Why your pretty headshot isn’t working

· How to get a headshot that works ·

How to Get a Headshot that Gets You MORE momentum, more auditions, and could even land you an Agent! The Successful Actor Photo Series Blog/Vlog. By Angie Papanikolas, Actress, Writer and Headshot Photographer

If you have forked over the money to get a new headshot with the purpose of any of the following: advancing your acting career, finally getting that agent, and/or in hopes of generating tons of new auditions on actors access or LA casting…and then nada! Cheer up. You are in the right place.

So let’s go back to the story. So you shoot these new headshots, and after your shoot, you are all excited about the results! You think the pics are going to be amazing! Finally, this could be just what you need to get you that dream agent, or more auditions…..drum roll….after the shoot……KAPLUNK! BIG KAPLUNK!!! There is barely any new momentum than what you had with your shots before. Zelch change. How odd. And now, let’s add another element into this case. Let’s say the photos are gorgeous. (Not bad- not so-so, even Gorgeous!)

Wait, What?! WHY??!!!!! Why didn’t something new happen?! Why aren’t they generating auditions or helping to get an agent when you submit? Why isn’t your pretty headshot working?! Ugh! Well….let’s first focus on the things you can control. Because truth is in this industry, there are a lot of things we can’t control. No, we can’t control what we really look like or control if we actually BOOK a role, but we CAN CONTROL how we go about our work. WE CAN CONTROL choosing to work on our craft and do the work! And we CAN control how we go about our headshot session. Repeat after me. Take control of the things you can control and let the rest go! This is important and you and I both know it!

Ok, so back to the headshot session that you can control. READ ON FOR THE NEW HEADSHOT PREP GAME PLAN:STEP 1- YOUR LOOKS & MARKETING PLAN

Take the time to really figure out what sort of vibe you will shoot, and what sort of roles you should try to target. I love an approach that talks about using your dream roles to help you decide on looks. I have an IG live video about it, and it’s partly how I approach client’s branding (More on this in future blogs. Also check out my instagram IG series where I talk a lot about this! @headshotsbyangelstudio or on @girlrambo. It’s called TIPS for GREAT HEADSHOTS)




Take the time to really be in YOUR shoes and bring your true self to YOUR PHOTOS. You do this often when you act. You bring yourself to the roles you play and connect to them. (If you are way different than the role, you don’t of course, but you know what I mean here. Hope you get what I am saying). You bring characteristics of yourself to roles you play, so why not bring yourself to your photos, too?!


I believe a lot of people don’t do this or even thinks about this whole headshot approach plan. Or no one really talks about a process to do this. So I’m going to. You can control how you go about your headshot session and you can control your prep work for your photo shoot, just like you can control doing the work to connect to a role in scene work. So, here again in detail: are two main aspects to great prep work you need to do, for strategic, great Actor headshots and photoshoots.

“Photo Shoot Prep- 2 Aspects to Focus on”

Aspect 1) The looks to shoot that will best market you. 

How I like to approach this? I recommend asking yourself (and your agent) about the roles you could play, and also the roles you WANT to play! Go for your dream roles in look and vibe. That’s how I approach choosing looks. I ask, “what roles do you want to play?” And then find looks for those that you could book, and shoot those. You can even base it off shows, moves and characters you would totally play well! Then add your own vibe and even wardrobe you would wear to it. Make it “inspired by,” and then make it your own!


Aspect 2) Bringing your unique vibe! Bringing yourself to the camera.

This is huge for getting a great shot!!!!! It’s very good to take time before you shoot, and before you even choose the looks you will shoot (that I just talked about above in aspect 1,) to get in tune with YOU! The REAL YOU! Soak into who God made you. See below for tips to do this with all the questions below.

Get in tuned with these things: Personality, vibe, soul, core, characteristics, even the way you talk. Really try to get a feel for yourself. Then at the shoot, bring the amazing qualities about you to the camera, by just being you. Even just tapping into this subconsciously and consciously will really help you “feel yourself” during your shoot and make you feel confident about you and who you are, and what you are doing. Because you have a ton to offer to these roles you will play. You are made by God and amazing. 


So now….before you shoot and before you think about what sort of roles you want to play, or before you do aspect 1 and narrow down your looks. Take some time to ask yourself these 5 questions.


1) Describe your personality?

2) How would your family describe you?

2b) How would your friends describe you?

3) What are some unique, cool, interesting giftings you have been blessed with?

4) What are some quirky things about you?

5) What does your laugh sound like? (Your fun side) We can’t just shoot drama, although I always seem to try to.

6) Now just think about it all and get in tune with you 


Ok, so now, let’s try this whole photo shoot thing again, but with a different and strategic plan! A plan to really market yourself and get some very authentic vibes of YOU! Forget about pretty. Most of us photographers shoot pretty. Meaning, we will get you flattering and striking shots. That is just going to happen. But what you need is the real, diggity, dawg YOU. We need real. Raw. YOU! The good, bad and ugly too. But of course, for your main shot, show more of your good side. Show yourself in a good light, even in a more friendly light (not Ugly haha). Unless of course, all you really do is the bad guy. But even the bad guy can be good. Think about that.


Now going back to the word, pretty. Pretty is well…don’t judge me when I say this, but pretty is pretty much the normal in LA and also in headshot land. And a lot of casting directors see a lot of pretty shots. Everyone is pretty. Shots are shot to “capture pretty.” Even if you don’t think so, you are pretty or handsome. But what everyone is not, well what we all are not– is YOU!


Challenging all actors: I challenge you to really dig in to find some very unique attributes about yourselves in your inner core. Pray about it. Ask God who you are. Get in tuned with the real you. Don’t hide behind the acting. After you dig into these things and really think about them, at your shoot, feel free to let it all go. You can do some acting at the shoot too, with putting yourself in a role, in the dream look/dream role you are shooting. Ask yourself, what am I going to bring to this role, how am I GOING TO DO IT that’s uniquely me? But also, I encourage you to also shoot some shots just as you– being your amazing self. See what happens and what sort of great shots you get by doing a combination of this. Let’s get some expressions and vibes that are uniquely YOU.

It is my hope that this will really help you to let it flow at your shoot, to have fun, and to be you and get some raw captures of YOU. Try it. Message me, dm me, tag me or leave a comment below! I’d love to hear how your shots turn out. Or if you would like to shoot with me, reach out. I’d love to help capture you.

Follow me on instagram @headshotsbyangelstudio for my video series about how to get a great actor headshot. My personal instagram is @girlrambo


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Strategic Headshot Services In Los Angeles

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