What to Wear for Actor Headshots

A good rule of thumb in order to make sure your actor headshots look professional and that your clothes aren’t distracting the casting director from you. Simplicity is the key.

1. Colours

Colours to wear:

  • Black is strong, unfussy, professional and great for fair / medium toned skin.
  • White - gives a softer, cleaner cut feel and works well with medium / darker skin tones.
  • Grey - a good alternative for cleaner cut images for fair skinned individuals, without washing them out
  • Jewel tones (green, blue, purple & yellow) are awesome as they are universally flattering. You can also choose a shade that makes your eyes really stand out.

Avoid:

  • Tones that match your skin – these are not flattering and will make your face blend into your clothes
  • Tops with multiple colours
  • Logos
  • Patterns

If you have to bring only 2 colours to the session, bring black and one that complements your eye colour.

2. Necklines

Pick simple, unfussy necklines such as:

  • A modest v-neck is universally flattering because it lengthens the neck plus it gives a stronger, edgier look than a round neck.
  • Crew neck - simple. Perhaps choose a slightly textured material to add a touch of interest to the shot or a plain jacket (without a collar).
  • Boat neck, scoop neck or off-shoulder can look elegant and show off an attractive décolleté (women), especially with hair up. Be careful they are not too revealing and make sure undergarments sit well and straps are not showing.

Necklines to avoid:

  • Turtle neck - it can make you look like you have a floating head
  • Fussy necklines and straps that distract from your face
  • Tops with collars

Please feel free to bring a variety of necklines to a session to try.

3. Choose Clothes that Fit you Well

Try on your clothes and check them in front of a mirror beforehand. Do they fit well? Are there any pulled areas e.g. around buttons? Does anything gape? Clothes that are either too tight or too baggy can have the effect of making you look larger than you actually are and will draw attention away from your face.

5. Jewellery

Keep jewellery (necklaces / earrings) very small and discreet. Stick to small, classic items and make sure necklaces sit well and not interfere with the necklines of your garments.

10. Skin & Make-up

Do:

  • Moisturise your face and neck and any flesh that’s likely to be on show
  • Aim to keep make-up natural or what your usually wear
  • Apply matte foundation to even out skin but don’t layer it on thickly - you want it to look like your skin
  • Apply mascara evenly and carefully - not too thick and with good lash separation
  • Use a natural colour on lips and cheeks if you need to
  • Use matte eye shadows
  • Even if you don't normally wear it, you might want to bring powder to fix make-up and mattify it

Don't

  • Wear shimmery, glitter make-up. It doesn't photograph well
  • Worry about blemishes - they are super-easy to fix in post. Large patches of concealer are much harder to fix.

11. Hair

If you're having your hair cut / coloured then aim to book an appointment 2 weeks before your session so it has a chance to settle into your hair. Bring hairspray for fly-away hairs, clips and hair accessories to the session if you want photos with your hair both down and up.

12. Before the Shoot

Before the shoot, try to get an early night or two, make sure everything is clean, pressed and ready to go and pop them in a garment bag to bring along to your session.

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Paula Deegan Photography

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