The other day, I was talking to my Assistant (who is also an actress and recent BFA graduate), and she suggested that I write a blog post on “Tips for an Amazing Headshot” in honor of National Camera Day, which is today. (Say Cheese 📸)
My immediate thought was, “Who needs another blog post about how to get amazing headshots?” I mean… anyone can just go on Backstage, there’s a crap ton of articles. And besides, I’m a mindset & business coach here to show artists how to take their careers and life offstage to the NEXT LEVEL and do it with purpose, abundance and on their terms.
Anywho… she agreed that there’s a ton of articles that tell you “How to get the best headshots,” but thought it would be helpful to write something about the emotional toll that a headshot session can take on an actor. She mentioned that a bunch of her friends get anxious before getting new headshots.
Since I’m such a total mindset geek that got me super intrigued and inquisitive.
She said, “Most people are going for the product, rather than process. Focusing on the outcome rather than being present in the session.” 🤔
So I asked….”What does that mean to you?“ She said, "As you know, headshots are an actor’s calling card. And they are quite expensive, too. What if the pictures are not good enough?”
I intuitively knew there was so much more to that answer so I probed her for more information. I wanted to know what’s really going on? What is the root of her fear? At this point, I’m pretty sure she was annoyed with all of my questions. And thinking “Ummm can we get off the topic of me and get back to the blog post topic?” but HEY, she’s my assistant. I wanted to help and I want the absolute best for her!
She said, “Apparently when CD’s look at submissions on Actors Access, the thumbnails are small. Unless you are being pitched by a major agent, your shot is what gets you in the door most of the time. It has to be captivating enough for the CD to click on your image, which leads to your resume and reel.” My Assistant said that they drilled this in her business class at drama school. She told me, “You have to be CAPTIVATING enough to even get your resume and reel seen!”
Eureka!!! …THERE WAS THE PROBLEM!!! It’s not about capturing the “certain” headshot. It’s not about the angle of her chin needing to be 2 centimeters more to the right or that she wore the wrong shade of red or blue. In fact, It’s not about the dang thumbnail at all. My Assistant and her friends were focusing on external conditions and ignoring the ROOT of the problem - lack of confidence in themselves.
I immediately said, “Hmmmmm, well…..I’m married to a casting director, and I can guarantee he’s not overthinking headshots like you guys are.” So I asked him. I asked him AND his colleague (another CD) about it and they both said, “Your headshot should be an authentic representation of yourself. It should look like what you would look like when you walk in the room with a smile on your face.” PERIOD! That’s it.
It’s all about believing that these young actors are good enough RIGHT NOW! It’s all about having the unwavering faith that they have what it takes to succeed RIGHT NOW! They don’t need to be a different (more perfect) version of themselves to feel worthy and ready. They are special RIGHT NOW! They have talent and training RIGHT NOW!
As actors, we often like to blame our problems on external things, and by doing that we totally give away our personal power. Which results in feeling helpless and totally at the mercy of someone else to decide if you’re worthy or not. It’s very easy to fixate on external factors to determine our fate but that’s a slippery slope. But the truth is, SUCCESS IS ALL INTERNAL!!!
So much of my work as a coach focuses on helping my clients DISCOVER who they really are at their core, owning the truth, honoring that truth, and then building a plan of action based on said truth. This is the only way to create a career rooted in trust, faith, and authenticity. That, my friend, is the real sense of the word "CAPTIVATING!"
My mission is to share this mindset with as many performing artists and to help them THRIVE!
So if I were going to write a blog post about headshots I would say what my husband said. “Your headshot should be an authentic representation of yourself. It should look like what you would look like when you walk in the room with a smile on your face.”
I would also add the following:
1. Wear something that makes you look and feel like a million bucks
2. Wear a color that makes your skin and eyes pop
3. Drink a lot of water so you’re hydrated
4. Bring some music that you love to move to
5. Hire the hair and makeup artist (this is a worthy investment)
6. Do the inner soul work so that you walk into the session knowing with 100% certainty that you’re gonna nail it.
7. And…..If you don’t nail it then you have the personal power and confidence to ask for a reshoot. Knowing that it’s not personal and that you don’t suck and you ARE photogenic and you deserve great shots.
So there you have it. My two cents on headshots. I’d love to hear from you and for you to continue the convo that my lovely assistant and I have started. Hit reply! I read every single comment. Xo
Much Love & Abundance,
PS. Oh, and by the way, my assistant has a GREAT headshot! 😍❤️