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Dance-tress Acting Up: Head Shots


Head shots, it’s that time again to update all of my pictures. Seem’s like I just got new pictures last month, but hey, time flies when you’re having fun. I need a new commercial shot, theatrical, and another “look” for my type. In my last professional head shot session, my hair was reddish and half way down my back. It’s now shoulder length and brunette, so it’s definitely time. 

Actors need updated head shot’s every 6 months to 2 years. More often if you feel they are just not working or need to add some additional looks. By “looks”, I mean what kind of roles would you go out for? Girl next door, vixen, tough girl, country girl, etc. Make sure that you like how you look before your session or you will be spending another couple hundred dollars every time you cut or color your hair. This can be very annoying at times, especially if you’re like me and like to play with your hair color.


Head shots are your business card and your way of getting in or not getting into a casting office. That’s why it is so important that you are prepared and pick the right photographer for your needs and budget. Plan ahead and pick out your wardrobe options days before. You may also want to play around with your hairstyle so you know what looks good for each look. The image needs to be sharp and the focus should be all about the expression in your eyes. The background needs to be non existent. Nobody cares or wants to see where you are taking the picture, it’s your head shot, so it needs to be of you. Only you, either from waist up or chest up. 


Unfortunately for me, getting new head shots cause an unnecessary amount of anxiety and stress. You can't just take a “selfie” or use that cute picture your mom took from the family picnic last week. It’s important to remember to have fun during your session. Try not to put so much pressure on yourself to get the perfect picture or the right angle that YOU THINK flatters your face. That’s the photographers job. Your job is to be relaxed and smize (smile with your eye- tip courtesy of Tyra Banks). Try not to sabotage your session with fear and paranoia.

Personally, I have a really difficult time with head shots.The camera doesn’t lie. I find it incredibly uncomfortable to stare into a camera for a long period of time and make faces. It’s just weird. I don’t know how models do it. As an actor, the very last thing you want to do is get caught looking directly into the camera. That’s an easy way to show everybody your inexperience acting on set. 

So, change your brain and have a conversation directly into the camera. Pretend it is your best friend and you have some amazing, exciting news to tell them. Put on some of your favorite tunes and let go. Dance in between shots if helps to keep your energy up. That worked for me this past weekend. I brought my friend along, who was also my make up artist, and jammed out during a really great session. It also really helped to hear that the photographer was excited about what he was seeing through his lens. Note, be professional and don’t waste your time or the photographers. Don’t bring any additional people that do not need to be around. Too many opinions and too many distractions won't accomplish anything. Smile on my friend.