Is A Headshot?
(by AM Staff)
A headshot is an 8 X 10
(usually black and white, but sometimes color) close-up
photograph of a model or actor. The photograph usually
covers the actor from his or her head to their shoulders.
On the back of the headshot, actors attach their acting
resume (similar to a traditional business resume) that
contains details about the actors training and experience.
Actors use the headshots and resume to obtain acting jobs
by submitting it to casting directors and talent agencies.
A good headshot should:
- Closely resemble what the actor looks like in real
life. The headshot should accurately depict the actors
current weight and hairstyle, for example. That way,
there are no surprises. When a casting director sees the
actor's headshot, they know that that is what the actor
will look like if called upon.
- Depict the actor as warm, friendly and interesting.
- Fit the actor's type. For example, if an actor is
the stereotypical, All-American woman, the actor's
headshot should accentuate that look. This is important
for casting purposes, because an actor can get more
roles and auditions fit they "type" or category they
- Depict the actor in a basic appearance. The actor
should not wear excessive makeup or jewelry, or dress in
a costume of any sort.
What Are the Different Options For Headshots?
After an actor has completed a photo session,
they can complete the important task of reproducing the
headshots. These headshots can be produced with
different finishes: glossy, semi-gloss or matte. They
also come with various styles and looks, such as color,
black-and-white, with borders and without borders.
Glossy Finish Headshot
A glossy finish headshot is one where the front
surface of the photograph is shiny. The headshot appears
polished and clean and has a modest glow to it.
Matte Finish Headshot
A matte finish is a type of finish on a headshot
photograph that is not sharp and shiny like that of a
glossy finish. Whereas a glossy finish may stand out
more, a matte finish is more subdued and flatter. A
matte finish may also cost less than a glossy finish.
While a glossy finish is shiny and stands out and
a matte finish is flat, a semi-gloss finish is one that
is moderately flat and glossy. A semi-gloss finish is a
cross between a glossy finish and a matte finish
Actors may want to have their headshots reprinted
with white borders on them. That is, their headshots
will be in the center of an 8x10 photograph, surrounded
by white borders. This style of headshot is usually the
more popular version.
Often times, actors may want to have no borders
around the photograph, allowing the actorís face to
cover the entire 8x10 space. When the image covers the
entire space, it is said to "bleed" across the page.
Most actors choose to have their headshots done in
black-and-white. This is the standard way headshots are
done. It is also economical, saving the actor more money
than color prints. However, many actors choose to have
their headshots done in color, believing that color may
help the actor stand out from the crowd and give a more
accurate representation of the actorís appearance.
Because headshots are essential to an actorís
success, actors should make every effort to have their
headshots done well. Thatís why, itís always best to
seek advice from a talent agent before investing any
money into a headshot.