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Thread: Headshot Requirements

  1. HarmisonPaul Guest

    Headshot Requirements

    What are the requirements for the final print for headshots. I heard you have to have white borders and the actors name at the bottom. Is this true? What else? How big do the whote borders need to be? Does any other information need to go on the picture? Are there any resources I can look at to find all the details?
    Thanks for the help.

  2. OK.... well.... I would have to say that this question is going to get as many opinions as there are members.....

    In general you want to keep certain things in mind....

    - The headshot should fit in a standard envelope or folder. This means 8.5x11 or smaller. Given the 8X10 standard of photoprints, the logic is to use that size.
    - Typically, talent includes a headshot with each submission. This can be printed on the back of the shot and/or stapled to the photo. If the latter is the case, be sure to allow for a staple in terms of a border. Some people prefer this, but it is not critical.
    - Do make certain the name is clear. In short, do place a border or banner under the photo for adding the appropriate text. Make certain the name is easy to read. Have the font set so that the name goes edge to edge but doe not overpower the shot. ie. If the name is Jane Doe (which is short) don't make it 100 points to fit across but do make it big to see easily.
    - Make the shot show the talent's personality. If they are serious, then shoot them that way. If they are commedians... adjust.

    Personally, I present the vast majority of headshots in B&W. I don't border all the way around, but rather, only on the bottom where the name will appear. I deliver the headshot, with the border at 8x10 from 75% of the shots. I rarely run prints (beyond a few shots) for the talent. I provide them the shot in TIFF format so that they can print the shots at a local printer. This allows them to print large quantities on glossy paper with or without the resume on the back. It's much cheaper.
    Luis V.
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  3. anthonylarry Guest

    Re: Headshot Requirements

    Get a professional headshot.
    You'd be surprised how many people send Polaroids, Xeroxes, or other photos in place of a professional headshot. Don't; they go directly into the trash. If an actor doesn't have the commitment to get a headshot done professionally, how can we expect him or her to act professionally on the set?
    Make sure your headshot reflects your spirit.
    If you're nerdy, don't send a sexy headshot; embrace your best qualities. Casting directors look through thousands of headshots, and the first hurdle is the "look test." If the actor doesn't have the right feel, they may not bother to look at your resume. But if your headshot misrepresents what you can play, you will most probably end up wasting everyone's time.
    Respond only to appropriate listings
    If the ad says "mature," and you look 16, or "Latino," and you are Asian, it is best not to waste the postage. Better to focus on those roles that are best for you than to cast a ridiculously wide net.
    Send your headshot in an easy to open envelop
    Nothing is worse than trying to tear open 500 glued shut headshot envelopes. The best approach is this: Buy clasp envelops and clasp them. If you are worried about the contents falling out, or Peeping-Tom postal officials, use a small piece of tape over the seal.
    Write a note
    You'd be surprised how much difference a note makes. It is your chance to get a few additional seconds of the casting director's time, and to make your case for why he or she should call you in. (Remember, you aren't asking for the part here, but only for an audition.)
    Explain why you should get an audition
    If there is a compelling reason why you should get an audition, make it. Is this a Shakespeare play? Well, then, talk about the past verse shows you've performed in. Have you seen this company's work? Talk about that.
    Staple everything to the back of your headshot
    Imagine how messy some casting directors desks can get. Now imagine your lovely letter (or resume) - which got your past the first round of eliminations - hopelessly lost from its owner. This may mean that both will get thrown out. So staple everything to together (to the back, please - keep that photo clear of debris). And by the way, paper clips are the weak cousins of the mighty staple.
    Make your resume meaty
    After you pass the "look test," the next stop is an analysis of your resume (laser printed and stapled to the back of your headshot, of course). Remember that most casting directors will only have a few seconds to determine whether or not to read this page, so the first thing that will turn them off is a short experience list. As a rule of thumb, try to get 15 productions listed. (Of course, this is a major Catch 22 - but there's no way around it. A future Tips list will describe how to get all those juicy roles.)
    Include an email address
    Email is an easy way to contact actors, schedule an audition, and deliver sides. If you're worried about privacy, create a hotmail account specifically for the purpose.
    Write your name on the front of your headshot
    Simple and important, but often overlooked.


  4. LuisV had a good point but I'm not sure if he made it clear.
    If you're going to need a 4x6, 5x7, or 8x10 or whatever size print, when you're taking the photo DON'T FILL THE FRAME!!!
    Leave room on top and bottom for crop, very important!

    Some agencies have requirements.
    - photo size (some agencies say any images larger than xxx will be disqualified)
    - photo style (no body below shoulders, some don't mind, some say no editing allowed)
    + more than I can't think of right now. make sure your client knows the rules first.
    If they're just going to submit to a bunch of different places make sure you take a bunch of different style photos so your client will have anything/everything they will need.

    Are comp cards an option, or just strictly head shot photo?
    Last edited by Adaptive; 06-07-2008 at 10:52 PM.
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