Connecting the Dots: Know your brand before your headshot session
It’s important for an actor to have diverse headshots. Your “standard” headshot should undoubtedly show who you are on your everyday look, and your branding headshots should channel your brand through different characters.
I have seen actors posting their headshots on social media and asking their friends to tell them what they think they should be cast as. That is ok if you are a new actor with no good idea of what your brand should be. Once you start gaining experience and you know the type characters you can, and are willing to play, it’s time for you to bring your brand to the headshot game. If you know your brand before arriving to the photography session, you will already have an idea what wardrobe to bring and what character you’re going to embody during the session.
I have spent a lot of money swapping my Actors Access’ photos. At the beginning, they were all different pictures of me, but essentially the same character. Once I started auditioning and booking small roles (student films helped!) and saw what I was mostly being called in for, I began to understand how brand works and that not everyone fits “all looks.” I will never be able to portray the “all-American next-door girl,” just like not everyone can play the “Latina badass.” It’s imperative for you to understand and embrace who you are, with all your flaws. Those same characteristics that you see as flaws (too tall, too short, too fat, nose too big, teeth crooked, scars) might be just what the casting director is looking for. Make your uniqueness and imperfections work on your favor! Create your character around that individuality; make sure you love it and you stay consistent.
Your branding headshots do not have to look unprofessional. You don’t have to go all flamboyant to convey a comical character, nor must make angry faces at the camera to embody a tough individual. Just a hint of temperament goes a long way. Moreover, a change of wardrobe is not the only answer to create a branding look. Brand goes beyond what you wear, something as small as a subtle face expression can make a big difference!
There are great classes and workshops to help you determine, adjust, and market your personal brand. If you’re in or near the Savannah area, you are in luck! Working actor William Mark McCullough offers an outstanding Branding and Marketing class for actors. In his workshop, you will learn how to fine tune your professional image and he will teach you strategies to market your image to industry professionals. Actors that have taken his class and have come to me for headshots know exactly what to do and what to bring to their headshot sessions. If you would like more about Mark and his classes, click here: https://www.savannahactorsstudio.com/classes
Just as I believe that a photographer should know how to light any subject in any lighting condition, I believe that a headshot photographer should help the actor feel comfortable in their own skin, represent them well in a picture, and help them get more auditions!