How Modeling Headshots are different from Acting Headshots in Los Angeles

April 27, 2022

Professional models in the Los Angeles area have incredible skills that they need to show through their photography headshots. They can make nearly anything they do look good! When you’ve been blessed with good looks, it can easily give you the confidence you need to perform well in front of a camera. But the one thing that I have learned as a Los Angeles headshot photographer is that modeling headshots are most definitely NOT acting headshots. And the task that is usually simple for professional models, can actually become a very challenging journey for most when it comes to acting headshots. So here is 3 quick tips for those pro models who aspire to be great actors and want to kill it at their next headshot session:

#1 It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint

The first thing you want to recognize is that acting headshots are slow and methodical. This can be very different from the fast-paced modeling environment – primarily if you’re used to working in e-commerce. You have to change into a million outfits exceptionally quickly, all while striking many different poses. Headshots are not like that, nor should they be treated as such. Acting headshots are about presenting a wide range of characters and emotional states with authenticity and precision. Even for the most skilled actors I work with, it may take them a few moments of shooting to really capture a shot or character that conveys exactly what we are aiming for in the headshot session. It is a process you cannot rush and can be very difficult for models to understand and achieve when taking acting headshots. Here, patience is a virtue for the success of your acting career.

#2 Physical Range Is Good, But Emotional Range Is Better.

During modeling photoshoots, a range of various physical poses is critical. The goal is to show as wide of a range of posing styles as not to produce a gallery of images that all look the same. With acting headshots, offering physical range is essential, but more importantly, you want to display an emotional range that gives you more options of headshots and characters you can play and demonstrate to casting directors. Not to mention, if your agent or manager looks through your headshots and sees a wide array of emotional characters and looks accurately portrayed, as opposed to only one or two mean or sad faces from you with no depth or range, then you are providing another layer of confidence for them to see in you. This will reinforce the idea that you are a talented actor worthy of their time, energy, and representation.

#3 Drop Your Walls. We Want To See You!

I’ve noticed the top actors in today’s acting world have the characters they play on the screen have a little bit of themselves included. It’s very difficult to produce an authentic performance without incorporating a bit of yourself, your experiences, and your emotions into the character. This is one of the main reasons why I love the Stanford Meisner technique so much. It utilizes the imaginary circumstances of the script with aspects of your life and reality and helps actors to produce authentic performances. This mindset can also be translated to headshot photography sessions with great success. During the session, I typically tell actors to drop their guard and just show themselves – to just be present. This allows me to capture a few frames of the “true” them. This brings authenticity to their headshots and allows them to feel comfortable in themselves. So drop those walls during your headshot sessions, and let the inner you shine through!


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