it works at big agencies like CAA - but I imagine it’s much the same - except on a larger scale).
Point is - I’ve seen countless headshots - good and bad. Your shot needs to catch someone's eye immediately. It MUST have that WOW factor. I’ve been told by many people that you don’t need to spend too much on your headshots - well - BULLSHIT. You get what you pay for - and in this cut neck industry - don’t you want the best your money can buy? I’m not saying you need to go out and hire Nigel Barker - but if someone says they can give you great headshots for $100 bucks you might want to check out their portfolio/website first and see what you’re dealing with. 
Now let me tell you why - let me tell you why certain ones would be discarded immediately and others considered. Because the people who spend their time and money to make sure they have the best headshots possible are the ones who take themselves seriously. You as an actor are asking people to spend their time and money and bank their project(s) on you - so why would they pick someone who just uses a photo that their brother took and is “good enough” over someone who will do whatever it takes to put out a professional product. I see actors all the time on facebook and myspace that put up “headshots” that are horrible. It’s obvious they just had a friend snap some shots of them and then threw them up. I can’t stress this enough - DON’T put up something that is “good enough”. You get ONE shot to impress these people, and what are you saying to them by putting up these so-so shots? That you don’t take it seriously - that’s what. And why would they take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously?

Your headshot should be compelling and look like there is something going on behind your eyes. Don’t try and be funny. Yeah - it’ll catch their eye - but will they take you seriously... NO. Honest to god - this one headshot I saw - the girl was wearing a shirt that had 2 eggs on her boobs.... REALLY? Now - I’ll never forget it - but she didn’t go into the consideration pile - that’s for sure.
Here are some examples of some good headshots:

Photo Credit: Bjoern Kommerell
And now for some that would get put directly into the discard bin:

And now for a good laugh - here are my headshots... my first attempt - and then some of my current shots.
And New:
Live and Learn right!

What are your thoughts? Any headshots to share? Post them in the comments or share a link! Have a favorite photographer? Share their website below.


  1. I liken this scenario to interviewing for a job and walking in with a resume handwritten on crumpled paper - vs handing over a professionally typed resume. Another scenario would be auditions - as a director - when an actor has had sides for a read for a 24 hour period - and shows up and still has to read her lines off the sides - it's frustrating - vs - the actor that walks in and knows the lines - immediately sends up a flag that this actor wants the job terribly - is willing to do the work - and does weigh heavily on my decision. Best foot forward always wins over just jumping in and looking unprofessional - amazed by how many don't get it - it actually make me think - when I view all the facebook/myspace people posting - so-called headshots up on their profile and posting everywhere - check out my headshots - while I do take the time to look - if they are not top notch and professional - I immediately file that person as someone not taking their career seriously - and I absolutely have no time for people who don't. It really is that simple - because in this industry - in 30 seconds - I will meet and actor that does take it seriously - and that always who one wants to align themselves with. The exception that I not - when dealing with #extremeindie - is simply a person calling or writing stating - I don't have professional headshots - may I still audition - I do take that into consideration - it shows me that the actor is serious - knows they don't have professional headshots - knows the game - isn't NOT taking the career seriously by posting home-photos everywhere and calling them headshots - but whats to audition - I usually allow this - but make no mistake - I'll usually pencil them in for a later audition - taking the ones that have a complete professional package first.

    Sunday, March 28, 2010 - 10:11 PM

  2. WRITTEN BY: 1001Hobbies

    Once again great insight to what the "powers that be" feel while looking at headshots. Great info for actors and snipers. :P Hey, "headshots."

    The difference between your self taken headshots, as well as the poor headshot examples, and your pro headshots is amazing. They are not just better, they are in another category all together. They look like stills from a TV show or a movie. The lighting is not something a mall photo studio is going to do for you. That is real, experienced pro. Certainly worth the money.

    Monday, March 29, 2010 - 06:46 PM

  3. Thank you so much for your kind words Steve. I think this is a very important thing for all actors to know - because to be honest - I don't think many of them do. Hell - I didn't - obviously. lol

    Oak - I def. know what you are saying - in fact - I'm still shocked you cast me in your last film seeing as my headshot I gave you was so terrible hahaha... I still think about that. I was such a NOOB.

  4. It does make all the difference in the world - doesn't it ;-)