Seven of the best actor headshot tips to be aware of and think over to help you get the best looking results.
Plus three important bonus tips: situations to avoid.

1. Get your hair done the way you like it beforehand–not afterwards. Allow a few days between a hair change and the headshot. Hair takes time to settle into its new thing. Another option: have your hair (and makeup) person come to the studio to do their work.

Jar of makeup brushes & tools

2. Start with moderate makeup and combine with appropriate and minimal Photoshopping. Going too heavy with Photoshop runs the risk of misrepresenting your true appearance. Excessively whitened eyes and teeth are the most obvious examples. Moderate touchup to the final selected shot is best.

Thoughtful Man thinking his thoughts

3. Select a photographer with proven lighting expertise and undeniably good people skills–scrutinize their work online. Headshots examples are both visually revealing and tangible expressions of a photographer’s ability to capture the essence of his or her subject.

Look of surprise photo

4. Strive for a variety of expressions as you shoot, then ruthlessly select only the best one or several from the proofs. Never mind second best shots from the session. Only show people your best. Runner-up images only serve to detract from your impression.

Proof sheet of handsome man

5. Style–mood–setting: they all matter and there’s so much from which to choose. Some styles are less or more appropriate to your intended purpose, some depend on your personal preference, and some end up as accidental gems. Think it over and especially talk to your photographer ahead of time.

Son and father double portrait in studio

6. If you have a favorite outfit you think you look really sharp in, wear that, because you will look good. But bring extra tops or shirts as well. We can sort it out as we shoot to see what looks best on you. Then make tweaks and changes.

Face on finger hole on glove

7. Having a good looking headshot is neither vanity nor pretension–it’s plain smart sense for your professional career. Be honest, realistic, and modest, but also a determined and strong advocate for yourself.


1. When the photographer picks which shots you can have–that’s plain bass-ackwards. It’s your headshot and you should choose the one you get.

2. A photographer inept, clumsy, or uncomfortable photographing people–it shows in the results: awkward and unauthentic looking headshots.

3. Being told to hold a stiff position and awkward poses during the shooting session. Instead, move around, be animated, get expressive, loosen up, work it, unwind, let it all hang out: relax and enjoy it while it’s happening.


Have you had poor or unfavorable portrait experiences before? It’s rarely your own fault. More likely you had a poor practitioner. Tell me beforehand if you have particular likes or dislikes from previous photos of yourself, they absolutely will help steer us in the right direction. I’m your advocate: it’s my goal to make you look good.


I’m not the only source––look through these actor and model headshot tips and see which ones make sense to you.