January 3, 2014

Headshot Mistakes: Teens Looking Too Old

Emily DFW Actor Too Old TeenThis is the first in what will be an ongoing series of blog posts. I will be showing examples I’m seeing every day of common mistakes actors make in their headshots.

This first one is teens looking too old. It seems especially common with teenage girls who want to look older, but honestly, its very rare for you to be cast in any role where you are older than you actually are. They are going to hire a 16 year old to play 13 long before they hire a 13 year old to play 16. Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy) was 21 years old when she played a 16 year old on Roswell and Cory Monteith (Glee) was 29 years old when he died – still playing 19 on Glee.

Here we have the lovely young Emily. You’d hardly guess from her first image here that she’s actually 14 years old. And if she submits for a young role, most casting directors will look right past her. Emily DFW ActorInstead, the second image here is much more suited for her age – in fact, she could probably play anywhere from 10 up to 14 with this headshot. By reducing the makeup to a minimum (or even none at all) and choosing a top that de-emphasizes cleavage, you take years off a teen… and on camera, they will do the same tricks to make her appear younger on screen – but its a chance she’s not likely to get if she looks too old in her headshot.

A special thank you goes out to Emily and all the actors who helped with this blog project. They were great sports in letting me purposely photograph them badly.