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What are You Bringing to the Session?

Yes, I am talking about wardrobe, but I am also talking about energy and mood. I might even be hinting at character. Obviously, bringing your “best” self and a good, relaxed (and creative) attitude helps the session, but I am also nudging you about how to prepare, mentally, for your headshot session, as you’re (most likely) going to be presenting a few different moods/looks/character ideas when we are working together. Yes, I want to capture you, but I imagine you have more than a few sides. You have dimension. You probably have range. Let’s capture your full potential. 

Taking time to think about what to wear, how you want to be cast, what roles interest you, and how you want people to feel when they see your image(s) is highly encouraged. Please read on for ideas and inspirations, and once you book with me, feel free to call so we can discuss – I want you to feel completely comfortable and confident about this process.

What Package are you Purchasing?

For most actors, I recommend my Starter or Standard package. If you are in the PNW and just getting started (often called an actor “in development”), you will probably want a Commercial Headshot (bright colors, smiling), a Theatrical/Dramatic Headshot (more serious, often darker tones), and one more look – Possibly a Character look (advertising one specific character type). These three looks can be achieved in my Starter Package, and if you also want a 3/4 shot (knees up) or a full-body shot, that is absolutely fine – Just make sure you styled appropriately.

If you want to broaden your portfolio and market yourself with a few more looks and characterizations, then my Standard Package is the way to go: 4-6 Looks with 6 Retouched Finals Delivered*.

*I do not deliver any proofs. All delivered images must go through my retouching process. If you order a bundle of extra images, I am happy to discuss discounts.

Do you align with any Archetypes?

According to Carl Jung, there are 12 Archetypes that are associated with the human psyche. The word Archetype means Original Pattern in ancient Greek, and many writers and storytellers use Archetypes as foundations for fictional  characters in literature and screenwriting. Learning about Archetypes might inspire some ideas as you begin to plan for your next headshot session here or elsewhere. To learn more about the subject, check out this article. If you feel yourself connecting with an Archetype or two, let that inspire some of your character and styling choices.

RULER
CREATOR/ARTIST
SAGE
INNOCENT
EXPLORER
REBEL

HERO
WIZARD/WITCH
JESTER
EVERYMAN/EVERYPERSON
LOVER
CAREGIVER

What are common Marketing Types?

In the PNW region (well, in Seattle anyhow) many talent agents will tell their actors little more than, “I need a smiling shot and a theatrical shot.” However, I have spoken to a few reps lately who are starting to get a bit more specific with their talent, and are now mentioning character or marketing types.

In larger entertainment markets, like Hollywood, presenting character types is much more common, as there are so many more actors and specificity really helps.

Below, I am going to offer some type ideas that you can consider as you are planning what to wear, how to style your hair for each look, whether getting “into character” for certain looks might help (or at least be fun), and more.

Age: Youth and Tweens

I suggest keeping thing pretty simple here. Get some fun, bright colors (not too pastel or pale shades), and some darker jewel tones. Find wardrobe options (tops) that flatter your skin and bring out your eyes (Of course, this note applies to all ages). 2-3 looks (The Starter) is perfect for actors in this age group.

Watch Disney shows, and commercials with youth/tweens to get some ideas about wardrobe. If your kiddo is quirky and wears glasses, lean into that idea (suspenders are fun, too). Is your kiddo hip and “urban/city” or more relaxed and “rural?” Think about how fabrics (denim, leather, flannel) tell different stories, and try to align your choices with your kid’s personality and vibe. Have fun with this part of the process, and make sure you are selecting clothes that look great, fit properly, and create confidence when worn by the actor.

Age 16-23

Kid Next Door Types
Disney Kid
Jock
Gamer
Surfer
Lovable Loser
Romantic Lead
Sidekick/Best Friend
Fitness/Athletic
Country/Rural
Edgy Types
Villain/Bad
Troubled Teen
Emo
Bully
Cool, Hip Kid (City Kid)
Hero/Lead/Antihero
Street
Young Professional Types
Student
College
Geeky/Tech
Assistant
Office
Helpful Employee
Creative Professional
Blue Collar
White Collar

Mid 20s-Mid 30s

Next Door Types
Jock
Hipster/Artistic
Gamer
Surfer
Lovable Loser
Romantic Lead
Sidekick/Best Friend
Fitness/Athletic
Outdoorsy/Flannel
Western
High Fashion
Edgy Types
Villain/Bad
Street/Underworld
Victim
Military
Hero/Lead/Antihero
Urban, Cool, Hip
Biker Gang
Professional Types
Grad Student
Secretary
Office Worker
Creative Pro
Artist/Bohemian
Geeky/Tech
Lawyer
FBI/CIA
Doctor
Journalist
Nurse
Detective
Helpful Employee
Waitress

30s-40s

Next Door Types
Nosey Neighbor
Hipster/Artistic
Fashionista
Lovable Loser
Romantic Lead
Sidekick/Best Friend
Fitness/Athletic
Outdoorsy/Flannel
Western
Farmer
Edgy Types
Villain/Bad
Street/Underworld
Victim
Military
Hero/Lead/Antihero
Urban, Cool, Hip
Biker Gang
Professional Types
Secretary
Office Worker
Upscale Business
Creative Pro
Artist/Bohemian
Geeky/Tech
Lawyer
FBI/CIA
Doctor
Journalist
Nurse
Detective
Therapist
News Anchor
Helpful Employee
Waitress
Parental Types
Blue Collar
Country Club
Suburban
BBQ

50+

The Grandparents Type
Blue Collar
Country Club
Suburban
BBQ
Bohemian/Artsy
Outdoorsy & Fit
Western
Farmer
Other Types
Mafia Boss
Underworld Leader
Hero/Antihero
Villain
Judge
CEO
FBI/CIA Director
Politician
Upscale Business

Makeup, Accessories, Etc.

Chapstick and lip balm is always recommended. Lip gloss can sometimes look nice, but don’t overdo it. If you tend to get oily skin, you should probably bring some translucent powder or use oil blotting paper. Make sure you are hydrating and resting up a week before your appointment, and, yes, blemishes are always edited out of your final images.

If you wear makeup regularly, you should definitely wear makeup in your headshots. Just like when you put together a self-tape or go in for an in-person audition, and when you are hired and put on-camera, you will be wearing makeup – this includes all adults and older teens. Youth and tweens are usually fine without makeup.

Some of my female identifying clients will hire a professional makeup artist, and makeup application happens in my studio, about an hour before we begin the photoshoot. If you need a referral, check the FAQ page here on this website. If you are comfortable applying your own makeup, that is absolutely fine, and makeup on male identifying adults looks great, too. It’s not as standard as it is in LA, but adding makeup to your face is not a bad idea, especially if you have problem skin. Sometimes makeup changes can really modify or accent a look, and even a lipstick color change can say a lot to make your types even more distinct from each other.

Accessories like earrings, dermal implants, nose rings, and necklaces will be seen if worn. Whether you should wear them is another story. If you are represented, be sure to talk about accessories with your agent, and my general thought is that commercial and casual looks/types should present with little to no accessories. For other types, accessories can tell a great story.

Final Thoughts

If you are represented by a talent agent or a manager, please talk to them and get their input before our shoot. Your reps are a crucial part of your team, and it helps when you are all on the same page. If you have any questions, or want to have a chat, please reach out. I am almost always available for a phone consultation with 24 hours notice.

Oh, and if you have tattoos, you might want to show them. I have one headshot look that shows my ink, especially since I tend to present a little “put together,” and a lot of people seem surprised when I show them off in a tank top.

This post was inspired by Vanie Poyey Photography. If you are ever in LA and need new headshots, you should look her up.

Thinking about a new headshot or potrait?