Secrets for Actors to Ensure Great Headshots: Part 2

April 27, 2016 by Motive Retouching Image for Secrets for Actors to Ensure Great Headshots: Part 2

Here at Motive Retouching, we know it’s our job to touch up your headshots, correcting the little mistakes and inconsistencies while maintaining your natural look, bringing out the best YOU.

But remember, retouching means we make the most of the source material. Whether aspiring talent or working professionals, actors who love their headshots know that everything leading up to the retouching must be done with care in order to ensure the best pictures possible. The better the original, the better the retouched version.

We want you to have the best headshots you can, so we've compiled a list of secrets, tricks, and tips to make sure you love your pictures (from the perspective of actors, clients, industry workers, and our retouchers). 

This is Part 2 of 4.


** Get a head start. Wake up a few hours before your shoot and get in some light physical activity. A jog, some yoga, anything to clear the cobwebs, get the blood flowing, bring some color to your complexion, and shake off the bags under your eyes that are most apparent right when you wake up.

** Decide on glasses or contacts. If you wear glasses, you know that they leave indents on the sides of your nose. These will show up in your headshots. If you are doing images with and without glasses, try not wearing them until it's time for your "glasses looks," and save those looks for last. If you can't see without glasses, try to have someone give you a ride, use contacts, or wear them sparingly. Some people prefer frames without lenses, which might be a solution for some of you.

Note that contacts do show up in some headshots. While it's better to use them than it is to squint, if you know you don't need them, leave them out.

** Clear the red eyes. If you have red eyes, or if your eyes are dry, consider using some eye drops meant to remove redness. While it's an easy fix for us, you always want to look your best.

** Moisturize. Keep your face, lips, and hands moisturized. This makes you look younger and healthier on camera. If you're afraid of shine, you can blot your skin prior to shooting (and we can retouch shine in an instant). If you have chronic dryness, make sure you've been drinking enough water for a few hours, if not a few days.

** Easy on the makeup. It's worth repeating: it is by far better to go with minimal makeup (or none at all) rather than having too much or having a non-professional handle it. As retouchers, we can tell you it's way easier to retouch blemishes than it is to retouch bad makeup.

** Keep it neat. Iron or steam your clothes (unless they're supposed to look wrinkled) and make sure they are presentable and in good condition. No matter how pretty or handsome you are, a stained shirt looks unprofessional in any picture. And even though we'll retouch it out for you, the photographer may treat you as though you're less than professional.

** Keep it clean. Go in showered and clean, teeth brushed and flossed, but without excessive perfume or cologne. You and your photographer will be working together for a few hours, and strong smells can become offensive. And on that note, be sure to wear deodorant (but not if your underarms will show in an image and need to look clean).

** Pretend you're taking a long trip Part 1. Be smart about helping yourself out. Bring your own makeup, blotting paper, tissues, lip balm, shaving cream, razor, brush, comb, mirror (very important), water, etc. As mentioned, if you can, bring your own makeup artist and hair stylist.

Sure, most photographers will have some of the basic amenities, but you'd feel smarter bringing your own stuff and being in control of your situation than being the actor who complains about his headshots, the photographer, and everything else because he didn't handle his business.

** Pretend you're taking a long trip Part 2. Bring some alternate outfits, accessories, etc. You only can plan so much beforehand, and you never know when a location, background, or mood will strike you and change the game plan.  Pack a suitcase or garment bag, being sure that your clothes don’t get wrinkled while sitting there for a few hours.

** Review your outfits. One more look in the morning will give you perspective and confidence in your choices. Also be sure to look at your accessories. Do you really want that earring / charm / bracelet / necklace to show? Remember, it's a lot easier to take it off before the shoot than it is to have it retouched out (but we can do it fast).

** Show up early. Nothing says "unprofessional" like a late and hurried actor on one of the most important days of his career, the photo shoot. Show up early. As you're more than likely located in Los Angeles, leave extra early in case there's traffic. If you have to wait, you'll be far less anxious than if you show up late. And the longer you’re in the studio where you’ll shoot, the more comfortable you’ll be. Photographers don't have to give you extra time, so showing up late just costs YOU.

Check back soon for Part 3 of our series!


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