Professional Headshot by Shawn Brooks
Professional Headshot by Shawn Brooks

The basics

The industry standard for photos is an 8 x 10 professional headshot taken by a professional photographer. The photo should look like you. in a natural pose straight to camera, clearly displaying your entire face. The headshot will usually take in the top of your shoulders but shouldn’t include the rest of your body.

A professional photographer may well cost in excess of $300 for a session, so this is not something to take lightly. It may sounds expensive but it really does need to be done properly – many photographers offer discounts.

What is included in the fee

When negotiating a fee remember to factor in the number of shots the photographer will take, the number of prints included and the cost of getting copies made. Make sure to have this clearly laid out so that you’re not disappointed.

During the session

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before the session and arrive wearing clothes that make you feel comfortable, confident and relaxed. Ensure the clothes don’t distract from your face. You may consider taking a collection of tops to ensure you capture the right you. Don’t wear too much makeup and don’t get your hair cut the day before – give a new cut time to settle in. Also avoid props, backgrounds and accessories or anything that distracts from your face. Most good photographers will be able to advise you on such things, so do consider their advice, as the good ones will have been doing this for many years.

Choosing a shot

When choosing a shot select one which looks most like you and which you think best reflects your look and talents. Ask the opinion of people you trust – and while family and friends can be helpful and supportive, they may not be the best judges, better to ask fellow actors, your agent or the photographer.

Legal rights

The photographer will own the rights to any of the photos they take of you, even though you pay for the initial session. If you want to reproduce the picture in any form (online, spotlight, publicity for a show) you will need to get permission from your photographer.   The photographer should also be credited whenever you display or print the picture.

View my professional headshot portfolio for ideas on your shoot.

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