Actor headshots are like a product photo you see in a magazine, only your face is the product. They are made better by simplifying, by removing the jewelry, by avoiding the heavy makeup, and by choosing clothing that draws attention to the face, not the clothes. Unless the clothes are part of the statement – of the person you are trying to portray, it is best when they fade back from the center of attention.
When choosing the correct wardrobe for a headshot session, bring a variety of solid colors and combinations that can be layered, such as a white crew neck t-shirt with a denim or leather jacket or a tank top with a light sweater. Stay away from things like logos, spaghetti straps, and busy patterns. These clothes may look good on you in person and may describe your personality, but they do not make for a good headshot. Wardrobe needs to be well thought out, but still simple so it does not draw attention away from you.
For men, a jacket with bulky arms can add to the masculine feel of an image. Leather jackets and suit coats with padded shoulders are excellent for this. Don’t go too overboard, though. Make sure it fits your body type so that it doesn’t look like you are trying to hard or in clothing that is too big for you.
For women, a thin sweater or light jacket is great to layer over the solid colors. Be very careful of shoulder pads in jackets and blouses as they can add the appearance of extra weight in a head and shoulders image. A tank top or sleeveless blouse can have the same effect for different reasons – the upper arms stand out in the image and tend to make you look very wide. Its best to steer clear of both. Also, keep jewelry and makeup to a minimum. Makeup should be only to soften fine lines and lightly enhance eyes and lips, not look like you are ready for a night on the town. If you have pierced ears, small studded earrings are fine and you can also get away with a thin chain with a small pendant.
For kids under 16, be sure to keep the clothing light and comfortable but make absolute sure it fits. Clothing they can “grow into” is great for every day wear, but for a headshot, you want them to look their best. Snappy, new clothes are best. For girls, jewelry should be kept to the same rules as the women above, however, makeup should be used extremely sparingly. Any girl under 18 is not going to be cast to play an older woman – they will always be cast to be younger than they are. Makeup only makes them look older. So keep it fresh and clean – bring lip gloss and eyeliner just in case we need to add just a little shape, but 99% of the time, girls should not have any makeup at all.
Above all, bring your wardrobe in on hangers. There are places to hang things up in the studio. Your clothing needs to look fresh, not recently folded or stuffed in a bag.
Working together, we can create a killer headshot that will get you noticed.