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How to Get a Great Headshot



Are you wondering how to book acting roles more consistently or getting more auditions?


Last week, one of our talented actors at Kimball Studio consulted his agent about increasing his audition opportunities. The advice was straightforward but powerful: "Get a new headshot." The actor followed the suggestion, and almost immediately, the auditions started rolling in.


Your headshot is the primary tool that agents, managers, casting associates, and producers use to determine if you're right for a role. In the fast-paced world of casting, a strong headshot can communicate your suitability far quicker than a resume or demo reel. This makes it crucial to have a headshot that captures and conveys your essence effectively.


At Kimball Studio, we specialize in NY acting classes and headshots, and we've seen firsthand how a standout headshot can open doors to numerous TV and film roles. We recommend updating your headshot once every two years to reflect your current look and energy. Here are four key steps on how to get a great headshot that captures your charisma on-camera and helps you stand out:


  1. Choose the Right Photographer for On-Camera Actors: When searching for a photographer, focus on those whose work highlights the eyes of the subject. In headshots for on-camera actors, the eyes must convey your range of emotions and character depth. This is crucial in film and television where expressing charisma on camera can set you apart.

  2. Select New, Solid Shirts: Your attire should complement the backdrop and not distract from your facial expressions. Opt for new, wrinkle-free shirts or tops that enhance your eye color and skin tone. This attention to detail can significantly impact how you are perceived and help in booking on-camera roles. Remember also to maintain the focus on your expressions by limiting any distracting accessories like large earrings or flashy jewelry. This allows casting directors and agents to see you as a blank canvas, ready to take on various roles across TV and film.

  3. Identify Your Type: Knowing your niche can greatly enhance how you market yourself in acting intensives in New York City and beyond. Whether you're aiming for roles that require a sense of danger, power, or heart, understanding your "type" can guide the mood and style of your headshot. Aim to get headshot that show off your main superpower / look (do not try to get several headshots that show a wide range of types)

  4. Engage Emotionally: Come up with a few lines that resonate with your chosen type and say them silently in your head during your shoot. Say these lines ‘from the eyes’ as your headshots are taken. Before your shoot write down 5 lines for you to repeat in your head to make your shots more dynamic. For example, if your type is "charm," you might think of a line like, "Can I whisk you away to an adventure?" These ‘silent speak’ lines help evoke the emotions and expressions that bring your headshot to life. This technique will ignite genuine expressions and charisma, which will give your still headshots life.


For actors looking to dive deeper into this and so much more, consider joining one of our summer acting intensives (great for new or experienced actors). These programs are designed to refine your acting skills and include a professional headshot session, making them a great investment for anyone serious about how to book TV and film roles.


Our goal is to equip you with both the skills and the professional materials you need, including impactful headshots that make a lasting impression in the competitive industry.


Remember, your headshot is your first introduction to casting directors.

Make it powerful, make it speak, and make it count towards booking your next role.

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