Naomie Christensen: DIY Headshots

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

DIY Headshots

Headshots are required in acting. People have to know what a person looks like before booking them. All entertainers: actors, actresses, comedians, extras and models must have a headshot. Models are also required to have a three-fourths or full body shot. Many people pay for photographs. It is possible to get a decent photograph in the comfort of your own home.

If you don't already own a digital camera or camcorder, borrow one. There are many key issues in getting a good head shot: lighting, set and you. Lighting is best when it comes from at least two angles: over-head and in front. In my home shoot, I am utilizing three light sources: over-head, in front and right side. By opening a couple windows and placing a couple light bulbs in the ceiling light fixture, there is plenty of light for a great picture.

In my sample pictures I am closer to the window on the right side to add contrast and depth. Moving away from the window adds a softer depth. Light is important, because people want to see who they are hiring. Dimly lit rooms and backlights hide important details. The picture might look good; however, misleading photos work against people when auditioning in person.

Taking pictures outside is optional. Lighting is best in the morning or late afternoon. Use the sun the same way: in front and over the subject. People often think, "...finding your light," means staring at the light source. However, while light should be on the face, different shadows are complimentary to a person's angles.

A basic set includes a white background. White backgrounds are preferred in headshots and portfolios because they showcase actors and actresses. If white walls don't exist in your home, fold a white sheet in half and hang it on the wall. White doors work well.

The most important part of having headshots is to showcase an attractive, healthy and confident person. This means maintaining an appearance. Character actors are in demand. Unless you are a model no specific height or weight requirements exist. Tans make people more photogenic. Colorful clothing enhances a person's look. It is problematic picking the right color. Personal color palettes are represented by four season's. Refer to "Pick a Season" to find out what colors look best on you.

NOTE: There is an array of filming equipment on the market. These usually come in bundles. It is best to get the video camera first and then order compatible accessories.

These tips and tricks should help increase the quality of DIY headshots. Though I have several demo pictures on this thread, this is the picture I would send to casting agents:

This is a professional photograph:

Professionals are adequate, especially if they offer discounts on full sized glossy matte prints in bulk. The world is going digital. It is better to have photos available for e-mail. Owning your own digital camera is great. It eliminates steps between photo shoot and e-mail. Many grocery stores offer prints for a dollar if a physical photo is required.

Related Article
Acting Resume
Background Learning Curve
Limiting Rejection
Pick a Season

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