Wondering what to wear for a headshot photo session? What colours, styles of tops, patterns, jackets, should you bring? Here is our ultimate guide to what to bring and wear for your actor headshots.
We photograph hundreds if not thousands of actors headshots every year and there are some key things to bring with you (and some to avoid) to ensure you get the best range of headshots that showcase your playing range.
Apart from bringing a variety of tops to your headshot shoot, do try and get as much sleep and drink lots of water leading up to the session
Below is our guide to what to bring to your headshot session. If you have any questions, you can always use our live chat or call us on 07810 004451.
How much to bring
If it looks like you are moving in, you have probably brought enough (just!).
Just how many tops, jackets, hoodies, etc. should you bring to an actor headshot session. The simple answer is as many as you can! You can never bring too many tops or have too many ideas. We may not use all the clothes but certainly bring lots with you. Its not just t-shirts either, bring layers such as jackets, zip up hoodies, coats, shirts and event different trousers if you are looking to get some 3/4 or full length shots.
On the headshot shoot, we can talk about what colours and styles will work well with our lighting as well as your colouring and work through as many tops and looks as we can. Even in an hour-long shoot, we typically shoot around 6 completely different looks. We have a large range of backgrounds and looks that we can use as well to compliment the clothes that you have brought.
Bring a wide range of colours with you. Black and white tops are fine but the more colour you can bring, the better. Mid-tones such as red’s, oranges, browns and green’s work so well in giving a warm tone to your headshot. Cooler tones such as blues, yellows, etc can also work well.
The colour you choose can help to convey your character range with warm tones being more friendly and cooler tones potentially having the opposite feel.
Cooler tones include greys, blues and whites. We can convey a lot about your personality and potential playing type by the colours that you wear. Warm tones will typically portray an approachable personality while cold tones subconsciously convey the opposite.
Notice how the cooler tones of blues, whites and greys convey a very different feeling than the warm tones.
It’s best that the tops fit you well. Not too tight and certainly not too loose. We want to show your physical shape to some degree to highlight why you are perfect for the brief the casting has sent out!
Wearing warm tones for your headshots is a great choice for conveying an approachable character.
For examples of styles of tops that work well, have a look at the images on this page or HERE below to either the men’s or women’s portfolios.
Layering PLEASE BRING SOME LAYERS!!!
Adding a jacket, zip up hoodie, shirt, etc. over a top really adds something to an actor headshot.
Layering is one of the great secrets to amazing headshots. While single layers can work well, layering creates depth. Adding a shirt and / or jacket to a t-shirt or top can create a whole different look and character to your headshot. Leather jackets work very well under the studio lights as well. Bring a variety of jackets with you even if its summer and hot outside. Many of our clients borrow jackets from friends to give them a wider variety.
By all means bring a black t-shirt, just make sure its not the only item you bring!
Black T-Shirts can look great in your headshot. Just remember that everyone will bring one. Try and stand out when you can.
The most common item that any actor brings is a classic black t-shirt. In fact, there have been occasions when that’s all the actor brought! If you have been to drama school, you have probably lived in a black t-shirt for 3 years or more and have a great collection.
However, something to bear in mind is that everyone brings one to the shoot. The ideal aim of your actor headshot is to stand out from all the other actors vying for a role. Being another performer in another black t-shirt may not help you to stand out. By all means bring one but maybe as part of a layered look with a jacket, etc.
Previously, we have suggested that patterns can be distracting for your headshot shoot. However, they can work really well when coupled with a more plain background like a solid colour. If patterns are a big part of your personality then of course bring them with you. Just be aware that the focus of your headshots should be what you convey with your eyes, facial expression, etc and the patterns should distract from that.
Jess wouldn’t be her without some patterns and colour.
Off the shoulder tops
Off the shoulder tops are great to show off your bone structure, muscle tone and is a great item to bring for your headshot session. We have lighting and poses that can really help your Décolletage to really pop!
There are different schools of thought with regards to jewellery and how much to wear in a headshot shoot. Our thoughts are that as long as its subtle and not distracting then its fine. We often have clients with subtle earrings and necklaces.
Nose rings: If you can remove your nose ring for the shoot then we would recommend it. Some can be really fiddly or hard to remove in which case, leave it in and we can remove it later. For your professional headshots, I wouldn’t have it in there. Just in case it goes against you when they are casting for a period piece.
If you always wear glasses then by all means let’s shoot a few headshots with them on. However, casting directors want to see your face and if you are suitable for the role they have in mind. Typically we would shoot without glasses, they can always be added for a specific role.
Hair / Beard
If you would like to remove stubble or your beard during the shoot, that’s absolutely fine. It may be worth considering one of our longer sessions so you are not shaving in a panic. Again this will give you a great range and show different character possibilities. Any redness or razor rash can be addressed in Photoshop later although it’s a good idea to bring whatever products suit your skin best to reduce that naturally.
By all means shave during your session to give a different look. If you have sensitive skin, it may be worth booking a longer session.
Its amazing the difference putting your hair up can make for your actor headshots.
If you have long hair, we will shoot most of your headshot session with your hair down. However, it’s also a good idea to have a few images with your hair up. It can dramatically change your persona and the character that casting directors believe you may be suitable for. We have a mirror, hairdryer and hair product to help if need be.
In summary, bring lots and lots and lots of tops of varying colours, avoid too many patterns and keep jewellery simple. Apart from that, look forward to your actor headshot session and we look forward to seeing you soon!
If you have any questions, call Helen on 07810004451 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org