Whenever you have an appointment booked for a new headshot, research, research, research! Just as you should painstakingly research headshot photographers, you also need to research actresses and actors that you admire and who are cast in roles that are similar to your type. I recommend online resources such as IMDB, Google search, and Casting Call Pro to study the trend in headshots. Search for flattering poses and looks that really stand out in photographs. You might also want to look through ads and magazines especially if you plan to audition for commercials. Take time to think about your type. How do other people perceive you? What roles do you normally play?
You want to represent yourself truthfully so that your essence and personality shines through. You want the casting director to see your headshot and immediately know how to cast you. (I recommend that you hire a photogrpaher that works with natural light which is the best light to highlight your features. Make sure your photographer specializes in headshots for actors.) As for hair and make up, you want to look like you on your best day. If possible, style your hair and make up yourself so that you can repeat the look for auditions. You don’t want to walk into the audition room and be unrecognisable compared to your photograph. If you decide to hire a professional hair and make up artist, make it very clear the look you are going for in the shoot. Pay attention to the artist and ask questions. Ask for tips on repeating the look he or she creates for you. As for your headshot wardrobe, bring a variety of choices such as t- shirts, collared shirts, ties, blazers. For the ladies, bring a variety of blouses, button up tops, dresses, jackets, and vests. If you haven’t brought the outfit with you, the photographer cannot shoot you in it. Bring a variety of colours and choose shades that will compliment your eyes and skin tone. Steer clear of wild patterns, logos, or written words on your clothing. Turtle necks are a no, no! (You will look like a floating head.)
On the day of the headshot shoot, give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Be professional. Be on time. You want to be relaxed and stress free. During the photo shoot, breathe. Be present and in the moment. It might help you to focus on the right mood if you have a monologue in mind or character you have played. You want to give the photographer a variety of looks, expressions, and sides to yourself. Listen to your photographer and trust in the expertise of the person you have hired.
The most important thing is to have fun. That is how you will get a great headshot!