“Should I get headshots done? Is it worth it?” Professional head shots can add up to hundreds of dollars.
Technology has simplified many things, including the film business. Twenty years ago, agents had one head shot per member on their roster and agencies mailed out hundreds of photographs to casting directors — one photo had to really sell you. Now, agents and casting directors connect using websites like agencyclick. Agents have profiles for each member of their roster and use these to submit talent to work requests made by casting directors. Online profiles can contain up to a dozen photos and information such as measurements and skills, for example. This gives casting directors the ability to see many looks, skills, and even clothing options that the talent might have to offer. This is the most relevant to background performers because you’re often your own hair, makeup and wardrobe person. The ability to have many looks and the ability to share and update them easily online has eliminated the need for that one perfect head shot.
So why do photographers still offer head shots?
In primary work as an actor or actress, head shots are still useful. A professional head shot can show you in an eye-catching way and draw in a casting director to take a closer look at your resume or film reel. A good headshot portfolio shows your versatility and how comfortable you are in front of the camera, which can factor in to catching a director’s attention. If you are looking to expand beyond background work, head shots are one small part of the bigger picture; ask your agent for advice.
Because of the ability to have many photos that they are easily updated, you’ll be expected to always have recent photos of yourself online. When you change your look, remember to update your photos for the best results. Commonly, your agent may ask for a current “selfie”.