Preparing for Your Actor Headshot Session

- Please read all details.

What to Expect

Our goal is to create images that will stand out to casting directors and generate more auditions.   We will work on everything you need for your "brand."  Barb will work on as many looks as the time allows.  Talent agents will want to see at least two looks very basically grouped as:  a smiling commercial shot and a non-smiling theatrical shot.  Throughout your session, Barb will help select wardrobe for each look, create the lighting, background and composition/posing as well as direct you to deliver the emotion for each shot supporting your brand/style. Your photo session will be a lot of fun, so be ready to relax and have a great time!  Barb has a playlist, but feel free to bring your own!  The photography session lasts approximately 2 hours after makeup/hair is ready. Scroll down for wardrobe and face/hair prep details.




What Clothing to Bring*

* Please bring everything on hangers.

(See also Wardrobe Styling Ideas Page.)


For the basics, please bring a white shirt, a grey/green and a black and also any colors that look good on you plus one to match your eye color if possible!  Look through the portfolios for ideas.  Bring lots of options and if we only use 25%, that is fine!  Please bring everything on hangers.


We will work on both commercial and theatrical headshots.  Brighter colors are best for commercial such as yellow, kelly green, fuchsia, soft blue.  Grey/green, grey, black, are good for theatrical.  (I love white for a feminine romantic, primary shot.)  In general, what you see people wearing in commercials and what you see as wardrobe for the characters that you would likely portray in a TV series is what you should gather to bring.   


Please bring mostly solids, however, small patterns are a trend for actor headshots especially if we can layer over it.  Avoid lace or "cut out" blouses; these do not photograph well.    Actors bring clothing specific to your brand or character types.  Avoid low-cut necklines that won't work with the headshot frame crop.  Bring a business style jacket (men can bring a tie) and bring a leather jacket if needed for character type.  Young actors:  hoodies are in!


Glasses:  If you normally wear glasses, we will get shots with them.  Also, you can bring glasses for a character shot, but this is not required.  NOTE:  Make sure your glasses are non-glare to avoid reflections in the lenses.  An option is for you to remove your lenses for those shots.


Hair and Makeup


We do not have a makeup artist on site, so please arrive with hair and "headshot" makeup ready.  If you are using one of Barb's makeup artists, the MUA will touch up your hair, but it should mostly be ready.


Should you book a makeup artist?  For women and girls over 15, it can make all the difference in the world.  Barb can book one of her MUA's, and you pay the fee directly to the MUA at the session.  See the RATES page for a chart of makeup/hair packages.  Barb's roster of MUA's know how to do the very natural style for actor headshots.  For men, Barb does not recommend makeup.   She can take care of any issues later in Photoshop so that it looks very natural and not retouched.  It’s easier to correct specific areas than try to make overall makeup disappear on men.  Casting does not want to be distracted with any unnatural appearance.  



Makeup guidance:  If arriving makeup-ready, make sure makeup is natural (no shimmer products) and be prepared to freshen makeup and re-apply lipstick during the session.  The camera will capture the smallest details, so check your eye makeup closely to make sure it is natural.  The camera will show each eyelash, so inspect to see that the lashes are separate and not sticking together.  Eyelash extensions and false eyelashes tend to swoop down over the top of the eye creating shadow and a "curtain" over the eye.  If your upper lashes come straight down, it helps greatly to curl them up.  Do not use liquid eyeliner because the HD camera will emphasize the harsh line; pencil is softer and blends better.  Please have a comb or brush available as well as powder to soften any shine.


Men and Boys:  Bring or wear ChapStick or a lip moisturizer so the lips are not dry or cracked.  Arrive with face freshly washed and shaved.  Actors, if you wear facial growth/stubble or beard, email Barb to discuss shaving mid-shoot for two looks.  Also, please have a comb available.  


For young girls:  Please just bring some blush and mascara or petroleum jelly and eyelash brush.  

If you tend to have red/allergy eyes, think about using eyedrops an hour in advance to remove any redness in the whites of your eyes.  Remember to get lots of rest and drink plenty of water prior to your session. 


Young actors, if you wear braces, please have only clear bands put on the braces.  Colored bands are distracting and casting directors will want only clear bands.


Hair: Try to time your haircut to give the best look for your photos.  It is best to be able to see the eyebrows (avoid long bangs).  Avoid coloring hair the day of the shoot and do not use the photo session to "try a new look." Please come with hair as you normally wear it.  Make sure color is even without dark roots unless that is the look you want; the camera adds even more contrast.  Arrive with hair ready and bring anything you need to maintain it or change it.  Girls can be prepared with bands or clips to change hairstyles.