The Reel Scene Guide to Great Acting Headshots

Acting headshots are one of the most important marketing tools you will invest in as an actor. An actor headshot is your business card and a vital part of the audition and casting process. In order to be taken seriously as a professional actor a headshot is vital and it must be high-quality. The Reel Scene work with professional acting headshot photographers in London and we’ve put together this simple guide to headshots that will give your photos a professional edge.

It is important to spend your money on a professional headshot photographer

This means the photographer should be someone who actually takes headshots for a living, not just your friend who happens to own a digital camera.

Furthermore, a headshot photographer should professionally process your photos after the shoot. They will use their expertise to fine-tune the colour, contrast, and skin tone, bringing the focus where it belongs while adding more vibrancy and depth. Professionally taken headshots will stand out more amongst the hundreds of thumbnails that land on a casting director’s desk.

Actor Headshot
Example headshot courtesy of Pure Headshots

Keep it simple.

The composition of your headshot should be basic: framed from the chest up, with gentle, non-dramatic lighting on your face, and with the background remaining out-of-focus.

More importantly, your headshot must look like you! Hold off on the heavy makeup, intense lighting, and overdone retouching. You want to show casting directors who you are, not who you want to be. Don’t turn your audition into an awkward blind date by looking nothing like your photos; instead, be honest and present the best version of yourself in your headshot.

Acting Headshot London
Example headshot courtesy of Pure Headshots

Your photographer will ask you for a range of facial expressions, and it’s important to keep the expressions natural. It’s better to have the photographer take some photos while you are joking around for a natural smile, for example, than to try and force a fake smile. In general, most headshots involve the subject looking directly at the camera, with the beginnings of a smile.

Your headshot should highlight your personality at a glance.

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Studio setup for headshots

Casting directors have tons of photos to go through, and you only have a few seconds to catch their attention. Before scheduling your photo shoot, you should know who you are as a person and where you want to specialise as an actor.

What types of projects would you like to be involved in? What are some adjectives that you want your headshot to convey?

A professional headshot photographer should understand this and work with you to bring out your personality in the end product.

As an actor, it is your job to be aware of how others perceive you, and headshots are a crucial part of this process. Your headshots are the hard-copy impressions you leave behind, so it’s essential that they are leaving the right message.

Headshot Photography with Pure Headshots and The Reel Scene

The Reel Scene can provide headshots in association with Pure Headshots and help you shoot and prepare professional showreels.

Headshots Actor
Students bond and become a family after intensive acting training

Alex Fidelski and the team at London-based The Reel Scene offer a variety of classes and workshops – from casual afternoon drop-in sessions to intensive, year-long professional acting courses. They bring on working industry professionals to teach you acting – for example Shobu Kapoor (Bend it Like Beckham, Citizen Khan), Manpreet Bachu (Doctor Who, Humans), Manpreet Bambra (Tezz, Wizards vs. Aliens) and David Schaal (The Inbetweeners).

You can take your training even further with masterclasses from industry heavyweights like actor Asa Butterfield (Hugo, Ender’s Game, Journey’s End).

The Reel Scene don’t just teach acting – they teach you about every aspect of the industry. How to make self-tapes, how to audition, how to perform in front of a camera vs on stage.  And they have structured payments plans to make paying for your courses painless.

The Reel Scene are proud of their reputation – check out The Reel Scene Facebook page, read our Google Reviews, and feel free to ask previous students about their experiences!