I spent most of my life referring to two kinds of headshots: a commercial and a theatrical shot.
In the commercial, there is a great smile. Actors wear a bright colored shirt. It is happy.
The theatrical is serious, sometimes grave, and usually a dark or black shirt is worn.
After years of looking at headshots, I have come to the conclusion that we are not serving ourselves well by setting up such simple parameters under which we take headshots.
We need to view our headshots as an opportunity to use our acting chops.
Acting is playing the role of a truthful and honest character in an imaginary set of circumstances. If I watched you act in a scene, and all I saw was an actor acting “sad.” I would ask: why are you presupposing an emotion? What are you doing to the other character? What is your objective or action? I would criticize you if I did not believe what I was seeing.
We should be asking you to act through your headshots. Create characters in your imagination and bring that energy to the headshot. It may well be a character that you have played or auditioned for in the past. Bring that energy to the lens.
Just as the acting of the past century has focused squarely on actions/intentions/objectives, so should our approach to the headshot. In the proverbial The Walking Dead shot, a shot that should be edgy and show the audience that you are not afraid to take someone out. Create a scenario, the lens becomes the usurper, the robber, the hijacker or zombie, and you are defending your family. That is the shot I want to see.
To be continued…
And, what I say today, may not be true tomorrow.