No matter how often I write about headshots, the same issue seems to come up again and again… glam shots. They’re no good, people! How many times do I have to tell you?
(It’s usually girls who are the culprits, but guys… you can learn something here too.)
Those fancy, professional-looking shoots, where you pretend you’re a model and you put on lots of makeup and pout at the camera… they suck. They’re no use to you.
Sure, they’re fun to do. They make you feel sexy and they get lots of likes on Facebook. Awesome. But as an actor, 99% of the time, they don’t represent YOU, the real you… so they’re pretty much worthless. Worse than worthless, they look pretty silly actually.
What are you saying? Are you saying I don’t look sexy? Are you telling me I’m not a model?
No, you’re not. Unless you are legitimately getting or actively seeking work as a model (or you are part of the .01% of the world that just naturally walk around looking like a model – and seriously, you need to be drop dead gorgeous or don’t bother)…
YOU SHOULD NOT TRY TO LOOK LIKE A MODEL IN ANY PHOTO SHOOT. Especially not in your headshots!
Think about it.
Who’s going to look at your headshots? People who are going to hire you.
Who are they specifically? Agents, casting agents and directors.
What types of roles do those people usually cast? NORMAL people. Not models. (Again, unless they also function as a modelling agency, which is obviously another story.)
For TVCs (television commercials), agents need normal people who can smile while eating a burger*, or admire a couch with their fake boyfriend, or look stressed while opening a bill.
For screen work or plays, they need normal people who can convincingly enact certain emotional situations.
Did you notice the similarities? They need NORMAL people. And by normal, I mean average-looking people in average situations. Looking presentable and attractive, in whatever way works for you, is wayyyy more useful than trying to look like a model.
And the truth is, you’re not fooling anyone. Real models know their craft, like you (hopefully) know yours. You know how to do a cold read, accents, and cry on cue – and they know how to make their faces and bodies look amazing on camera and in print. That is their job. Even if you look super pretty in those glam shots, you still won’t really look like a model. And apart from the ego boost, there’s not really any good reason why you need to look like a model! OK? So this is what you need to do instead:
- Do your job. Learn your lines and make yourself presentable. And when you get new headshots, make sure the shots show you as an average person looking your best. The sort of person that knows how to smile while eating a burger*. The sort of person that looks good on camera but also looks RELATABLE to a bunch of normal people watching them. Because that’s what sells. And what sells keeps you employed.
- If you’ve got a friend who likes to take glam shots, do them for fun. But keep them off your professional actor’s page/ website, or clearly label them ‘modelling shots’. Don’t expect them to attract the attention of an agent. Modelling shots are not part of the actor’s world. Keep it professional, and focus on what makes you employable – being a good-looking average person who also knows how to ACT.
- Stop trying to solve your self-esteem problems by having people take pouty pictures of you. I guarantee you, you look a thousand times more awesome with no make up on, smiling and laughing with your friends, and eating a burger*.
You’re great. You’re beautiful. Stop pouting. Go get a burger*.
*This post was not in any way sponsored by anyone who makes burgers.