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  • Val Tannuzzi

Your First Acting Headshots: nail these two looks

Updated: Aug 3

How exciting! You’re ready for the next step in your career, you might have made your appointment already or you are thinking about it...

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One of the questions I get asked often by clients taking their first acting headshots is: How many looks do you recommend? The simple answer is TWO. Why two? The reason is so you can have the two core looks you will need to get cast (ehemm to make money): theatrical and commercial. But, what’s the difference between those two? Traditionally, a smiley headshot means commercial, and no smile means theatrical; however, I believe that the difference goes beyond a smile.

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Theatrical headshots are geared toward being cast in plays, TV shows, and films. In theatrical headshots, you would want to see the layers of an actor’s personality. Theatrical headshots show emotional depth or are simply more “dramatic” than commercial headshots, but that doesn’t mean that all theatrical shots need to be stoic and serious. As for wardrobe, it’s best to wear darker jewel tones for this headshot.


Commercial headshots are designed to appeal to the advertising industry. The purpose of a commercial headshot is to promote a product or service, so it is important to show trustworthiness. This headshot is usually brighter and more “cheerful” than the theatrical one. Your commercial headshot should have energy, be relatable and engaging (you’ve probably heard those adjectives or their synonyms in commercial casting calls). It’s best to wear a color that pops but doesn’t distract -remember, your face must get all the attention!


So why not recommend a full photoshoot for new actors? Because I want you to save your money for later… As you start auditioning and booking roles, you will realize that there are roles that you love to play, others not so much. There are roles that you will be regularly auditioning for, and other roles that you would love to target. Remember the money I wanted you to save? Aha, use it for a headshot revamp once you find the type of characters you want to go for -once you discover your brand (Here goes Val again with her Branding pitch!). When you’re ready to make this jump, read my other blog: Connecting the Dots: The headshot session & your brand











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