The head shot is the most important tool of any actor to his or her visibility in the acting community. Knowing what to use it for, when to send it and what’s the best kind of head shot to use, is going to keep your face in the minds of those who are casting for new parts, new movies or commercials and if done well, will be a tool that will gain you more than one part.

The head shot is nothing more than a very good photo. It should be a black and white, about 8×10 in size and should be just as it says. A shot of your head, full face, frontal head pose, of you, looking straight into the camera, with a reasonable smile. Most agents like to see the head shot with a smile that shows your teeth.

Many aspiring actors have more than one head shot photo. Depending on the part they are seeking, they send that particular head shot. the head shot should be a clear photo that looks like you. If your photo reflects a very sexy female and you walk into the room after sending them that headshot, looking like a gardener, they’re probably going to send you home.

If the image you want to reflect is the girl next door type, then make your head shot reflect that by downplaying the makeup or making it more natural. If your type is more the mystery woman, then make it a bit more alluring, but still reflective of what the real you is like.

This head shot, or 8×10 photo, with a CV/resume on the back is really all that you need to use for promotion. It is the actors’ business card and a foot in the door in the acting world. To the back of your head shot, with one staple in the centre, should be your resume, affixed so that the two are able to be easily separated, but you don’t send in one without the other.. what would be the point?

A few things you don’t want in your head shot? Anything that really detracts from you, the person, or takes away from your features and face. Huge unwieldy earrings, or a loud multi-coloured shirt, excessive makeup are probably not the thing to wear for your head shot. Save those for the after party. Keep it clean, so that the only thing that gets noticed in the head shot is you.

Your head shot should reflect well on you. It should show the real you, so that the casting directors get what they want when they call you in for that all important audition.

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Tuirenn Hurstfield
About the author

Tuirenn has over twenty years' experience as a professional and freelance theatre director, producer, playwright and acting coach based in the North West of England and working nationally and internationally. He is an avid lover of nature, books & real music • a proud Ravenclaw • dog dad to Frodo • and is following the Druidic path • 🏳️‍🌈

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