Avoid These 4 Common Headshot Mistakes

Hiring the Wrong Photographer

Photographers, like many other business professionals, often use discounts and coupons to attract new customers. While price point is an important consideration, a customer should not hire based solely on the bill. Conversely, if a photographer is exorbitant, that does not guarantee the best quality of work either. It is much wiser to find photographers in a price range that fits your budget, and look at reviews of these photographers. Sites like Yelp will give honest customer feedback. Also, check out photographers' websites and compare their bodies of work. Every photographer brings something different to the table. You want a photographer who listens to what you want, understands exactly what it is you're looking for, and helps you achieve that through film.

Looking Too Much the Part

There are many dos and don'ts when it comes to wardrobe for a photoshoot. An important tip to keep in mind is that you want your face-not your clothes– to convey a message. Though you are an actor looking for certain roles, do not dress for those roles in your photoshoot. Wearing a policeman's uniform, farmer's overalls, or dressing like a cheerleader will end up looking tacky, unprofessional, and gimmicky. It is better to wear clothes that are understated and fit well. The focus should be on your face, not what you're wearing. With this in mind, avoid patterns as these can be distracting. Opt for solid prints in warm tones. Likewise, keep the jewelry to a minimum as large earrings and necklaces can draw attention away from your features and onto the accoutrements.

Wearing Stage Makeup

On the stage, hair and makeup are often overdone, and with good reason. In order for the back row to see the actors, bright lipstick and heavily applied eye makeup are essential, and big hair is a bonus. When it comes to headshots, natural is better. A casting agent wants to find candidates who would fit a certain part. If you are a blank canvas, free from heavy makeup and teased hair, that agent is better able to recognize if you could transform into a role. This does not imply to go makeup-free. Rather, use a light hand when applying mascara, blush, and lip gloss, and opt for neutral shades. Similarly, style hair to look natural. This doesn't mean you can't pull it back or use any hair accessories; it only means that hair should look free flowing and not as if a windstorm wouldn't budge it. Also, don't cut or color your hair the day prior to a photo shoot. Wait at least a week to allow a cut and color to settle.

Showing up Unprepared

A good photographer can make someone who is camera shy look great on film. Even so, that's no excuse to not be prepared. How we look is often different from how we think we look. An actor wouldn't show up to a play unrehearsed. Likewise, showing up to a photoshoot unrehearsed is just as unforgiveable. Practice posing in the mirror. Know your brand and how you want to be marketed. Treat the headshot as an audition for a role and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. On the day of the photoshoot, it's important to listen to the photographer's direction and insight, but leaving him do all the work if you're unprepared may get you less than the headshots you had hoped for.

A professional, diverse, and well thought out DC headshot portfolio can be the ticket to getting that big audition. Avoid these common mistakes to achieve headshots casting agents will remember.

A professional, diverse, and well thought out DC headshot portfolio can be the ticket to getting that big audition. Avoid these common mistakes to achieve headshots casting agents will remember.

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