Hack your Headshots

After your photo shoot, selecting a few perfect headshots from the sea of 400 options can be overwhelming. At least, we always hope it will be a difficult task. Eliminating the obvious duds should get you down to about 40 potential gems. Then what?

Here is a quick hack to drop that 40 down to 10 or 20 to show your reps and colleagues. It is a system I learned back in my modeling days and it helps to remove the ‘looking at self’ element that can distort your evaluation.

Before your shoot, you nailed down your goals. (If not, then let this be a reminder for next time.) Look at your potentials and see if they are telling the story of these target characters.

Now cover the lower half of your face and just look at the eyes. What is the story? The emotional state? What is this person thinking?

JL eyes

Now cover the top half and look at your mouth. What is this story? What is this person’s state of mind?

JL mouth

And here is the biggie… do their stories match? If they are not telling the same story, then it is not going to be a successful headshot. Because even if someone can’t tell you specifically what is off, the observer will feel the inconsistency.

Jennifer Lawrence

In modeling, the next step would be to split the face on the vertical axis and look independently at the left and right sides. But that is less important for actors.

If acting is your career, then you have to set your standard higher than just a good picture. First, it must look like you (so limit the photoshop). Second, it should tell a unified story – especially if it is your commercial shot.

Thanks for reading. And please let me know if this hack was helpful!