What are they and why do I need actor headshots?

Actor headshots are a vital part of your brand. It’s about marketing yourself within the industry and an essential part of getting noticed and remembered by agents and casting professionals. It’s the first step in getting that all-important audition!

  • It’s not a ‘selfie’ or a photograph of your recent holiday in France; and it’s not been taken on a mobile phone by a mate while pulling duck face pouts… It should represent you as your best self; natural and not overly posed.
  • A headshot should be a quality photograph taken by a professional who knows how to produce an industry standard headshot that’s not going to end up in a casting director’s bin!

So, if your serious about acting, then you need to show the professionals you are too…

it’s time to go pro and get to that audition!

How often should I update my headshot?

Being current is important! You should look exactly as yourself. It’s not going to go down well with a casting professional if you turn up with a shaved head, when you had an 80’s style mullet in your headshot – especially if that was what stood out for them in the first place! Obviously casting professionals are your ‘in’ to an audition, so you don’t really want to upset your relationship with them!

While not set in stone, you should be considering an updated headshot every year, but obviously that depends on all sorts of factors. On some occasions it could be a lot sooner, for example, new hair style, beard, clean-shave, weight loss/gain, tattoos, piercings. On others it could be a few years – The important thing to remember is…

Any change in appearance = you might want to update your actor headshots!

What’s the industry standard?

While there are some subtle differences internationally, an actor’s headshot is normally represented as an 8x10Inch photograph. They can be in both landscape or vertical/portrait orientation, (with the latter being more common); and a good photographer will cover both anyway.

Previously black and white used to be the preferred format and may still be requested, however more and more agents and directors will accept colour too. Again, an experienced photographer will be able to cover both versions. Giving you options if there is a preferred or specific requirement for your agent.

How should I look?

Remember this is your visual ‘CV’ and you are showing the ‘real you’ and how you look in real life.

Your headshot is part of your ‘personal branding’ and ‘part’ of your portfolio, but it’s NOT a portfolio session. For example, you may want photographs where you’re in character, costume, or showing off a particular style or for a specific purpose; and while these are part of your ‘portfolio’ they are NOT the real you. That’s the difference. In essence it’s about the natural you.

A few tips and considerations
  • Be clean, Brush your teeth, clip your nails (even if they’re not in the shot, it’s about psychology of feeling fresh and comfortable)
  • Remove all piercings. Unless this is appropriate or specific for your casting genre (you go for particular types of roles)
  • Minimise accessories – Jewellery, hats, scarves, sunglasses. Anything that distracts from your face.
  • Glasses – Yes if wear them. It’s always an idea to have some with and some without to give you options.
  • Hair neat and tidy – Remember this is the real you. Keep it as if you were just going out with friends to a nice restaurant or a job interview. Again, many photographers have stylists that can be arranged to help with this. Don’t get a haircut just before the session… Just in case you have a ‘bad hair day’
  • Don’t go out clubbing or hit the booze the night before the shoot. You won’t be at your best.
  • Get some sleep and keep hydrated.
More on Makeup
  • Yes, to makeup – For both men and women. Keep it light and natural, it’s only there to cover minor imperfections (that spot that appears on the morning of the shoot!) as well as useful for reducing skin shine/reflections.
  • Don’t over do it though! Try to hide anything permanent e.g. freckles, moles and scars. These are a part of the you (and therefore your brand).
  • Speak to your photographer as they may be able to provide a makeup artist for you.
  • Remember some ‘features’ can be retouched/Airbrushed. But remember this is about the ‘real’ you and not meant to make you look like a plastic doll!

So, what should I wear?

The important thing to remember is to be comfortable. When you’re relaxed and comfortable then the session is going to go much better and allow the ‘real you’ to shine through. So, while there are no absolutes about what you wear (I’d rather you comfortable than not at all), there are a few things that you should consider that will raise your headshot to the next level.

Style.

The neckline of what your wearing can also effect how your persona/character comes across to the agent. Crew necks (softer) and V-necks (stronger) are the most common and a good place to start from when thinking about what to wear.

However this could also depend on your body type or the casting genre your going for; so always a good idea to have a chat with your photographer before the session to help you decide what you need.

Having layers can add interest too. So bring a selection of jackets and tops that can be combined to complement and contrast each other for different looks; and with minimal changes of clothing.

Colour.
  • Avoid strong bright colours. Reds and oranges are close to skin times and can distract from your face.
  • Light will reflect off strong bright colours and this can lead to unwanted colour casts on the skin. Muted pastel and earthy tones work well to prevent this.
Go for plain/neutral.
  • Blacks and whites can be great. However some agencies may advise to avoid black clothing on black background because of the potential of ‘floating head look’. However, its more about how skilled your photographer is at separating you from the background using light.
  • Neutral colours that compliment your skin tone
  • Bring a few changes of clothing to the session as this can add variety and range for you to select from.
Avoid wearing busy patterns, branding and logos.
  • Avoid Stripes, spots, plaids, vivid prints.
  • Logos of any kind and busy patterns
  • All tend to distract your eyes from a person’s face; Keep it simple. Think Smart casual or job interview.

What about airbrushing?

In the digital world nearly, all professional photographs are given some form of post processing. However, didn’t we say earlier this is about the ‘real you’?

With that in mind you can’t end up looking like a plastic doll; retouched, reshaped and photoshopped to near perfection!

While there are occasions that I would do this, it would only be for specific purposes. Such as a commercial brief or part of a digital art project. The only retouching I would be doing on a headshot would be colour correction, stray hairs and the odd blemish – While a ‘spot’ maybe ‘real’ on the day of the shoot it’s not a permanent feature… it’s not the ‘real’ you.

Where is the best place for my headshots?

In its simplest terms you are looking at a studio or on-location; and either can work well.

Studio.
  • A studio session can be more controlled from a lighting perspective.
  • The photographer can setup their equipment that suits your needs.
  • It’s not effected by the weather.
  • Most good photographers would have discussed, what you need before the session and have a variety of backgrounds and options.
  • Somewhere to change.
  • Size Doesn’t matter – I’ve seen photographers tell clients about their large luxury studios that are perfect for headshots. Nonsense! You can do brilliant headshots in the corner of a room, if you know what you’re doing with light and reflectors!
Location.
  • So, while there is absolutely nothing wrong with having your headshots on location there are going to be a few extra considerations.
  • Controlled lighting vs Natural light -Neither right or wrong but make sure your photographer has the ability to work with both.
  • Weather – We live in the UK… nuff said!
  • What’s important? The location or your headshots?
  • It maybe great having your headshot in a park, but many actually have commercial photography license requirements; therefore, additional costs to the session
  • Shooting on grass – Believe it or not but this can throw a green colour casts on faces
What about both?

I have a very small studio that’s very close to public land (no need for permits) So how about have some in the studio and some outside for variety? Not many photographers with a studio has this option!

Don’t be late!

Don’t worry, I’m not being a stickler for punctuality! Just remember to allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at the session. Not only will you be less flustered (less stress equals better headshots!) but you will be keeping your photographer on schedule! 😉

Paramount personality!

Look for and work with a photographer that gets you!

It’s important to find a common ground that will help you relax and bring out your personality. Don’t go to a shoot thinking “This is just something I have to do” It’s a proven fact in the modern world – People do business with people they like! The same goes for your headshots.

Have fun, let your personality shine through. A good photographer will spend a little time before you even start and give you some time to settle into the experience. If you’re nervous that’s fine too – A good photographer is going to know this and coach you.

In Summary your headshot needs to be

  • Your head and shoulders
  • Professional
  • Current and true likeness
  • Clean minimal background
  • Minimal retouching
  • Facing the camera
  • Have some in Colour and Black and White and both Portrait and Landscape (Some agencies may require specific standards) 10x8Inch

WHAT YOU SAY…

Graham Baker is honestly one in a million! He is by far, the best photographer I have ever worked with. The pictures he sends though, when we get to the final edit stage, never fail to amaze me! Such a great person to work with as well. Always friendly, always delivering professional results and a professional experience. As a function singer, I use his photographs to promote my solo business and he always gives me great direction and has plenty of useful ideas. I would highly recommend Graham to anyone wanting promotional images for their business!”

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Josh Hassell

“After meeting with Graham and listening to his advise on the importance of creating the right image for my business website and social media, I booked a personal branding photo shoot with him. I was nervous but he kept things relaxed and fun and soon I was feeling happy and confident that I had made the right choice in choosing Graham. He was patient and explained everything clearly. Graham gave great direction and he had lots of tips on how to use the images online. Graham is professional and trustworthy and I am very much looking forward to working with him on future projects.”

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Carol Hassell

“Excellent job! Graham can really make you feel relaxed while the pictures are being taken and this helps to achieve very good results. I am very pleased. Well done!”

Daniel Maifredi
Entrepreneur

Highly recommend Graham. Delivers absolute professionalism and knows how to get the best shots. I needed some headshots for my website and Graham has come up trumps. Captures the mood perfectly, knows how to put clients at ease, even for the most camera shy! Working with Graham is like talking to an old friend yet still professional. Don’t go anywhere else! What are you waiting for? Just book in”

Kickstart Wellbeing 

Sarah McGirr

“So pleased with Graham’s work. I chose him because I liked his previous work and I wasn’t disappointed. Graham has helped me show how to better portray my business with personal branding shots and behind the scenes pictures. He understood perfectly the essence of my business and was able to capture this producing fantastic shots. I was very nervous at the start but he made the session flow so easily taking a great interest in what I do and producing an amazing work.”

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Paula Mateo

I love the photos, Graham did an amazing job!! Graham talked me through what he was doing and he knew exactly what I was after! The studio experience was very enjoyable and I will be using Graham in the future when I renew my headshots!

Pete James

“I needed to have some headshots produced for my 14 year old niece for her acting portfolio. I was really impressed with the way Graham works and how he put my niece at ease throughout the whole shoot so much that she really enjoyed the experience of being photographed. The session was good value for money and we now have plenty of photos to choose from and this is the hard part as all the photos are stunning. Each photo speaks a thousand words and captures her perfectly which is exactly what you need for a portfolio as you are competing with other young actors. We will be using Graham again and I will be recommending him to others.”

Karen

“Graham is a very reliable, hard-working and attentive photographer. He manages to always provide what you need with your photoshoots. With extreme professionalism and dynamic actions, Graham Baker Photography is highly recommended in this area.”

Josh Hassell

“Being a therapist I wanted  to show both the therapy & business side in my photos.Graham created a professional but fun experience. He put both me and my client at ease and was very discrete when taking pictures of the therapy session.The session was tailored to my needs and he listened to what I needed. It was a truly personal experience and a valued investment. It was very hard to choose from the photographs taken but my head shot says everything I wanted to convey. I Would recommend Graham to any other therapists or anyone wanting great photos & a professional experience x”

Rae Calnan

“Working with Graham has been a dream and I am not exaggerating at all! Within 5 minutes of meeting him, he absorbed so much of what my business & brand was about. I am amazed at not only his skills behind the camera and the sleek images he produces but also with how passionate, creative, in-the-know, motivating and inspiring he is as a human. He has helped get my business off the ground and I am grateful for his hard work and patience along the way. My brand is super sleek and my product images are perfect in every way. The whole aesthetic is exactly what I was looking for. Graham is THE Photographer you are looking for and I guarantee you he will make your dreams come true too!”

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Shereen Syed

“I had a relaxed and fun personal branding shoot with Graham in Bexley which I am using for my website, social media accounts and business cards. This is the second time I have used Graham’s services and I won’t think of looking elsewhere. Graham is trustworthy , efficient and provides a high quality tailored service and I continue to recommend him to all my associates.”

Rob Evans

“Graham produced all of my Actors headshots and produced all of the posters for my current Film project. He did a fantastic job and look forward to using him again next time.”

Chris Bell

“Graham was amazing this was my first ever photo shoot for my online profile as i have just been signed with tma modeling agency . At first i was very nervous but he reassured me and went through step by step on what would be happening which put me at ease he spent alot of time making sure we had everything i needed for my profile such as different looks , lighting , clothing changes, head shots , 3/4 and full length he was so professional throughout and i honestly will be using and recommending for future thank you so much for such an amazing and fun day loved every minute of it”

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Montana Thompson

“It was hard finding reliablephotographers in the south east London area, but when I found StutdioGB I was relieved. When we collaborated, Graham made me feel extremely relaxed on the shoot with his calming aura which allowed me to be myself. You can tell he has a genuine passion for photography which allowed me to trust his direction and skill. I worked with Graham to update my modeling portfolio and he did a more than great job. Will be working with him surely again!”

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Genevieve Cole

“Recently I had a branding shoot with Graham. my brand identity is very important to me so I wanted professional photographs and after photographing my wedding I already built up a trusting and friendly relationship with him which is super important when being photographed. He listened to what I needed and he spent lots of time trying to find what worked for us both. I’m not at all used to being in front of camera, but as I have worked with him before I knew I could trust him and I knew after the first few photos I would be relaxed. He spent a lot of time on finding what I wanted and he spent more time with me than expected. His studio is great, the lighting, the white walls it’s just perfect for any shoot. I had a great day and I can’t wait to work with him again. I would 100% recommend Graham to anyone wanting some amazing photos.”

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Hannah Kehinde

“Over the years I have worked with many photographers, yet Graham is exceptional!! Truly professional with great results and effective editing. As a performer i know how stressful headshot sessions can be but with Graham it was a breeze, I was put at ease and I in fact learnt a lot during the session. He was patient with constructive advice. But every bit professional! I can see now why he’s always so busy!”

Claire Walmsley

Graham was an absolute pleasure to work with. I contracted his services for a headshot session for my online portfolio and social media platforms. He instantly put me at ease, talking me through the process and getting a thorough understanding of what exactly I wanted. The results were great and the service was seamless. Would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone looking for a relaxed and personable photographer.”

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Sean Delaney

“When I started setting up my own coaching business, I realised that I would need to have my photo on my website and social media. Only one problem: I HATE having my photo taken! But Graham instantly put me at ease, helped me to relax in front of the camera and made sure that I was happy with the pictures. He was professional and friendly throughout, and even made it an enjoyable experience. I am so pleased with the resulting photographs. I hope you like them too!”

Joanna Ward

Graham is an AMAZING photographer. By far the best in the business that I have ever had the pleasure to work with, he was really polite and considerate and made sure I was comfortable throughout the day. I was very pleased with the types of styles that were portrayed in Graham’s photographs plus positions instructed, 100% will be booking with him again.”

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Katie Thomas

“Absolutely fantastic results! Graham’s pictures were perfect and if I’m being honest, better than any results I’ve had before. They were so good that I’ve actually written a review about how good they were and I’ve never done that before! Use him now before he becomes a world famous photographer!”

Keith Malda

“I needed some photos for my website and having not done a photoshoot before I was somewhat excited but also nervous! Graham was great and put me at ease. He knew exactly what a I needed done and as a result I have some great looking professional photos that I can use on my website that will help build my brand for years to come 🙂 I thoroughly recommend Graham to anyone!”

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Samuel Breeze
Entrepreneur

“My experience with StudioGBP, for a personal branding session was an extremely positive one. 

Graham was very easy to work with and made me feel at ease throughout the process. He clearly understands the importance of the right image for a small business, and seemed happy to give me some much needed advice on how I could take my business forward,

Graham had a professional but relaxed attitude throughout the shoot, which helped to make the experience an enjoyable one for myself.
The photos I have received from the shoot are excellent and I am sure they will go a long way to promoting my business.

I look forward to working with Graham again on future projects.”

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Anthony Fanciulli

“I contacted Graham to do a photoshoot for a singing project and he discussed with me what i was looking for and gave me advice on what kind of shots would look good. We met up and he immediately put me at ease about what the day would consist of. I didn’t feel at all nervous and he made the whole thing go so smoothly and professionally. Graham has a very warm and witty personality and this makes for such an easy working relationship as he constantly puts you at ease and makes you laugh. He is a very talented photographer and i was very impressed with the photos he took of me and i will definitely use him again!”

Mark A.G

“Thank you Graham for an enjoyable day on Saturday! Graham is very approachable and makes you feel very comfortable in front the camera. He is very professional and is a great photographer! Looking forward to seeing the rest of the photos from Saturday! The couple I have seen are great and I am very pleased with them. Thanks again Graham your Fab! “

Lawsie

“Thank you very much for a most enjoyable and relaxed shoot. You made me feel very comfortable and interpreted my views and thoughts very well especially as you knew I was not comfortable in front of camera. I also learnt a lot too about how to get more out of shoot and better ways to stand pose etc. The two samples you sent me are fantastic really captured the feel of what I was looking for! wow!”

Tony Lorenzo

“Great service from Graham who helped me set up my business page on Facebook. I needed a quality headshot and branding photographer in Welling and chose Graham after seeing his work with other businesses. He gave me lots of advice around being a start up business. I wanted professional photos of my work to show the detail and Graham did an amazing job at achieving this. He gave me the confidence to start up my business and lots of support.”

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Sophie Bassett

Graham provided a truly professional experience, put me at ease and produced fantastic photographs that were better than I could imagine.”

Scott Walker

“I used Graham a few years ago for my jewellery portfolio and still to this day I get compliments / bookings and orders based on his photos. DIY mobile phone pics are OK but nothing like a professional photograph… a professional service with a smile and good banter. Would definitely use Graham again, worth every penny!”

“Grahams accuracy and attention to detail contributed to the brilliant photo’s I now have on my web page. Punctual, professional and perfect!”

 

Nadia

“We were looking for an up to date photo of our daughters for our home with a few headshot and portrait photos too. I found Graham by a general search on Google for photographers in our local area and although I have little experience of photo shoots knew that I wanted someone who my daughter’s would feel happy with. We read all about Graham on his website an instantly felt he could be the right fit for us. It did still take a leap of faith to contact someone we did not know but I felt reassured as soon as I spoke to Graham. He understood exactly what we wanted from the photo shoot. Our (teenage) girls had not had professional photos since infant school except school photos and the girls naturally felt nervous and uneasy before their photo session. Graham provided really helpful tips before our session but the emphasis was very much on them feeling comfortable. He patiently spent time building rapport with both girls whilst photographing them and gave them tips on taking photos/selfies. It was a relaxed, friendly environment and he had excellent intuition for their characters and certainly got the best from them. Both girls said how comfortable they felt in his company and I quote ‘he’s just like us’ telling us how much they enjoyed the whole experience. Praise indeed. The whole session felt professional yet informal and relaxed. He worked hard with our daughters and gently built their confidence. His patience and attention to detail are reflected in the end product and we have the most beautiful photos of our girls that has captured their characters and two daughters who are feeling very good about themselves. We cannot recommend Graham highly enough. Thank you for such a positive experience.”

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Zoe

“I recently booked Graham to do a shoot to capture some of my work applying makeup and to add to my portfolio of work as a Makeup Artist. The photo’s really are amazing, and I would highly recommend booking Graham for any shoot.”

Francesca

“I have worked alongside Graham a couple of times. Very professional and great to work with, also love his work. I use his photos to promote myself all the time.”

Clare Lakin
Hair & Makeup stylist

“I was looking for a London headshot photographer to do a professional portrait of myself for my online portfolio and social media and Graham Baker was recommended to me. I hadn’t had my photo taken by a professional since I was at school so I wasn’t sure what to expect or how to make sure I didn’t look awkward in the shot. Graham was very understanding and helpful when advising on the best way to sit, what colours to wear, how to smile and tailoring the shots to my needs. The entire session was relaxed, lighthearted and professional. I was very happy with the end result and pleased that I have a selection of great head shots for marketing my brand. Overall, would highly recommend if you are an entrepreneur looking for a professional portrait.”

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Isa Hemphrey

Interested in Headshots?

HEADSHOTS | PORTFOLIO | BRANDING

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