Good Headshots For Acting Kids

in Photo

There is no getting around the very real adage "a picture paints a thousand words." Your eyes are the window to your soul, and your headshot is the doorway to acting jobs in the entertainment industry. You have a split second to catch the casting director's eye. If your photos don't tell the story of you in a glance, you won't get into castings.

A headshot is an industry standard. It is exactly what the name says - a photo of your head (face) and maybe shoulders. It is sort of like school photos only a hundred times more attractive. A winning headshot can easily get you in the door to major castings.

Professional headshots are crisp, clean with no visible make-up for kids and minimal styling. In a winning headshot, there is nothing to distract the viewer from your eyes and face.

If you are serious about getting professional acting jobs, then you will want to get professional photos, preferably from someone with experience in headshot photography. I'm amazed when I see home photos on self-submit websites that are grainy, out of focus, too dark, too washed out, too sexy for a child actor, too much make-up or just plain bad.

It is expected that the photo you submit is the best version of you. In all honesty, there is some expectation that your child may not look as perfect in person as in the photo, but it is expected that they will closely resemble the person in the photo. I had a good-looking, talented girl on my books who kept taking photos that didn't flatter her. I was raving about her new photos to a Casting Director who stopped me in mid-sentence. "If she doesn't look like her photo when she arrives, we'll never cast her and likely not call her again." This wasn't said to be cruel, just honest.

If your child's look has changed, they've grown, changed from blonde to brunette, gone from long to short hair, get a new head-shot. For kids, you'll likely be getting headshots every six months or so.

Generally, your agent will want a whole bunch of printed 8 x 10's and you'll want a handful yourself to bring to auditions, though with on-line casting, you may not need to print so many shots. Check with your child's agent before you pay for hundreds of prints.

Just as important, have your child's agent, acting teacher or a trusted friend (preferably someone in the industry) help you choose the best photos. Sadly, as parents, we are rarely the best judges of the best headshots.

That very serious photo you think looks sophisticated, may make your child look like a serious artist or to someone else, it could actually make him look like a serial killer in training. That laughing photo you love, may be perfect or it could actually make your child look frivolous, unfocused, or just plain goofy to others. This business is all about impressions. Know what impression your photos are making.

Take a variety of photos. You may hate that crooked smile, but an advertiser may want that. So have one with a Mona Lisa smile too. You may prefer a profile, but better headshots show both eyes. Have your child laugh out loud. Flirt with the camera. Look surprised. Scowl like the evil villain. Look sad, like they're about to cry. Change clothes. Change hairstyles. Make sure your child has fun during the shoot and it will show, but then choose headshots based on what's best for the industry and save the rest for your photo album.

Don't get artsy. Don't have busy backgrounds or clothing. And make sure your CHILD is the focus of the photo. That cute photo with a puppy may be great for your photo album, but will not likely help you get an acting job (unless it is for puppy chow.)

Often, more serious photos are used for theatrical headshots and lighter, smiling photos for commercials. Children are generally expected to have smiling headshots, but a few theatrical shots are a good idea to have.

Photos no longer have to be in black and white. It is easy enough to transform a good color photo into a black and white version. So now, it makes sense to shoot digital color photos and create black and white version if that's your preferred style.

After choosing theatrical and commercial photos, choose a few additional character looks to hold in reserve or add to your internet listings to submit for different character types. The scowling photo could work for that vampire audition, the silly one for the soft drink ad, the love-lorn look for the soap opera. You get the picture.

Author Box
Jessica Pollack has 1 articles online

Jessica Pollack is a talent agent with Oz Talent and mom of two child actors. She writes about topics to help parents of aspiring child actors to help them navigate the treacherous waters of the Entertainment Industry in her blog

Add New Comment

Good Headshots For Acting Kids

Log in or Create Account to post a comment.
Security Code: Captcha Image Change Image
This article was published on 2010/04/02