Headshots For Kids

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I have done a few posts on headshots, but they have been primarily for adults. Several parents have requested some guidance on shots for kids as well. So here it goes. Many of the points for the adults remain true for kids .

If you do NOT have an agent yet, I recommend either waiting until you have an agent to get new headshots done or having a single one look session where you get a dramatic and a commercial shot only.

Your first audition is your headshot. You want to get casting’s attention with your headshots.

For kids, it is even more important to take new headshots about once a year. The face and bone structure change dramatically. Kids move out of the rounder baby faces and begin to develop a more mature look. The headshot needs to reflect who they are right now.

  • The magic number is between 4 to 5 different headshot looks.
  • Shots should be mostly straight on. Craned necks and backwards shots are often awkward and not flattering.
  • No hands. PLEASE!
  • Keep clothing very simple.  A headshot session is not the place to show off your favorite clothes. Please avoid plaid shirts for boys. The pattern is distracting.
  • No bulky sweaters or heavy scarves. It is best for clothing to not denote a particular season.
  • Avoid jewelry: no earrings.
  • Hair and any make-up should look natural. If my attention is called to the make-up, then there is likely too much of it.

LOOK 1 — A+ Student/Commercial Look

A bright colored t-shirt or plain collared shirt that compliments your coloring.

SHOT a) A joyful, smiling shot.

SHOT b) An emotionally open and available shot. You are kind and will assist old ladies across the street. This should not be a big smiling shot.

LOOK 2 — Edgy/Dramatic Look

A darker t-shirt or collared shirt. It can still be a color, but it should not be a bright, primary color. You can pair it with a jacket—jean, leather, etc.

SHOT a) A trouble-maker shot. This is the kid who is not making good grades and may have even landed in detention. Be careful not to make this shot over-the-top. It needs to be a believable character.

SHOT b) Repeat of LOOK 1.b).

LOOK 3 — Alternative

There are a few different ways you can go with this shot. You can change your shirt again or add a sweater to LOOK 1. The big change here is a switch in your outward appearance. If you wear glasses, then get some shots with the glasses. DO NOT get a character pair of odd or ill-fitting classes to use for “comedy.” This generally backfires.

Another outer change is to shift your hair. For girls, do a pair of braids or pony tails. For boys, add some gel to change the style of your hair.

SHOT: Repeat LOOK 1 a) and b).

  • The looks and shots listed above will give you a range of different shots to upload onto casting sites.
  • These are merely suggestions of what you can do for headshots. I encourage you to now extrapolate and adjust these thoughts based on what your agent or your kiddo brings to the session.

At the end of the day, we want to showcase two things in your headshots: the range of characters that you can play and the best, natural and authentic you.

And, what I say today, may not be true tomorrow.

IMAGE CREDIT: Asil Ansari/Unsplash

At Last, Headshot Looks

Here is the final installment on headshots, at least for now. This post is long because there is a lot to say. It is so very important to set yourself up for success with your first audition—your headshot.  Even if you are a known actor in our region, you still need to keep up with current trends and be sure that your shots really reflect who you are today.

The magic number is between 5 and 6 different headshot looks.

Shots should be mostly straight on. Craned necks and backwards shots are often awkward and not flattering.

No hands PLEASE!

Keep clothing very simple.  A headshot session is not the place to show off your favorite shirt.

No bulky sweaters or heavy scarves.

Avoid jewelry: even a pair of pearls makes a business look more like a mother-of-the-bride.

Tank tops only work for a sexy shot, so they are not very useful. I realize that they make you feel sexier, but use your acting to get there.

For both men and women, I strongly recommend hiring a hair and make-up artist.  So often, talent are convinced that they could do better themselves. There are cases where this may be true, but if you seek out someone you trust, the right make-up and hair can make all the difference in your shots.

If you do choose to do your own hair and make-up, here are a few thoughts:

Keep make-up natural.  Lip color should not be too glossy or bright. Be sure to set aside time for a shot where you add make-up for a slightly more glamorous look.  This look will be your sexy shot. No need to take a shot with no make-up.  You can get a simple look for the rough looking characters that is more effective using some other options noted below. Be sure foundation is evenly spread down the neck and blends well. No orange faces and pale necks please!

For hair, it needs to look done, but not overly styled. If hair is straight, be sure there is volume.  If hair is curly, we do not need BIG pageant hair. Always shoot for your best self. If you are unsure about what that means, then please pay to have someone provide this service.

For men, facial hair is very popular right now.  A good stubble shot or nicely trimmed beard is a good idea. If you choose to have hair longer, then realize that this will pigeon hole you for very particular roles. We want to get you as many auditions as possible.  If you make your general look this specific, you will only be limiting yourself.

Keeping finances in mind, here are some suggestions for clothing choices for a shoot with 2 to 3 looks. If money is not an issue, then you can do as many looks as you like.

LOOK 1 — Business Shot

For LOOK 1, you will get 2 usable and specific shots if you create 2 characters. 1) bad attorney who will do anything to win. 2) trust worthy principal who you trust to pick up your kid from the bus stop.

  • MEN – jacket, tie and collared shirt

You can survive with just a nice collared shirt, but the jacket and tie really complete the look.  Loosen the tie and unbutton your top button. Be sure to go with conservative colors.  Blues, grays, no loud stripes or dots on the tie. It should look classy and simple. Avoid black jackets and white shirts as they look like a waiter/waitress.

  • WOMEN – collared shirt and jacket

Shirts should be a solid color. Jackets need to be solid or very simple, a small pinstripe is ok. Casual jackets, like jean or canvas do not match with the business look.

LOOK 2 — Commercial and Teacher/Mom/Dad

For LOOK 2, you will get 2 usable and specific shots if you create 2 characters. 1) open/available, trust you with my kids 2) joyful, smiling shot, you just won the lottery/landed a series regular role.

  • MEN & WOMEN

Solid color t-shirt or collared shirt, no prints or plaids. Choose a color that compliments your coloring, maybe it brings out the color in your eyes, so they pop.

If you plan to keep your session to 2 looks, then remove the jacket from the business look and use the collared shirt.

LOOK 3 — Edgy

For LOOK 3, you will get 2-3 usable and specific shots if you create these characters: 1) dark and seedy; I do not want to meet you alone on a dark street. 2) Open/available, your best day and best self; you are very approachable. 3) Sexy shot. Bump up make-up here.

  • MEN & WOMEN

Dark t-shirt.  Grey, brown, possibly black. Round neckline is best, no need for a plunging V-neck or scoop here. Pair it with a casual jacket: leather, jean or canvas.  Keep colors to brown, greys, black, army green.

Wow, so that was a lot of information.  Hopefully, this outline will give you some specific approaches to take with your headshots. At the end of the day, we want to showcase two things in your headshots: the range of characters that you can play and the best, natural and authentic you.

And, what I say today, may not be true tomorrow.

Headshots I

Headshots are your first audition.  Just like everything else, the trends for headshots change on a regular basis. Currently in our market, you need a range of shots to give you as many opportunities as possible.  If casting receives an average of 500 or more submissions for every role that they release, there is precious little time for them to see a headshot and take the time to discern whether the actor is really right for the role based purely on that picture. It is our job as an agent to provide the best of your shots for that role, and one that is in line with the character description. In fact, choosing the right headshot to submit for a role is one of my favorite aspects of the submission process. We spend a lot of time spinning our wheels over what we do not have control over, but you have control over the shots put up on the casting sites. Your agent has control over which one to choose when they submit you.

Five to six shots is the magic number. We are aiming to get as many audition appointments for you as possible. It is great to know your brand, but our market demands that we have a varied range of shots, so we can procure that audition.  Ultimately, casting may decide that you are not right for a role, but we want you to have a chance to prove that through your audition.

If your shots are more than two years old, then you should be thinking about doing new shots. It does not matter that your look has not changed. I realize that new pictures are expensive, but there is a cost of doing business to be considered, and that is one of them. Just like a photographer has to pay for the camera they use to shoot, there are expenses that you will incur to be an actor.

New headshots grab our attention. Our market is attracting more and more new faces. As actors move here from the L.A. market and other locations, there will be even greater numbers catching the attention of the casting directors, so keep things fresh and current with your shots.

More to come…