What to wear in your headshots is one of the most important things to think about before your session. Clothes should enhance and not distract; say something about the characters your are right for, but not look like a costume; show you off at your best, stand out in a pile of head shots; and finally show your personality. Look at my portfolio and other resources and see what you like about the clothes in headshots that jump out to you. Think about what outfits you have that make you feel hot, get you lots of compliments, or that you wear for auditions.
1. SIMPLE: The simpler the better, we don’t want the clothes to distract from you and your personality in the shots.
2. FITTED: This is most important! Tailored, fitted clothes photograph best!
3. CRISP: In a perfect world we would prefer clothes to be brand new- but washed once. So that it isn’t straight out of the package, but also isn’t faded or distressed. I recommend having everything you bring professionally cleaned and very well pressed/ironed. Bring your clothes on hangers if possible. Wrinkled clothes are distracting. *Dress/button up shirts MUST be ironed as crisply as possible (pressed professionally is ideal) or they may not be usable.
4. COLORS/PATTERNS: Vibrant colors (Blue, Burgandy, and green) all look great in headshots. Solid colors are best. Bring at least one color that matches or brings out your eyes. Patterns that are bold and busy can be distracting. Avoid this. And if any other photographer tell you otherwise, avoid them!
5. LAYERS LAYERS LAYERS: Layers look GREAT in shots- especially for men. Bring a variety of shirt styles and layers that can go on top. Blazers, jackets, hoodies, sweaters are all good choices.
6. JEANS: Bring a pair of nice-fitting jeans. They look great, plus, having pockets gives you something to do with your hands in the shots. So make sure that your jeans actually have pockets- jeggings I am talkin’ to you! This is especially important for women.
7. T-SHIRTS AND TANK TOP: Ladies- please bring at least 1 tank top (if it’s spaghetti strapped make sure you have a bra that works well with it- like a perfectly fitting strapless that doesn’t show through at all), even if you don’t like your arms or shoulders. You might be surprised at how flattering they are in headshots! Men- Bring a couple t-shirts, v necks or crew necks.
8. BELTS: Bring some belts- ladies especially. For the ladies they can look really nice over a dress or cardigan to make it look a little more on trend- and cinch the waist in a little bit.
9. AVOID: Busy patterns, baggy clothes, and jewelry/accessories. Pastels don’t usually work- richer colors photograph better. Cardigans don’t usually work for women unless you are trying to look more matronly, conservative, or a bit older. Cardigans VERY rarely work for men. Although they are very trendy right now, they do not always translate well in headshots.
As most of you know, I’m sure, good skin is essential for careers on stage or in front of the camera in New York City or Los Angeles. Makeup can do a lot to cover all kinds of blemishes and imperfections, but if you have ever seen a television show in HD you can spot troubled skin a mile away. It is extremely important to have a solid skin care regimen in order to keep your skin looking great through long days of shooting and layers upon layers of makeup. The same rules apply to getting headshots. Makeup and airbrushing can cover most skin issues, but the better your skin looks naturally, the better your headshots will look overall. If you are not taking good care of your skin, now is a great time to start!
Here are a few tips:
● If you are currently washing your face with Ivory soap–or anything resembling ivory soap or hand soap–STOP right there!! That abrasive soap will dry up your skin causing more dull, dead skin and breakouts. Instead try using a gentle moisturizing cleanser like Cetaphil. I am also a fan of products by the brands Oil of Olay and Neutrogena. Ladies, don’t go to bed with make-up on! That is skin care sin #1. Gentlemen, if you can wash your face once a day in the shower that is a great start. In New York City, is it especially important to wash your face everyday due to the air/street/subway pollutants.
● Exfoliate: Exfoliation is crucial to having a fabulous, glowing complexion. By sloughing away the dead skin, the makeup will go on smoother and your skin will have a natural glow. Gentle is a key word here. The simplest way to achieve this is to use a washcloth to gently scrub your skin as you are washing with a moisturizing cleanser. There are also many products on the market that you can get at the drugstore: St. Ives Apricot Scrub is a good and inexpensive option. I am a fan of Bliss Pore-Perfecting Facial Polish that you can get at Sephora. Origins and the Body Shop also have great facial scrubs that work well. Taylor and I also recommend Loreal Advanced Revitalift Micro-Dermabrasion Kit as a more comprehensive option. Try to exfoliate your skin at least one a week or the day before your come in for your shoot. DO NOT, however, use a product you are NOT familiar with for the first time the day before your shoot. You want to test products like this (and read the labels and warning fully) especially if you have sensitive skin.
● Moisturize: Keep your skin moisturized by using a good facial lotion that suits your skin needs. Again, I really like the Olay products. Especially the Complete Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15. If you have oily or acne prone skin, get an oil-free moisturizer. As an actor, model, or performer of any kind it is very important to wear SPF every day. It is the only true, proven, non-surgical way to prevent wrinkles! (in addition to not smoking)!
● Drink water: Guzzle the water. If you are drinking tons of water–you WILL be able to see a difference in your skin.
● Sleep: Try to get lots of sleep the whole week prior to your headshot shoot. If you tend to have dark circles under your eyes, sleep is especially important.
● Acne: For acne spot treatment, Proactive Solutions is a great over the counter product for more serious acne issues. If you have really serious acne, we recommend seeing a dermatologist.
In your headshots your hair should look like it does when you walk into the audition room, it’s as simple as that. So I always recommend that clients come to their headshot session with their hair done as they would wear it to an audition, or a nice occasion. This is easier said than done. In person, fly always aren’t as noticeable. The way you tuck your hair behind your ears, the way it moves and adjusts when you move doesn’t make much difference in the over all impression of the hair style. But a headshot is one moment in time and suddenly the way you tuck your hair behind your ear makes the viewer’s eye go to your ear. Or your long hair falling behind your shoulders looks like you have a shorter hair cut. Or if you are used to wearing your hair pin straight everyday, suddenly you’ll feel like it looks to flatter your headshot. First of all it’s important to have a hairstyle that you love, and that you feel good about. If you have no idea where to begin, look at magazines, TV, movies, people on the streets of New York. As an actor in New York’s competitive market it’s important to have a look, and a style that says something about you, and the types of roles that you can play. Look at working actors that are your general type, and while you shouldn’t copy their look, you could take ideas, and adjust them to what might work for you. Play around with different styles and see what works best with your overall look.
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