The most detailed list of questions answered so that every actor can feel fully prepared for their headshot photoshoot session!
What do you mean by looks?
Looks are considered a wardrobe or outfit change. Adding things like a jacket/cardigan on top is not considered a new look. I love the layered look so be sure to bring some options! I personally like to focus all of my headshot session ‘looks’ on the different networks that are specifically filming in Vancouver and of course Toronto & LA. So I tailor each ‘look’ with that in mind in terms of overall feel of shot.
What should I wear for my headshots?
This is the question I get the most. First things first, clothes that fit you and are clean. Okay, now that that’s out of the way! Clothes are something that can really add or distract from a headshot. Remember at the end of the day it’s about your eyes and the story you’re telling to the camera. I suggest that you focus your clothing choices based on your brand as an actor and the roles you go out for/want to go out for. Not just something you think you ‘should’ have because everyone else has it. Depending on which network we’re aiming for, I suggest more neutral styles and try to stay away from very tight patterns (so it doesn’t distort on camera). So, it’s probably best to keep that florescent neon lime green pin strip top in the closet this time around. I suggest trying on the clothes with the proper under garments a few days before the session this way you can see how everything fits. I will be shooting waist up so just wear a neutral/darker pair of jeans or pants. Something you can comfortably move around in. But you want specifics on what to bring.. (my perfectionist self likes the way you think) here is a guideline:
A variety of colours and tones (not just black, ladies). Items like tank tops, halter tops, shirts with different neck lines (crew, v-neck, scoop etc), blouses, light sweaters/jackets/cardigans/blazers
This is a big one — PROPER BRAS! Just like when you book something, you should go to your fitting with a variety of bras along with the ability to make it strapless. Nude is ideal but bring different colours depending on the tops you bring. Something with no patterns/lace/rhinestones on the bra — no one needs to see those rhinestones through your top, keep that for your significant other. While they might not be pretty and fun, bras are an investment so keep the receipt and expense it!
I recommend trying your clothes days leading up to the shoot with the different bras. This way you can see if the shirt is too see through and how everything fits
Jewelry! Earrings, necklaces, rings etc.
Nails — be sure your nail polish is fresh and doesn’t have chips
Shirts in a variety of colours and tones. Bring a selection of tops in different necklines, items like: T-shirts, henley shirts, polo tops, crew neck, dress shirts, light sweaters/jackets/blazers
If you are shaving in between looks be sure to let me know so we can schedule time accordingly
Any jewelry you feel adds to your brand. Be it rings, earings, necklaces/chains etc
Clothing Don’ts for Headshots
Be sure your clothes are clean and not stained (unless that’s the look your going for)
Writing/Logos — small logo’s can be removed but the goal of headshots are your eyes and not reading what’s on your shirt! Unless, once again, it’s a branding choice (ie super hero shirts, ironic tops for comedy purposes etc)
Workout shirts that have large reflective logos or marks — you’ll be under lights so.. surprise, it will reflect
Shirts that are see through
Super bulky sweaters/shirts to ‘hid your size’. Trust me, I love my super oversized shirts but we want to be sure we’re capturing who is going to be walking into the room and not hiding anything. Be proud of who you are.. you’re unique and you also have NO IDEA what the casting director is looking for. I do have the ability to pin things so if you’re in love with a colour shirt bring it and we’ll see what we can do
Transitional glasses. I shoot with a mix of natural and studio light, so your glasses will darken (it’s their job). I highly recommend that you invest in a second pair of non-transitional glasses because if you’re hit/brand have glasses, you’ll need them for auditions and set. Or ideally, glasses with the lens popped out!
How should I plan for my shoot?
First, with a positive attitude! Yes, nerves will always be there but you're taking a step in your career, we do this because we love it so.. ENJOY IT!
Talk to your agent! You’re apart of a team so we want to make sure we focus on the types of roles your agent is pitching you for.
No agent yet? No problem. What are the roles that you feel you are best suited for? ‘Ummm.. hello I’m an actor I can do everything’… yes, I totally get that. But take a peek at the Vancouver film market. What’s filming here? Based on your look and style of acting what are the shows you are best suited for? Or in your acting classes, what are some of the character types that just flow from you easily? You can always book in a consultation with me if you want to discuss your brand and we can target a specific plan for your headshot shoot!
How many looks should I do?
Well…4 of course! ;) But in all seriousness, how many looks do you think you need for your headshot portfolio? When Casting Directors look at your page to see your vibe will there be enough on there so they can get a feel of the roles you can be cast in? Many casting directors in the city cast a variety of projects (from Hallmark to CW to Features). Meaning, you want to have a variety of looks so when that role does come up, your headshot pops in their head.
Do I need a makeup artist?
Using a professional makeup artist is not a requirement for my shoots but can be added to any of the Full Packages for an additional fee. All the artists I work with are wonderful and open to discuss whatever you need for your headshot looks. This way it never feels like they are just doing whatever they want to your face. But they are also not mind readers — SPEAK UP — this is your shoot and your calling card in the industry so we want to be sure you’re makeup/hair is a representation of how you’d walk into the audition room! The artists I work with stay for the shoot so you will always look your best making adjustments as we shoot.
Can I bring my own makeup artist?
Sure! You are more than welcome to! But since I haven’t vetted them I kindly ask that you come ready to shoot with makeup/hair done. Then your artist can stay and do touchups and changes for different looks.
What is a slate shot?
Essentially a slate shot is you ‘introducing’ yourself to a casting director. They are to be added to your Actors Access/Breakdown Services account. Have fun with these slate shots! It’s a chance for casting to get to know you a bit!
I don’t want a slate shot.
Not a problem, it just gives us more time to shoot, but the prices stay the same so I’ll leave the ball in your court!
Can I bring people to my shoot to calm the nerves?
If you truly need that extra bit of support then, of course. I know headshot photoshoots can be intimidating. But, I do ask that your friend not interfere with the shooting process (telling you how to pose, having full out conversations with you while we shoot etc). You could also book your sessions back to back and make it a full day of fun!
I ask Parents, or anyone with a minor, to stay for the whole shoot. At the same time, please don’t interfere or critique during the shoot. Trust me, they are doing great.
I’m ready to book my headshots… how do I do this?
Email is the best way to get in touch with me and schedule a shoot! Info@AshleyRossStudios.com. Or simply click the 'Book me in Now' button!