If you’re new to getting actor headshots, you might be wondering what’s best to wear for your session. Headshots for actors typically frame you from the chest or shoulders up, but despite the fact that only a small portion of your clothing will be visible, it’s still important to give thought to what you should wear for your headshot session. Use these five tips to nail your headshot session.
TIP #1: Be Yourself
Casting directors want to see the real you. Not only will the right clothing help accentuate your best features, it’ll also help you feel comfortable in your own skin on the day of your shoot. And that, my friends, is key to getting confident, striking shots.
If you walk through the audition door looking nothing like your headshot, you could jeopardize your chances of getting a callback or landing a role. A crucial part of looking like yourself in your shots is not only finding a great photographer, it’s also about feeling good and wearing something that fits your natural look. Wear your favorite tops that make you feel comfortable and confident to let your personality do the talking.
TIP #2: Going "Neutral" vs Dressing for Your “Type”
This is a commonly-debated topic among actors and casting directors alike. Should your headshots present you in a neutral way so that casting directors can visualize you in any role? Or should you dress to fit your “type” to up your chances of landing roles casting directors want to see you in? All actors work towards versatility, but if you tend to be type-cast and want to expand your range, it’s important to recognize how you’ll initially be perceived.
My advice? Find a balance between the two methods by shooting a variety of outfits and stylizing your wardrobe towards new “types,” but within your natural range. For example, if you’re typically cast as a love interest or “girl/boy next door,” but would like to go for more edgy roles, try wearing darker colors or throwing on a leather jacket, but keep your hair and makeup styles simple. A subtle hint of “rebel” can be enough to imply an edgy look without pushing too far into “character” or “costume” territory. Of course, your expression also plays a huge role, so be sure to practice in a mirror before your shoot.
TIP #3: Simplicity
The focus of your headshot should be your face and eyes -- not your outfit. Don’t wear clothing that features logos, distracting patterns or neon colors. Do wear clothing that matches your skin tone -- typically earth tones and jewel tones are best -- and try to go for colors that emphasize your eye color. An easy way to do this is to simply wear the color of your eyes, but there are also colors that compliment your eyes for a similar effect. Solid colors are usually best, but sometimes subtle textures can add a nice touch -- lace and denim are good examples of this. You can also layer your clothing for a more dynamic look that doesn’t distract the eye from your face.
TIP #4: Comfort is Key
For your headshot session, you want to be natural and you want to be you. That means being as comfortable as possible. New shoes that rub or pinch, pants that are too tight, a sweater that’s too itchy - leave them at home. My shoots last at least one hour, so you'll want to spend that time being able to relax and show the real you at your best.
TIP #5: Variety, Variety, Variety.
To get the most bang for your buck, bring several wardrobe options with a variety of colors, textures and tops that offer an opportunity to layer. Not only can this help you present a range of looks that target multiple “types” if needed, it also gives you the best chance of getting great shots. Bring two or three tops and maybe a couple of jackets. This allows you to work with your photographer to choose a range of versatile looks.