Q: I have yet to take a headshot that I’m happy with. What strikes you most when you look at a picture? —@Aphrodite, Backstage Community Forum
Your headshot should say two things about you: who you are and where you fit in.
By who you are, I mean that it needs to reveal an essence or quality that you possess. It could be anything, from warm to playful to sarcastic to dangerous, so long as it reveals that essence clearly.
Where you fit in is more about social, economic, family background, and other traits. Think of the “types” your look can easily fit into. For example, do you read more as the CEO of a large, profitable company? A small business owner? A mechanic? Are you a suburban soccer mom or an international femme fatale?
Both categories rely on nonverbal signs like clothing, body language, and facial expressions, which means that getting a shot that accurately communicates who you are and where you fit in takes a lot of thought.
To get you going, start by defining how you want people to see you. Then start combining who you are with how you fit in. For example, you might be an authoritative professional like a lawyer, doctor, or businessperson. Or you might be a sarcastic midlevel manager.
Most people have a problem with taking headshots because they’re not clear on the image they want to capture or they don’t know how to control their facial expressions. Defining the endgame and learning about emotional facial communication will most certainly help.
Does the whole process of taking a headshot leave you confused or Frustrated? Let me know thoughts. Put your comments in the comment section below.
*This question was originally asked and answered on the Backstage Community Forum.
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John is known to actors around the world as the Go-To Emotion Specialist.
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