5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Headshot Photo Shoot

5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Headshot Photo Shoot

By Antonio Carrasco

I am a working headshots photographer in Los Angeles (http://www.SmartHeadshots.com). After doing photo shoots with hundreds of actors, I have noticed that the actors who walk away with the best headshots do the following things.

1. Ask for clothing advice and prepare accordingly.

A good photographer should offer tips on what clothing to avoid and what clothing looks good. I have a detailed guide, that I email before the shoot, on what colors look good on camera and what to avoid. Try to ask the photographer well in advance, so you have time to go shopping if needed. If you go out and buy clothing for your headshots shoot, you can leave the tags attached and return the clothing after the shoot, if your funds are tight.

Bring more than enough outfits. If you are shooting three looks, try to bring five outfits. Better to have too many outfits than not enough.
Make sure your clothes are ironed and hung on hangers. This is super important! I can’t tell you how many actors have shown up for the shoot with a bag of wrinkled up shirts. Sloppy clothing ruins great headshots.

2. COLLABORATE with the photographer to get the best images

Through my experience in shooting actors, fashion models and bodybuilders, I can honestly say that the photos always turn out the best when both the photographer and the subject come to the shoot with ideas. I LOVE it when I am shooting and an actor wants to try something I hadn’t thought of. If the actor emails me photos he/she likes, even if its another photographer’s work, it really helps me understand what the client wants.

Also, if a photographer is shooting photos that you won’t be able to use, speak up. As a photographer, I want to get you the photos YOU need. I really don’t want to waste time shooting photos that will never be used.

3. Show up on time, well rested and energetic.

If you know that you’re not a morning person, it’s probably not a good idea to schedule a 9am headshots session. Schedule the shoot at whatever time you know that you are usually on point and sharp. Make sure to get a good night’s rest the evening before. Stay sober or at least don’t go on a bender. Showing up to the headshots shoot hungover or drunk is a great way to waste money and time.

4. Don’t worry about looking like a fool

Remember, the photographer wants you to look as good and marketable as possible. So don’t worry about looking like a fool. When an actor is relaxed and having fun is when the best photos get made. If the actor is really nervous about looking their best, it almost always makes for very uncomfortable and awkward looking headshots. Remember, the photographer can easily delete the photos you don’t like, so you might as well let it all out.

5. Give the photographer honest constructive feedback

During the shoot and after the shoot you should always feel free to tell the photographer what you like or don’t like about the way he/she conducts a shoot and the photos that are being produced. Don’t worry about hurting the photographer’s feelings, as they are hired to do a job and usually want as much feedback as possible. Try to be as constructive as possible with the feedback, by noting what you liked and what could have been done better. An experienced photographer is always looking for ways to better meet the client’s needs and loves feedback that will help him do his job better and more efficiently.

When I am shooting headshots, I want to take photos that make you look great and get you acting work. Anything that helps you as an actor, helps me as a working photographer.

Smart Headshots is the creation of Antonio Carrasco. My photography has been published in Billboard Magazine, Anchorage Daily News and other publications. With over 10 years of portrait and fashion photography experience, I decided to enter the headshots market with the goal of making quality headshots available to actors at an affordable price.

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