How to Prepare for a Headshot Photo Shoot

What to Do Before Your Photo Shoot

Young woman at the hairdresser's
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Headshots are very important for an acting career. In order to stay current and in order to have the most opportunities to be called in for auditions, actors need to keep their headshots up-to-date. Before you have your next round of headshots taken, there are a few important things to do in order to capture a great photo to use as a new headshot.

How Often Should Actors Have New Headshots Taken?

How often you shoot new headshots is ultimately up to you. Many people in the entertainment industry have varying opinions on the answer to how often new photos should be taken, but they should be kept "up to date," whatever that means for you. Your agent should be submitting your photos to casting directors daily, so casting will be seeing your photos regularly. You want to be sure that you have a variety of photos that you and your agent are submitting, and you want casting to know that you’re proactive in your career. 

Once you (and possibly your talent representative) have determined a great headshot photographer for your next headshot session, you can plan for your shoot. 

Wardrobe: Know Your Type 

The absolute most important thing to do to prepare for your headshot photo shoot is to know your "type" and know what roles you can believably portray as an actor. When you understand your "type" you can plan on what you will wear to your photo shoot. You want to show who you truly are through your photos, and wearing clothing that is appropriate and in line with your "type" is important. Speak with your headshot photographer and your agent before the shoot so that you can plan what you want to capture during your shoot. Sending photos of your wardrobe to your photographer is a great idea, so that he or she can also see what you’re going to wear. 

Some photographers may want to capture numerous looks with many wardrobe changes in order to obtain photos of characters that you may be able to portray. This can be helpful, but remember, your primary goal should be to capture a photo that best represents who you are. It is not necessary to obtain photos portraying you as being every single character that you theoretically could play. You'll also want to be sure to choose clothing and colors that will help to make certain features “pop,” such as your eyes and your smile. 


Hair style obviously plays an important role in the way that we look. It's important that the way your hair looks in your headshot looks the same way that it does in real life. Remember: your headshot should always look like you! This does not mean that actors shouldn't change their hairstyles, but it does mean that when you do decide to change your hair significantly, you should update your photos, too.

Makeup and Skin

It’s not necessary to go overboard with makeup - for men or women. Too much make-up will be distracting, and it will not look natural if you wear a lot of it. Headshots are not supposed to be “glamorous” shots. They are supposed to be natural and look like you. It should also be noted that if you are currently having some skin problems, don’t stress about it for your headshots! You can always have your photos (lightly) re-touched if you see any unwanted blemishes. Also, be sure to adequately moisturize your skin and drink plenty of water in the days leading up to your shoot. Water will help keep your skin hydrated and looking great! 


Be sure that you have a great night of sleep before your photo shoot. The camera picks up everything, and should you be tempted to “party-it-up” at the incredible clubs in Hollywood the night before a photo shoot, the results will show the next day! Plan for a restful evening the night before your shoot.

Show Your Beautiful and Unique Self

At your next photo shoot, simply be you. Bring your personality to the shoot, and enjoy it! The best photos are captured when we see the essence of who you are as an individual. 

Note: These tips can also be applied when preparing for to film your acting "reel."