The Importance of the Actor Headshot

The Importance of the Actor Headshot

Your headshot is an essential device in your marketing toolkit. A good headshot will jump out from the sea of thumbnails and give Casting Directors an accurate sense of who you are. A bad headshot, well…

Your headshot is your utmost important marketing tool. This cannot be stressed enough. It is the first thing that casters will see when searching through the CastandHire listings, and if you’re applying for theatrical representation it’s the first thing that agents will look at when they open your email. It is a prime opportunity to sell yourself!

So… Here are the essential building blocks for your killer headshots!

  • Your shots should be professionally taken. You want to be seen as a pro, and a good, high-quality headshot shows that you are serious about your career. If you’re strapped for cash and need to take something at home (as a temporary fix), just make sure that the camera quality is high, there is plenty of natural light on your face, and for the love of goodness don't use a selfie 🙄🤳🏼
  • The casting director, agent or production company want to see a photo of the 'real' you, so keep your appearance as natural as possible so the caster can imagine you in many different roles. If you are wearing heavy makeup you risk being typecast and only brought in for the ‘glam’ roles. Keep those shots for your Instagram profile ;-). 
  • The eyes are the window of the soul. They are your most important feature, so make sure they are visible; face the camera straight on and make sure they are clearly seen.
  • Wear something simple and avoid jewellery, hats, scarves, glasses or props, since these will all add character, and distract the eye.
  • Don't wear clothes that will distract from your face such as polo necks, big collars, busy patterns or logos.
  • Keep your hands and arms out of shot. All that should be seen is your face, shoulders, and some of your chest.
  • Headshot photographers will usually touch up 2-3 images for you as part of the basic photo package (with an option to add more as requested). Two shots would usually be enough. This gives you the opportunity to present yourself with a commercial look, and a more neutral look. If you’re able to add a third shot, it would be your ‘Scifi’ look.

The commercial look will be happy, smiley, and should work for TV ads, or maybe the young mum/dad, or girl next door.


The sci-fi look would be a little more serious and slightly ‘badass’. This shot would work for any number of roles that require a tough businessperson, villain, guard, and basically, anything casting for the Scifi channel…


The neutral look is probably what you’ll be using most often. This would be used for anything that doesn’t fall under the roles mentioned above. It is what it is – neutral, and will allow the casting director to envision you in any other role.



Getting an amazing headshot is an investment in your business. It’s one of the essential devices in your marketing toolkit as an actor and could be the only thing standing in front of you and your next audition!  

Thinking of getting new pictures taken? We’ve put together a full list of photographers in Ireland. Check out their portfolios to see who might be right for you - Photographer List >>

Send us a link to your CastandHire profile after you’ve added your new pics, we’d love to see them!

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Posted 4 years ago


Paul Byrne 2 years ago

I'm in the process of getting my headshot perfect and the rest of my profile will send o when ready for your approval and let me know if there is any problems

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