Secrets for Actors to Ensure Great Headshots: Part 3

August 09, 2016 by Motive Retouching Image for Secrets for Actors to Ensure Great Headshots: Part 3

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 3 of 4.


** Control the background. While you are the focal point of your images, keep in mind that the "busier" the background is, the harder it is to retouch mistakes, especially on the "outline" or "edge" of your skin and body.

Things to keep in mind are that dark hair disappears on a dark background, light hair can disappear on similar-colored backgrounds, and your clothes can clash with a background. And try to avoid the "brick wall" or "steel garage door" backgrounds. Unless they look really good, they tend to be too busy and overdone.

** Rely on teamwork. Be flexible. We can't stress this enough. You're an artist. Remember that your photographer is, too. Even if you know all there is to know about photography and headshots, the fact remains that you're not taking photos of yourself.

We suggest that you work with your photographer, not against him or her. If the photog has an interesting idea (within reason), try it out, and do it with a smile (unless you're trying for a dour look). Remember that your pictures also affect the photographer's reputation, so he or she wants the best outcome, just like you.
That said, as we mentioned earlier, offer your suggestions and ideas as well. Ask to take a look at the first few images so you can get a sense of the photog's vision. Once you both feel you're on the same page and comfortable with each other, good work is sure to follow.

** Be your own assistant. Not all actors can hire a makeup artist or hair stylist, but many still get great headshots. Check yourself out in the mirror every so often and fix minor problems (stray hairs, for example).

And you can't go wrong if you follow these basics: you can touch up your makeup, but only slightly. More makeup is generally a bad thing. And unless it's genuinely part of your look (windswept, for example), keep hairs out of your face, away from your eyes, and off your neck. We know the whole "hair in my face" thing sounds cool and feels cool, but trust us: in headshots, it doesn't look cool. Instead, it looks like you have something to hide. And it leads to regrets and loads of retouching.

** Ask yourself if you're showing off or off but showing? Make sure the things that are showing are what you want showing, and change the things that you don't want seen. Frequent mistakes we see (and fix) are women having bra straps showing by accident (try strapless bras if need be), outfits that are so tight they pinch up the skin near the armpits (making you look heavy, even though you're not), jewelry or accessories that clients later want removed, clothes needing their colors changed, etc.

** Get personal. If you want to bring a more personal touch to your headshots, know your qualities. Who are you? How do you interact with the world? How do you get what you want? Do you flirt? Threaten? Disarm people with humor?

Multiple characteristics make up every actor, but in each person, some qualities dominate. Allowing these dominant qualities to show adds a life to the pictures that many headshots lack. Don't be afraid to bring yourself to the images. And usually, you'll find these qualities align with the "types" you choose.

** Minimize distractions. This usually means turning cell phones and laptops off. It also could mean not bringing distractions with you (pet, significant other, parent, etc.). The more into your shoot you are, the more confident you'll come across. And the fewer distractions you have, the happier your photographer will be – don’t be that actor who’s just staring at his phone between every shot.

Check back soon for Part 4 of our series!


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